Monday, January 20, 2014


Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a leader in removing division within our nation but that was just one step in his larger vision of a world in which we all recognize the deep spiritual truth that we are all tied together in a single garment of destiny, an inescapable network of mutuality.”  As a reverend he understood that there is an Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnipresent and all-encompassing luminous Presence of Divinity that envelopes ALL life everywhere.  It is through this spiritual lens that he viewed the social facts of racial and economic inequality.
When people look at the world as consisting of a bunch of disconnected people and nations they are not seeing the Truth.  The Truth is that when you begin to examine very small subatomic particles, such as photons and electrons you see that we are made of one divine, interconnected energy.   
Because we all come from the same universal energy WE ARE ALL ONE. Therefore, when we hate ANYONE it is the same as hating ourselves. When we are prejudiced or discriminate against someone because of the color of his or her skin, or his or her religion, nationality, culture, gender, lifestyle, economic or social status, it is the same as hating ourselves.  Dr. King recognized this truth.  He knew “that all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”   Therefore, Dr. King held a vision of “worldwide fellowship that lifts neighborly concern beyond one's tribe, race, class, and nation.” 

Dr. King embodied the principle expressed in the yoga greeting, “Namaste.”  Namaste is commonly translated to mean “I honor the place in you in which the entire universe dwells.  I honor the place in you that is of love, of truth, of light, and of peace. When you are in that place in you, and I am in that place in me, WE ARE ONE.”  Therefore, let us remember Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by surrounding those who are dear to us, as well as those we don’t even know, in peace, love and light; with the acknowledgement that WE ARE ALL ONE.  
Let our thoughts, words and actions be full of kindness to one another, as well as to ourselves.  After all, the good neighbor looks beyond the external accidents and discerns those inner qualities that make all men human and, therefore, brothers.  So let’s honor Dr. King by embodying Namaste.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Meditations on the Purpose of Life

I got some dental work done at the dentist yesterday and they gave me laughing gas.  I think this stuff is the best thing since sliced bread.  While I was under, I decided to see if the laughing gas could help me up my meditation experience, like they say LSD can do.  I'm never quite 100% sure that my meditations are actually allowing me to connect with God rather than just clearing my mind for more focused thought, but I had a very interesting meditation on the purpose of life. 

Once in my meditation, I realized that I had lost touch with God since I had my baby.  This drugged-up moment in the dentist chair was my first deep meditation since the birth of my baby 7 months ago.  I'd done a little light meditation that brought me relaxation, but it had not brought me that divine peace that deep meditation can bring. 

In yogic texts they discuss different levels of meditation, the first step is withdrawing the senses by closing the eyes, the second step is focusing the mind and eliminating that "monkey mind." Just by doing that, I am able to find relaxation.  This is about as far as meditation has gotten for me before my son woke up or I needed to do something.

But, yesterday, I went deeper.  I went to that place of pure peace and clarity.  I went to that place where all the thought waves ceased and the mind was still and quiet.  This is the place where your Word is most powerful.  This is the place where you plant seeds of change in your life.  This is the place of infinite possibilities.  If you have ever heard of "The Secret," or Science of Mind, or simply the power of your word, you may know that your thoughts are most powerful when you clearly set your intention and focus on that which you want.

At the point I realized I was at this deep state of meditation, my mind started revving-up.  My mind likes to try to control my meditations.  It usually likes to think of which mantra I should be repeating -- "om nama shivaya"... "there's only one life"... the gayatri mantra... "be still and know God" or something else.  This time, my mind was super excited and wanted to think of the perfect thing to pray for.  Should I pray for my son's happiness, my husband's happiness, my enlightenment, world peace or my happiness. 

From childhood, I've always thought happiness was the purpose of life.  People like to make things complicated with long books and philosophies but it all comes down to trying to be happy.  Why do I want Cam to be happy?  Because it makes me happy.  Why do I want Adam to be happy?  Because it makes me happy.  So do I think enlightenment will make me happy? 

We see people who do drugs, have sex, party and risk their lives because they think it makes them happy.  But does it really?  I sometimes think that people who choose to live a more reserved life like to think that party people aren't truly happy.  I don't know if that's true.  Just as some pious people are happy and some are unhappy, I think the same may be true for those crazy party animals.  I think it is easier to think that a simple person who lives off the land is happy and connected with God even if they never pray or have a religion than someone who parties all the time. But it does not seem beyond possibility that some people are just as happy and in touch with God as they go from moment to moment trying to find their next high. 

I do not consider myself a true yogi because the yogic texts say that the ultimate goal is be desireless, without any likes or dislikes.  That sounds utterly and completely BORING to me.  Yes, if you can live like that, you won't be sad, but you also won't ever be bouncing off the wall with joy and I love sparkling with joy.   

