raw yoga

abhay burjor ghiara

celebrating raw yoga  20 years 1995-2015

My name is Abhay (rhymes with 'up high'). I have been teaching a natural, 'uncooked' form of yoga free of additives such as trade marks for over twenty years. 

raw yoga is not a school of yoga

raw yoga is not a school of yoga--The great philosopher Krishnamurti used to joke about people finding the Truth and then the Devil helping them organize it! Forget about schools. Forget about trademarks. Yoga is free and can not be contained. Everything else is what the ancient yogis called maya, or illusion. 

Twenty years ago I started a movement that approached yoga in a fresh, new way. No copyrights, no trademarks and no schools of yoga. I called the movement raw yoga.

Today raw yoga is a worldwide movement. Teachers adopt the words raw yoga to emphasize their commitment to teaching authentic school-free, institution-free yoga that accepts all, adopts all, welcome all. 

Through this openness raw yoga creates true freedom. 

The heart of raw yoga

 The heart of raw yoga is following our hearts to true freedom. Sure there are great teachers. Study with them. Then create your own practice. 

Remember yoga is play! Have fun experimenting. Enjoy your self. Trust your body's incredible intelligence to guide you. Do you remember learning to ride a bicycle? Wasn't it fun even when you fell? raw yoga is play! 

When you are ready teach that practice with openness and as an offering of love.

raw yoga news

photo: John W. Sisson, Jr.

November 2017

There are no short cuts in life. But surprisingly, there is a whole industry of short cuts: wise women and wise men bringing intuitive, channeled, and self-realized messages. These messages talk of how we create our reality, how intentions are the creative force of our lives, how visualizing success leads to success. 

I am not a wise man. I have no messages to bring. I have no authority over such matters. However, it is my opinion that all these 'messages' offer short cuts and in my own experience short cuts tell half-truths. 

My experience of life teaches me that life can not be fathomed. Things happen to us that we can not possibly understand, let alone be responsible for. We create our reality in a very narrow sense that we have just one choice -- do we follow life or try to control it. That's it. Very few people actually follow life wherever she takes us. Most people try to control life. When we are told that we create our reality we are asked to take control of our life. That is a very impoverished understanding of what we are here to do in life. We are not here to create abundance, or be happy, or forgive people, or say, "I know I created my own cancer -- I am to blame, now I can force myself to magically get rid of it since I create my reality." This viewpoint is all about control. I control life--My life is out of control--I will read the books and listen to the recordings of this wise person--I will regain control of my life. 

But control is violence. To follow is nonviolence. In the industry of short-cuts, violence trumps nonviolence. Few people simply follow life in all its complicated richness. That's how I try to live my life. I try.

By now it is widely accepted by many people with a spiritual bent that intentions matter. That to live a good life, a full life, we must practice holding intentions. But intentions are control, it is choosing to control life rather than follow her. We can hold intentions but holding intentions are practicing control, which is violence. I like the nonviolent path of not holding intentions but rather simply following where life takes me. 

Visualization is also control. It is violence. I prefer to visualize nothing. I prefer to follow life, the nonviolent path. 

The problem with creating our reality, intentions, and visualizations is not that they do not work--they do! My problem with all three approaches is that they are half-truths. I do not for a moment believe that our lives are what they seem to be. We are multidimensional! While the three approaches can create all kinds to things in three dimensions they are violent and screw things up and limit life experience in multiple dimensions. 

Our reality does not have an objective, independent reality, outside of us. Our reality is us. If we are trying to shape, to improve, to control our lives it means that we don't really understand who we are. We are magnificent, multidimensional beings. The reality we are aware of is a tiny little three dimensional spot in an infinite multidimensional space which is our Reality.

The messages of the wise women and wise men do not show an understanding of Reality (multidimensional) only reality (three dimensional). We can certainly create our reality but we can not create our Reality, which is beyond our capacity to even fathom. 

In creating our reality we use violence. We can set intentions, we can visualize, and these will certainly affect our reality. But when we do so we choose controlling life over following life, violence over nonviolence. We mess with things we don't understand. 

So this is what I understand about myself: I am magnificent, multidimensional energy, not what I think of as my reality. I have only one choice: to control or to follow. I choose to follow. Which means that I do not create my reality, I do not set intentions, and I do not visualize. 

I simply follow life. I do not 'like' that my partner has stage four cancer, that I am jobless, that one day my savings will run out, that my life is very hard. But I don't try to change anything. I simply follow, willingly, life where she leads me. 

November 2016

When times are hard our yoga practice becomes our sail-boat that helps us cross the story sea. Our yoga practice is not only the daily practice of physical postures known as yogasana or simply asana but also the daily practice of living our lives. 

When times are hard we feel fragmented. It is a great challenge to stay focused, to move forward with our lives. Such times demand that we make conscious use of our most precious resource, namely time. The ancients have given us three modes of being that, to continue our metaphor, allow us to cross uncharted waters in our sail-boat. Any one of these can take us safely across when combined with our asana practice. 

The first mode is known as bhakti yoga. This is the devotional mode. One dedicates every waking and sleeping moment to a cause, a deity, a principle, anything that one believes in whole heartedly. Bhakti yoga is very effective when you have something that you can single-mindedly focus on. That then becomes your meditation, night and day.

