Archive for May, 2014



 Cool fab food can be quick and bursting with flavor just right for the warm weather. No sweating over a stove and just 10 minutes! These recipes, with a few simple ingredients, work well for everyday meals, lunch boxes, and for company. We love them on lightly buttered and toasted bread (also good with bread lightly brushed with olive oil and toasted) accompanied by a bowl of hot or cold soup. Both recipes are vegan and gluten-free. There are several soup recipes on Mahasri Yoga.


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Meditation is a cognitive control exercise that enhances the self regulation of internal distractions, suggests Dr. Adam Gazzaley, a neuroscientist at the University of California, San Francisco. Emory University’s Wendy Hasenkamp and Larence Barsalon find that meditation seems to “flex” the neural circuitry for sustaining attention, an indicator of cognitive control.

Both these findings are part of Daniel Goleman’s May 12, 2014 The New York Times article “Exercising the Mind to Treat Attention Deficit”.

Cognitive control as defined by a spectrum of scientists according to Goleman is “the delay of gratification, impulse management, emotional self-regulation or self-control, the suppression of irrelevant thoughts, and paying attention or learning readiness”. Difficulties in these signify a lapses in cognitive control.

Cognitive control increases from the age of 4 to 12. It plateaus in the 20s. Impulsivity peaks at 16 years of age. Cognitive control wanes significantly in the 70s and 80s. Research indicates that meditation improves cognitive control and suggests more lasting effects than medications.

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It’s sad but true: here in this country, people are being bought, sold, and smuggled like modern-day slaves, states the FBI. Over 100,000 children in our communities are estimated to be in the sex trade in the US each year. Human trafficking is the fastest growing criminal activity, according to Polaris Project. The non-profit organization, named after the north star, operates a national hotline, provides training to police, and vital services to victims.

Annual Mahasri Yoga fundraising meditation and yoga events raise money and awareness of selected charities. It is a strong community service and outreach commitment. The charity selected this year is Polaris Project.

The event is a three-hour Mini Meditation Retreat on Tuesday, June 24, 2014, from 9 AM to 12 noon. It will be held at The Fellowship Room, The Unitarian Society of Ridgewood, 113 Cottage Place, Ridgewood, New Jersey. Prior registration ($35) is essential as space is limited. Registration can be done online through the “Donate” button on the home page of the website mahasriyoga.com. For questions, please contact info@mahasriyoga.com.

Meena Modi, a master yoga and meditation teacher will be conducting the retreat.

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Cleaning out the room, which at a glance looked so empty, turned out to be deceptive. Embedded in the two shelves of papers was a lifetime to be sorted and cleaned. Isn’t this how it is with everyone? Perhaps that is why we obstinately avoid it. Let it stay settled, along with the dust. No need to churn it up, the Pandora’s box of the mind. But it’s grip never goes then, silently hidden, guiding life with stealth.

So each paper was examined and with it each thought, incident, feeling, that bubbled up. What should stay and what should go–first in the mental space? Out-of mind would quickly allow the discarding to out-of-sight in the garbage. Definitely not recycle life. Two feet of paper gone and oh, what a relief!

Then emerged the little squares of red and yellow, the geological and chemistry society membership cards for the Michaelmas, Lent, and Summer terms for 35 new pence each. They were 38 years old and had travelled the globe, but always very discreetly, somewhere along the bottom of the suitcase or shelf. Suddenly, they were being viewed for the last time. After 38 years, it was time to let the 20-year old go. Why this sudden change? It was not apparent all these years that holding on to them was holding on to a 20-year old.

That 20-year old no longer existed and could never come back. Looking at the cards, it was time to examine what hold they had in the mind. First, it was a very easily transportable sense of familiarity and comfort when moving geographically from place to place. As time and age inevitably brought their bearings of all sorts of responsibilities, old age, death, these cards were the addictive remembrances of a carefree period of life. With it, hidden beneath many layers, almost invisible, was a yearning for what had been but could never be now.

So why now? Awareness and acceptance. The two brought fresh space to embrace the life that is lived now without the shadow of the past. To accept with open arms the maturity that a lived life has bestowed, the wisdom it has given to be free, the awareness of understanding that the 20-year old did not have.

A fond good-bye is whispered as the cards go in the chuck pile of spring cleaning.


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The summer is a perfect time to slow down with meditation and Mahasri Yoga has a wide range of programs. They will raise money for the Polaris Project (fights human trafficking and slavery in the US and globally) and for the Nick Currey Fund (childhood cancer/Ewing sarcoma). Please join us by contacting me at info@mahasriyoga.com. Our programs tend to fill fast and we have waiting lists, so if you know that you would like to join, e-mail me.

The Ridgewood Library Young Adults Programs

Young Adults/High School Age, please contact Gina Mitgang for registration for the following programs:

Wednesday July 9, 4-5 PM Meditation for Anxiety

Wednesday July 16, 4-5 PM Meditation for Focus

Wednesday July 23, 4-5 PM Meditation for Problem Solving

The Unitarian Society of Ridgewood

Please contact me and more information will be posted closer to the time.

Tuesday June 24, 9 AM to 12 noon Mini Meditation Retreat (we will take breaks!) Polaris Project fundraiser

Tuesday July 8, 10 AM to 12:30 PM (Embracing Fear) Nick Currey fundraiser


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Coursera is offering another free online course (13 weeks), Buddhist Meditation and the Modern World. It will be co-taught by two University of Virginia professors of religion. Here is a short description but the course does not start till January 2015.

Buddhist Meditation & the Modern World introduces students to (i) the history of Buddhist contemplative traditions in India and Tibet (meditation, yoga, mindfulness, visualization, etc.), (ii) innovations in scientific research on understanding such contemplative practices, (iii) recent adaptations of such practices in multiple professional and personal areas, and (iv) the practices themselves through brief secular contemplative exercises. The course will be co-taught by David Germano and Kurtis Schaeffer, and will include extensive contributions from scientists, people involved with integrating practice, and Tibetan Buddhist teachers.



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