When I have had glimpses of enlightenment, I felt completely at peace and content.  It was beautiful but I wouldn't call it "happy."  So, have I been wrong all my 30 years of life?  Maybe I should use this time to pray for contentment and peace rather than happiness.  Maybe I should just pray for my contentment and peace knowing that I could never be content or at peace with my husband and son discontented.  Peace is what stays with you during good times and bad.  With happiness comes sadness because you are riding the waves of the world.  You are riding on temporary circumstances. 

With all that being said, I have to add that I often laugh at the way I like to over-complicate this simple thing called life.  As I write this blog discussing my meditation on the purpose of life, I imagine that a farmer tills the fields completely content and at peace and at one with his surroundings.  He's not trying to get there, or thinking about getting there, he just is.  His wife is washing dishes as she looks out the window, completely in the moment, at peace and content. 

Do my perfect archetypes of simple zen living really exist anywhere outside of my mind?  I don't know.  But even as I ponder enlightenment and the purpose of life, I am reminded that the way to peace and enlightenment is not meditation, it's not prayer, it's not study, it's just being fully present and letting go of our desire to control and analyze things with our mind.  So maybe my questions and prayers were answered--just be present and you will be content and at peace.  And, I really think the best thing I can do for my family is be an example of peace and contentment, I can't do it for them, only they can do that. 

As for world peace, just as I am an example for my family, I am an example for everyone I meet.  I hope to be an inspiration for everyone who reads these posts.  I hope that I spread peace and contentment through the world like ripples on the ocean, like the fluttering of a butterfly's wings.  May peace ripple all over the world and all beings know contentment, everywhere. 

And so it is!  Amen. 


Ronda Jyoti Litwin

Monday, August 27, 2012

5 Ways to Share Yoga with Your Newborn

Mommy & Me Yoga or Tiny Tots Class
Mommy & me yoga is a great way for babies to see you do yoga and feel incorporated into your practice from a young age.  If there isn’t a class near you, buy a DVD or book like Shiva Rea’s DVD or the Itsy Bitsy yoga book.  I personally don’t like mommy & me yoga classes because it's hard for me to relax and focus while taking care of my busy baby, but a lot of other people love it.  So, if your baby will allow you to lay her down, then mommy & me yoga is great.  If your baby likes to constantly move and be held,  share tiny tots yoga with her.  I will be making a mommy & me yoga video for active babies soon. If you know of a good yoga video for active babies, please contact me. 
    Clear Your Baby's Chakras
    If you have ever gone to a yoga class you’ve probably experienced being lulled into relaxation with chakra clearing music.  Different tones are designed to clear and align your chakras.  This music is very relaxing and the perfect white noise for baby's nursery.  When purchasing a chakra clearing CD for the baby,  you want to make sure it only has the sounds, without words.  The yogic science behind these CDs is that each chakra, or energetic center, vibrates at a specific frequency. When a sound wave vibrates at this frequency, it helps to activate this energetic center.  When chakras are not aligned it can result in physical and emotional pain. Therefore, keeping chakras aligned is one of the main goals of yoga.   A good CD for this purpose is Frequencies: Sounds of Healing.

      Mantra Lullabies Send Good Vibes
      Mantras are sacred sounds designed to raise the vibration in your body and the atmosphere.  Rather than singing "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star," why not sing Om Namah Shivaya.  Play with the rhythm and your tone to find the one that works for you and your baby.  Or play a CD by Deva Premal for the baby.  When Deva Premal's mother was pregnant with her, her parents would sing the Gayatri Mantra throughout the pregnancy.  It means "May all beings on Earth reach enlightenment."   So, send your baby good vibes with mantra lullabies.  
        Mandalas are Spiritual Artwork   
        These are both sacred visual art that will expose your baby to art and the spiritual realm.  You can even print one out and color it to match the baby’s room. If you are practicing the Montessori method, you can place a mandala low on the wall at the baby's eye level.  Otherwise, a good location may be next to the changing table or on the ceiling above her bassinet.  Remember that this art is meant for the baby to see, not to decorate the room for the parents.

        Turn Breastfeeding into Meditation Time 

        If you breastfeed your baby to sleep or simply allow the baby to fall asleep on or near you, use that silent time as an opportunity to meditate or pray for or about your baby.  Allow your calm energy to fill the room and surround your baby with love.  You can also do the same prenatal meditations you did while your baby was in your belly: Breathe in love, breathe out love for your baby.  It can be difficult to maintain your spiritual practice as a new mother, but this practice can help you be more grounded, mindful and SANE.  Why is it that it is hardest to do your spiritual practices when you need them the most?  Don't beat yourself up missing a meditation with a newborn, but know that you can find balance and peace during this time.  It just may look a little different than it used to. 

