Eddie Stern and Deepak Chopra unite for One World Yogis

If you can’t get to New York City — and we all can’t — there is a new way you can connect and take classes from Eddie Stern.

It’s called One World Yogis, which Eddie is involved in with Deepak Chopra. This is from a HuffPo piece about the endeavor:

Eddie also just launched a series of yoga sessions with Deepak Chopra titled ONE WORLD YOGIS with original music produced by his friend and well-known music producer MOBY. Recent advances in the field of neuroplasticity and epigenetics have revealed that the regular practice of yoga can literally change the structure of the brain to optimize physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. These ancient practices upgrade genes that involve self-regulation and healing, and have been shown to delay aging and inflammation. In ONE WORLD YOGIS Deepak and Eddie merge the wisdom of yoga with the findings of Western research to create a rich and subtle experience for the whole being.

Check around there and you can see how to sign up. There also is a whole One World YouTube channel with tons of short video interviews.

Posted by Steve

Eddie Stern on ‘one of the big shortcomings of our culture’

I can’t tell if this video is new or not, but it falls in the “new to me” category. So check out what Eddie Stern thinks is “one of the big shortcomings of our culture.”

http://vimeo.com/newswire/eddiestern

There’s plenty of hard honesty, too. It is, ultimately, a preview for a longer piece.

Posted by Steve

Deepak Chopra, Arianna Huffington lead meditation at Contemplative Sciences Center

This week, Deepak Chopra and Arianna Huffington headlined — if one can headline such a thing — a meditation at the University of Virginia, as guests of the school’s Contemplative Sciences Center.

To refresh your memory, that’s the institute that Sonia and Paul Tudor Jones — backers of Jois Yoga and the Sonima Foundation — seeded with money last year.

Here’s a little from the school’s story on it:

The meditation got under way and silence fell over the Lawn, disturbed only by a distant train whistle or an airplane flying high above. Standing on the bottom step of the Rotunda stairway, Chopra guided the crowd through stages of meditation: “Let your mind settle into your breath,” he said. “Think of who can use your help. Ask ‘What am I grateful for?’”

The crowd numbered about 300. Some stood, some laid down on blankets; most sat upright, while others leaned on the bases of Jeffersonian columns dotting the Lawn.

The newsworthiness of Chopra and Huffington’s being on campus also was a reason for the school’s communications team to check in with center director David Germano. A few highlights of the Q&A:

UVA Today: Why are the contemplative sciences important?

D.G.: Education isn’t just about imparting knowledge; it’s about imparting wisdom. It isn’t only about critical thought and intellectual achievement; it is also about developing personal and social skills with an integrated depth of experience enabling our students to transform into active, engaged, compassionate citizens of a diverse world.

Contemplation is best known in terms of the formal practices that are thought to exemplify it. Such practices include those with long cultural histories, such as contemplative Christian prayer, Hatha yoga, t’ai chi or Buddhist mindfulness. Contemplative practices also include contemporary and secular applications, such as performance visualization, deep listening and leadership training. Such practices are thought to improve human life when individuals and communities cultivate them deliberately and intelligently. In various traditions and settings, contemplation is said to heighten awareness, deepen understanding, improve learning, facilitate compassion and increase the quality of conscious choices.

Questions arise about contemplation and its practices – some of them skeptical – and thus rigorous scientific study, broadly construed, into its mechanisms and impact in specific contexts is essential. The center is blending 2,500 years of knowledge from spiritual and secular traditions around the world with the systematic investigation, experimentation and understanding of modern scholarship in the sciences, humanities, arts and social sciences.

In addition, theory and research only go so far, thus we need tight integration of research with practical applications that implement programs for transformative effect in specific sectors inside and outside the University.

UVA Today: What types of research are being conducted at the center?

D.G.: Promising new research and initiatives are going beyond anecdotal accounts to scientifically demonstrate the effects of what some refer to as “mind training” or “conscious practices of the self.” Research is under way to discern the effects of contemplation on the brain and easing depression, to improve K-12 teaching and learning, to increase successful recovery from addiction and to reduce stress among office workers and returning veterans. Research is also being conducted on issues related to end-of-life care training; symptomatic relief in fibromyalgia; contemplative practices as a way to address the so-called “SpongeBob Squarepants effect” on children, whose executive functions are negatively affected by watching fast-paced and fantastical children’s television shows; quantifying spiritual growth; mindfulness and kidney disease; swim team and cardio-respiratory dynamics; and much more. Such research programs aim to understand contemplation and its mechanisms in the body and mind.