The second mode is known as gyan yoga. This is the mode of the intellect. One immerses oneself in the discovery of new knowledge, gaining a deeper and deeper understanding and perspective upon our subject of study. Gyan yoga is not simply book-knowledge. You study for your self the practical implications of that knowledge and act upon your understanding.

The third mode is known as karma yoga. This is the mode of work-for-the-sake-of-the-work-itself. The Bhagavad Gita defines this mode as follows: You have the right to your work but not to the fruits of your work. You simply immerse your self in your work with no thought of the results but simply connecting to the act of working as your meditation practice. The beauty of karma yoga is that anyone can do it in absolutely any kind of work that one is engaged in. You could be hand-washing dishes, working in a library, painting a house, directing a movie--all that matters is that you do your work with no ego-attachment to the results of the work. 

Which mode we pick depends on our personality and personal preferences. Joining any one these modes with our asana practice allows our sail-boat to stay afloat and cross the stormy seas. After all the word yoga means to join: we must join the practice of living and the practice of doing to create wholeness in our lives.

Peace and Love,


November 2015

December 2014

I just wrote a piece called two yogas.

May 2014

I just wrote an exercise without movement piece called prana

December 2013

Interview with India West about my time in India as a Fulbright scholar. This appeared this month and can be seen here.  

November 2013

Back from travels in India as Fulbright scholar. In the midst of creating a new integrated work linking yoga and creativity, improvisation and guidance by Life itself.

May 2012

I will be a Fulbright scholar to India for 2012-13. 

February 2011

Just returned from a long visit to India to find that the Journal of Curriculum and Pedagogy had published my 26 Short Discourses on Yoga in their summer 2010 issue v7(1) with the editor referring readers to this website for further reading.  Happy new year!

January 2010

As we prepare for the year 2012 we are experiencing far-out changes. We are moving from largely physical beings to light beings. Raw yoga is at the vanguard of this transformation. It asks of us not only physical transformation but also a mental one. We are creating a safe passageway rooted in a centuries-old tradition that will finally make enlightenment available to everyone. Happy new year!

November 2009

For two years I wandered. Following a voice within. I met angels in the guise of humans, one of whom robbed me of my possessions in Goa, India. In one night I lost everything and I found everything. And I discovered new truths. Here is the first one:

Yoga is the consciousness of your inner voice.

One of the basic building blocks of inner expansion is listening to the voice within.

January 2009

I will be lecturing on yoga at an all day workshop on Cancer and Yoga Therapy: a cross-disciplinary workshop bringing together yoga instructors and health professionals to exchange information about cancer treatment and learn new ways to help support survivors through alternative treatments such as yoga.

The other two speakers are pioneers in the field of alternative treatments to traditional cancer treatments. Anand Dhruva, M.D is a cancer specialist at the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at UCSF Medical Center at Mount Zion. He provides integrative medicine consultations for cancer patients with specialized knowledge in both standard and non-traditional approaches to treatments and supportive care. Kelly McGonigal, PhD is a leading expert on the mind-body relationship and the psychology of yoga. She teaches yoga, meditation, and psychology at Stanford University, and is a passionate editor and freelance writer in the areas of mind-body psychology and integrative health care.

January 10th, 2009 10 AM - 4 PM at the California Pacific Medical Center

It is a free BUT space is very limited! Please register soon to avoid disappointment! For more information, maps, etc. please click here.

I hope many of you can make it to this paradigm-shifting workshop. Regardless of your background you will surely have a deeply transforming experience!

I am a teacher, writer, and Gandhian economist. I started studying yoga at age four at my mother's feet. My mother's great grandfather had been an Ayurvedic vaidya. Her grandfather was the teacher of the great philosopher-teacher-saint, freedom fighter Sane Guruji often called the National Teacher of India. My father, himself a great teacher, was educated at the celebrated Bordi school where his own father, my grandfather was a Master. The Bordi school carried on the great tradition of combining the best of the East and West initiated by the legendary Indian leader Gokhale (Gandhi's mentor), and turned out a number of freedom fighters. I was initiated by my teacher at the Aurobindo Ashram at age thirteen and went on to get a university education as well. I studied economics and yoga at Bombay University, graduating exactly 100 years after Mahatma Gandhi. I have a master's degree from Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill.  I have practiced yoga all my life. 

I have lectured on yoga and life in four continents, most recently in London, Bristol, San Francisco, Chicago, Rio de Janeiro, Fortaleza and Mumbai.

My yoga blog is called yoga is love and my economics blog is called Gandhian economics

I am a Fulbright Scholar to India and a peer reviewer for the Fulbright Commission, New Delhi, India. 

 photo: Maritstar

>> two yogas

>> prana 

>> raw yoga Q & A 

>> Lecture at California Pacific Medical Center, San Francisco

>> appreciations

>> contact me 

raw yoga a-z

 >> akasha

>> breath

>> circle  

>> connection

>> duality

>> embrace

>> friend

>> Gandhiji

>> gravity

>> how

>> imagination

>> joy

>> karma

>> kripa

>> love 

>>  meditation

>> metaphor  

>> minimum effort  

>> moon cycle

>> padma

>> pain 

>> radical yoga

>> root  

>> sex  

>> soul 

>> string 

>> temple

>> untangle

>> waken the serpent 

>> zindagi