Sara Ivanhoe - yoganation - color outside the lines

5 Tips for Moving Toward Stillness

The following excerpts from a recent interview with Levitating Monkey demonstrate how yoga and yoga principles can lead one to more stillness, peace, self-acceptance and love.

1. Even if you can't fix life's challenges, you can fix your relationship to them

LM: What is the greatest challenge you have overcome because of yoga?

SI: I can’t say “over-come” because it is an evolving process. But I began meditation practices due to early onset insomnia which is pretty rare to have as a child. (Mine started in infancy.) Yoga has not “cured” my insomnia, but it has helped me navigate the ups and downs with greater ease. From what I can see, challenges are often not completely overcome. We would like them to be, but often they sustain and we can’t “fix” them. I think it is important to know that. What we can fix, is our relationship to them.


2. Focus on the flow of breath and use the asana practice to move toward meditation

LM: For those who are not familiar with your style of yoga teaching, in what ways is it different than other types of practice?

SI: I believe everyone’s style of yoga is unique, as is every practitioner doing each style. However, if I were to describe the practice I lead, I would say thatI focus more on the flow of the breath and using the asana practice as a tool to direct one towards meditation.Instead of working on more or better or different yoga postures, I like to use the postures to lead the students towards a more internal experience and ultimately towards stillness rather than more movement.

3. LOVE is a practice

LM: Can you talk to us about Bhakti and your contribution to the film “Women of Bhakti?”

SI: Bhakti is the practice of unconditional love. While Bhakti may take the form of mantra recitation, deity worship or ecstatic movement, it does not need to contain any of those things. It is simply LOVE- as a practice. The idea is that whatever we practice, that is what we are getting good at.If we practice criticizing ourselves, we will get good at that!The more we accept ourselves as we are in this moment, we spread the idea of self-acceptance to others. The more we accept ourselves as we are, the more we accept others as they are, it is the source of peace on the planet.

4. Don't take yourself too seriously

LM: What are some of the biggest challenges you notice with students new to yoga and how do you help them overcome these concerns?

SI: The biggest challenge for beginners and long-time students is the same. We take ourselves too seriously!Yoga is meant to remind us that we are “not our bodies”, that we have a body, we need to take care of the body, we can achieve liberation in this body- but that it does not define us, that we will drop it someday.Most of us that pick up the physical practice of yoga, work on perfecting the body, perfecting a pose. I believe this is headed in the wrong direction. It is important to practice and honor the body, but not to be attached to its ever-changing whims.

5. Practice accepting yourself as you are this moment

LM: What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

SI: The best advice that was ever given to me was from my friend Krishna Das, the famous Kirtan Wallah. I had been asking him for life advice, and to give me a practice. I wanted some mantra, some tapas I could work on to “be more spiritual.” He told me that the practice I really needed to be doing was the practice of accepting myself as I was in this moment.

That instead of working on how to “fix” myself, I should work on being ok with the imperfect self that existed now. It was such a mind- bender. I had thought I was supposed to be working on letting go of anger, forgiveness, detachment from material objects, or the more popular “manifest more material objects” that seems to be swimming around in “conscious” circles today. Instead, he showed me that if I could love the self that was angry, if I could be okay with the self that held a grudge- the unconditional love of that self, would be the magic that melted it all. I have not become good at this! But whenever I have a glimpse of it, I find that it puts the people around me at ease…

The full interview can be found at


3 comments (Add your own)

1. Kapil Gupta, MD wrote:
Hello, Sara:

Led to you writings by the wise hand of serendipity.

Perhaps the way toward stillness is destroying the person that we have created and recreate each day. The one called ME.

As Siddhartha Gautama once said, "Oh, lord of my own ego, you are pure illusion. The earth is my witness."

Truly enjoy your sensibilities, Sara.

May you continue to allow your masterpiece to surface, without interference from yourself.

Kapil Gupta, MD
For That One Rare Seeker . . .

Sat, February 21, 2015 @ 8:51 AM

2. Om Ashram wrote:
DR RASHPAL YOGI, yoga master at OM Ashram trains the students with personal attention. He covers all the theoretical aspects of yoga along with the practice. Personal attention given by the masters makes it a transformative experience for the student that remains throughout life

Sat, October 24, 2015 @ 2:37 AM

3. Om Ashram wrote:
This ashram was founded by DR. Rashpal ji and Rita Ji The vision for the ashram is to create a comfortable, nurturing sanctuary for spiritual seekers from around the world where they will have safe, clean food and water, and guidance for their yogic journey. The ashram also promotes,Reiki Healing and Kundalini yoga teachings of its founders, in which students are encouraged to practice all aspects of the diverse tradition of yoga: shatkarma, asana, pranayama, Vedic mantra, kiirtan, and meditation, as well as to contemplate various traditions in yoga philosophy: Vedanta, Tantra, Samkhya and Classical Yoga

Sat, October 24, 2015 @ 2:40 AM

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