        Namaste, Ronda Jyoti Litwin

        Friday, July 20, 2012

        I'm Back!! . . . Virtually Anyway

        Motherhood is a whole new adventure.  It has taken me on a path I couldn't have predicted.  I think its best to hold off on teaching yoga classes a little longer than I planned so I can spend more time with my baby.

        However, I'm planning to share my love for yoga virtually.  Stay tuned for yoga videos and articles for you to experience yoga when and where you want.  Virtual yogis unite!

        If you have any yoga questions or are interest in a yoga class geared toward a specific goal or problem, please contact me or on my Dallas Yoga Love Facebook page.

        Ronda Litwin

        Wednesday, January 4, 2012

        Maternity Leave

        Thank you so much for visiting Dallas Yoga Love's blog.  

        Dallas Yoga Love is on a temporary hiatus until May of 2012 because we are anticipating the arrival of a brand new little yogi in March of 2012.  

        Please stay tuned!  We have lots of plans for May:
        • Mommy & Me Yoga
        • Postnatal Yoga 
        • Lots of Yoga Videos
        • Core/Abdominal Yoga Poses

        Namaste :)

        Tuesday, August 16, 2011

        Prental Yoga Series

        Prenatal 6-Week Series

        Fridays   6:00 – 7:00 PM
        Sept. 16th, 23rd, 30th, Oct. 7th, 14th, 21st

        Hello Mommy-To-Be Yoginis!
        Start your weekend off with  a new kind of happy hour that will eave you blissed out and high on life.  Pregnancy is the perfect time to go within and deeply connect with your body and baby.  Ronda Litwin, a trained prenatal yoga instructor and soon-to-be-mommy, will guide participants in a meditative yoga flow that will help you mentally, physically and spiritually prepare for birth.

        Registration is now open for Prenatal 6 week series classes. 

        Prenatal yoga:
        Fridays 6-7PM

        SEPTEMBER 16
        SEPTEMBER 23
        SEPTEMBER 30
        OCTOBER 7
        OCTOBER 14
        OCTOBER 21

        Please call 469-777-8288 or email  to sign up.
        Moms-to-be can be in any trimester to register. Doctor approval is recommended but not required. 
        Friends and fathers-to-be are welcome.

        Ronda Jyoti Litwin

        Monday, November 29, 2010

        Contentment (Samtosha)

        We are all seeking to invite more joy and peace into our lives every day.  This can seem like a challenge when life is full of ups and downs, but every obstacle in life presents an opportunity to practice being at peace with things just as they are.  In yoga, we call this samtosha, which translates into contentment.  When we can ground ourselves in faith and love and accept everything as it is, the sting of life’s worries loses its effect and we can step into a constant state of peace.   I believe there are three essential keys to attaining the peace and joy that accompany contentment.  They are (1) recognizing our blessings, (2) focusing our attention on the unchanging spiritual realm, and (3) having faith in the Divine.

        Recognizing Our Blessing

        We cultivate contentment by being grateful for what each and every day has to offer.  That is, contentment begins with being thankful for all of our talents, gifts, and possessions without making comparisons or feeling we need anything extra to make us happy.  We are already whole, perfect and complete; all that may be missing is our realization of this truth. 
        A great way to help ourselves realize this truth is to carry a gratitude token.  The token can be in the form of a rock, keychain, bracelet or any item with special significance.  We can incorporate this token into our practice by carrying it on a daily basis and whenever we come across it, allowing that item to be a reminder to think of three blessings in our lives.   This practice allows us to recognize the blessings in our lives throughout the day.  Ultimately, the need for the token dissolves and we find ourselves naturally shifting our mind to gratitude throughout the day.
        Another great gratitude practice is to keep a journal and write down 5 new things that we can be grateful for each day.  On the “bad” days, we can review the many blessings of our lives and then allow ourselves to shift our focus to the good and add to the list of blessings, even in the midst of our struggle.  The purpose of thinking of 5 new things every day is to to go beyond the usual realm of gratitude and bring awareness to the small blessings and the blessings in disguise.  For example, we may start out by being grateful for our education and after a while, find gratitude for  the lessons learned in a past romantic relationship.  There are blessings all around us, we just have to take the time to look.  In doing so, we give ourselves the gift of peace and contentment.
        Focusing Attention on the Unchanging Spiritual Realm