This research draws on academic disciplines ranging from philosophy to neuroscience and can be applied in many professions, contexts and sectors of society. Evidence-based research on contemplative practices is now being employed not only to help individuals thrive, but to solve intractable societal and institutional problems in concrete applications ranging from failing public schools to skyrocketing health care costs to poor employee productivity.

The center involves many people and sponsors a wide range of initiatives across academic fields, but is strengthened by the common purpose of advancing the study, teaching, practice and use of contemplation.

To facilitate an interdisciplinary approach integrating the humanities and sciences, and both in turn with the full range of professional schools, the center’s work is focuses on five interconnected themes as it explores contemplation in research and learning:

  • Health and Wellbeing: exploring physical, emotion, mental and social health and wellbeing through cross-disciplinary research and new models of learning.
  • Education and Learning: investigating how contemplative practices can help us teach and learn more effectively and creatively in elementary, secondary and higher education.
  • Design and Place: researching how we design and build our physical and organizational worlds to foster wellbeing and reflection as architects, engineers and professionals.
  • Professions and Performance: examining the ways contemplation can help us perform with more efficiency, innovation and wellness as athletes, musicians and professionals.
  • Culture and Wisdom: inquiry into traditions, histories and ethical reflections of contemplation and collaborating with scientists and professionals in research and application.

There’s mention of an online Contemplative University that will be launched in 2014, but the link isn’t active. I wonder what that’s about? Stay tuned.

Posted by Steve

Yoga in a juvenile detention facility, plus prayers for the East Coast

The Eddie Stern-Deepak Chopra video series, Urban Yogis, continues with perhaps the most affecting one yet.

Here it is:

I should note that Ashtanga Yoga New York was closed Monday and will be closed on Tuesday due to Hurricane Sandy. Our thoughts and prayers go to everyone in the hurricane’s path. We have a few good friends who have evacuated their homes. Here’s wishing everyone a safe few days.

If your power stays on and you’re looking for something to do, we might suggest you check out this Vedic astrologer right here. Eddie’s highlighted him by saying:

If you are looking for a website with clear and well written information about puja, homa, astrology and also a nice, but small, collection of MP3s, visit here.The information and recordings are all by PVR Narasimha Rao (who recently contributed to Namarupa) and who lives in Massachusetts.

Eddie also is impressed by an amateur Adele performance. You can check that out at Eddie’s blog. (If you check out an earlier blog post there, you’ll get a little Halloween kick.)

Since we’re on about blogs, we’d also point you to David Garrigues’ latest. Surely one of the four new videos will strike a chord with you.

Stay safe, all.

Posted by Steve

Yoga and transformation: The latest from Chopra and Eddie Stern

I’ll confess: This is my favorite of the Urban Yogi videos. It’s not because of the references to Coldplay’s Chris Martin. It’s, obviously, the emphasis on surfing.

Yeah, guy. Maybe one day I’ll paddle out with Michael, the central figure in this video. (The Confluence would be a good opportunity. Just sayin’.)

More seriously, this video seems to capture a pretty typical evolution of folks who begin doing Ashtanga. Things… just start to change. That seems to be Michael’s tale — and it’s a good one to share as a result. (I’ll admit, up front, this may be the biggest argument in favor of the parents who are upset about the yoga in Encinitas schools. It can have a major impact — but so can literature, art, music… oh, wait, California has gotten rid of most of the programs from its schools thanks to budget cuts.)

“Yoga will help a person become more focused and more in touch with what’s important in their life,” Eddie Stern says at one point. Exactly.

Take a look:

 

I also should note that we missed passing on that there was a live hangout featuring Deepak Chopra, Eddie and a few other pretty darn notable folks earlier today. But you can catch it still below:

 

Posted by Steve

Urban yogis transforming lives

We mentioned a week back that Eddie Stern has another good Ashtanga cause to support, and now there’s a teaser video about this work, and others, he’s involved with in connection with Deepak Chopra and family. (You might recall they did a live video at the Chopra Youtube site back in July).

Here’s what Eddie has to say about it:

This past summer I helped put together several, short videos for the Chopra Well, the Chopra family’s youtube station. Together we went into the programs that Ashtanga Yoga Outreach teaches (a hypertension group in Brooklyn, Relationship Abuse Prevention Program, and others); Erica Ford’s Peace Is A Lifestyle program in South East Queens; and organizations that Jocelyne and I have been supporting for years, like the Lineage Project and their program in the Juvenile Detention Center in the South Bronx. The teaser video just went up, and I hope you find it as inspiring to watch as we did making the actual videos – which will begin to ‘air’ next week on The Chopra Well.

And the video (with a few moments of Eddie practicing):

Posted by Steve