        Releasing ourselves from the bondage of the material world and focusing  on spiritual improvement can also bring peace and contentment no matter what is happening.  When we know that we are loved by God and nurtured by family, friends, and community, we can simply be ourselves and be satisfied with whatever may come.    Therefore, its important to make time for prayer, meditation and/or reading inspirational texts daily.  Even if we don’t feel like there is enough time to pray or meditate every day in the morning and every night before bed, we can simply say a grace before eating.  If that doesn’t work, we can get creative.  For example,praying or listening to an enlightened message on the way to work, using one 15-minute break at work to meditate or pray, or replacing ½ hour of television with spiritual time can all have a huge impact.  Regardless of what we do or when we do it, investing time in shifting attention from this temporary world of form to the permanent realm of the soul is guaranteed to give a return on investment in the form of peace and contentment. 
        The true aim of yoga is to create a space to connect with something greater than ourselves (God, the Universe, our higher wisdom, Allah, Buddha, Krishna, our ancestors, etc.).  Yoga can be cultivate more faith and contentment on and off the mat by incorporating physical asanas (poses), breathing techniques, and meditative prayer into the practice.   We start the practice off with a regular asana practice with a mix of poses (some easy, some hard).  As we practice the poses, we can focus on being content with our body and our ability--focus on the strength, flexibility and balance we exhibit, rather than how we wish the pose looked or felt.  We finish the  practice with shoulder stand or headstand and then lying in savasana (final relaxation pose) for about 3 minutes.  While in savasana, we take some time to reflect on 3 blessings in our lives and then relax in gratitude.  After savasana, we find a comfortable seated position with our spine tall and shoulders relaxed.  We practice alternate nostril breathing for about 10 times on each side.  Then, we sit and breathe comfortably with the eyes closed, spine straight, and attention focused on the area between the eyebrows.    Then we can begin a simple meditation prayer--reciting an affirmation, a bible verse or an inspiring quote from your favorite author.  I like to use a quote from Ernest Holmes, the founder of Science of Mind, that I was introduced to at the Center for Spiritual Living Dallas: "There’s only one Life. This Life is God’s Life. This Life is Perfect. This Life is my life, NOW."  We say this phrase to ourselves silently and repeatedly.  Each time, allow the words to remind us that God is all around us and everything is working in divine order.

        Having Faith

        Cultivating faith in the Divine allows a greater experience of contentment.  Life has many "highs" and "lows" but it is our faith that allows us to weather the storm in peace.  We all know that flowers bloom in the spring and leaves descend in the fall.  In fact, everyone welcomes the changes of the seasons because we know it is a natural part of life and we have faith that spring will follow winter and fall will follow summer.   (At least I know that’s what gets me through the hot summers and cold winters of Texas and allows me to enjoy those seasons too because they're temporary.)    
        When there are changes in the economy, however, people strongly resist the change and become scared, depressed and insecure.  This is because we have misplaced faith in the economy as the source of our good.  The true source of our good is God.  When we firmly believe that God will provide, we are unshaken by the economy because we know that the ups and downs of the economy do not affect our good.
        Further, when we have faith and know that we are always with God and God loves us as we are, we have less of a tendency to allow our jobs and sources of income to define our value in the world.  When we recognize that we are all individual expressions of God, losing a job doesn't cause us to have an identity crisis. When we identify ourselves as an expression of God, neither a change in our job nor a change in the economy can cause us to question who we are.  When we have faith in the Divine, all changes are like changes in seasons, they have no effect on our stability or our identity, they are simply facts of life.    
        Once established in gratitude and the spiritual realm, faith automatically begin to increase.  As faith increases, so does contentment.  The true key to joy, peace and contentment is recognizing that God is all there is, God is the source of our good, and God is greater than anything this material world can throw at us.  Peace be with you!

        Ronda Jyoti Litwin, RYT

        Additional resources:   

        • The Yamas & Niyamas: Exploring Yoga's Ethical PracticeIf you want to find out more about the yogic definition of samtosha (contentment) and  how that concept fits into yogic philosophy, this is a great book.  It introduces you to the first two steps on the 8-limbed path to yoga, the yamas (restraints) and niyamas (observances).  Samtosha is one of the niyamas
        • The Secret (Extended Edition)This movie is a great way to begin to anchor yourself in God as your source.  It also discusses beautiful gratitude practices.
        • The Center for Spiritual LivingThis is a wonderful place to anchor yourself in the spiritual realm, regardless of your spiritual or religious background.  You will learn all kinds of tools to help you grow into contentment.  The link is to The Center for Spiritual Living Dallas but if you live elsewhere there are other Centers for Spiritual Living, Religious Science, Science of Mind and Unity Churches throughout the world. 
        • Contentment: A Way to True Happiness:    Society may tell us to keep looking for the next purchase, person, job or feeling to fill the void, but, as the authors point out, "contentment comes from the inside." In addition to the examples Johnson and Ruhl draw from Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Taoist and other traditions, they present an extended discussion of the themes of spiritual blindness and insight into King Lear to illustrate the inward and outward examination necessary for growth. Their contemplative strategies for achieving happiness take into account the pace and complexity of modern life, and are not merely a call to simplify and reduce.