Podcast

#44: Buddhist Geeks with Vincent Horn

This week is a special week for me because I sit down with Vincent Horn, the host and founder of the podcast Buddhist Geeks, which was the first show, along with Waking Up with Sam Harris, that turned me onto podcasting. Buddhist Geeks has a keen interest in several of the topics that we like to explore on this show and most recently Vince’s interests have focused on the relationship between meditation and psychedelics. Vince and I spoke about our personal thoughts on the connection between entheogens and contemplative practices, as well as some of the challenges around having this conversation.

We also discuss Vince’s evolving relationship with Buddhism and why he now says that he keeps one foot within the circle of Buddhism and one foot outside the tradition. Vince is also deeply interested in the intersection of ancient wisdom and modernity, hence why I had such a great time speaking with him.

Enjoy.

Guest Bio:

Vincent Horn is part of a new generation of teachers translating age-old wisdom into 21st century code. A computer engineering dropout turned modern monk, Vincent spent his 20s co-founding the ground-breaking Buddhist Geeks project while doing a full year of silent meditation practice on retreat. Vincent began teaching in 2010 and since then has been authorized in both the pragmatic dharma lineage of Kenneth Folk and by Trudy Goodman Kornfield, whose contemplative training is in the Insight Meditation and Zen traditions.  Vince is one of the co-founders of Meditate.io, which is dedicated to offering deep practice opportunities for independent learners.  Vincent has been called a “power player of the mindfulness movement” by Wired magazine and was honored to be featured in Wired UK’s “Smart List: 50 people who will change the world.” He lives in the mountains of Asheville, North Carolina with his teaching & life partner Emily and their son Zander.

#43: The Art of Awakening with Katchie Ananda

This week I speak with Katchie Ananda who teaches Dharma Yoga: an approach to teaching hatha yoga that integrates the insights of Theravada Buddhism. Katchie and I discuss studying with exceptional teachers like Richard Freeman and Jack Kornfield and how these teaches have impacted her. We also discuss the ways in which entheogens, such as Ayahuasca, can complement contemplative practices and further augment the art of awakening.

Guest Bio:

Katchie Ananda is an international yoga and dharma teacher who has been teaching as a full-time yoga teacher since 1990.

She is certified in Integral, Jivamukti, Anusara, and Ashtanga yoga by Richard Freeman.

A committed student of Vipassana Meditation, she has practiced with Jack Kornfield, her Buddhist mentor, since 2000.

The co-founder/director of Yoga Sangha, a beloved yoga center in San Francisco dedicated to yoga and dharma, Katchie offers trainings in Europe and the USA.

She is dedicated to raising awareness about human and animal rights, the environment and social justice. Her leadership in yoga and social change prompted Yoga Journal to name her one of five top yoga teachers making change in the world and she volunteered for many years at San Quentin, teaching Yoga and Dharma to long-term inmates.

She has brought her humor and stories to conferences, festivals and workshops all over the world and is loved by her students for her authenticity and wisdom.

She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with her husband Joshua and dog Leelou.

Links:

Katchie’s Personal Website

#42: Living with Right Intention with Roshi Joan Halifax

This week I am honored to speak with Zen Buddhist Priest and social activist Roshi Joan Halifax. Roshi Joan shares the wisdom she has learned through working with people who are terminally ill, and how confronting death honestly has taught her how to live live more fully. She also offers insight into how to live with right intention, including acting without expectations to the outcomes of our actions. I learned a great deal from my conversation with Roshi Joan Halifax, and I’m sure that you will as well.

Guest Bio:

Roshi Joan Halifax, Ph.D.,is a Buddhist teacher, Zen priest, anthropologist, and pioneer in the field of end-of-life care. She is Founder, Abbot, and Head Teacher of Upaya Institute and Zen Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She received her Ph.D. in medical anthropology in 1973 and has lectured on the subject of death and dying at many academic institutions and medical centers around the world. She received a National Science Foundation Fellowship in Visual Anthropology, was an Honorary Research Fellow in Medical Ethnobotany at Harvard University, and was a Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the Library of Congress.

From 1972-1975, she worked with psychiatrist Stanislav Grof at the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center with dying cancer patients. She has continued to work with dying people and their families, and to teach health care professionals and family caregivers the psycho-social, ethical and spiritual aspects of care of the dying. She is Director of the Project on Being with Dying, and Founder of the Upaya Prison Project that develops programs on meditation for prisoners. She is also founder of the Nomads Clinic in Nepal.

She studied for a decade with Zen Teacher Seung Sahn and was a teacher in the Kwan Um Zen School. She received the Lamp Transmission from Thich Nhat Hanh, and was given Inka by Roshi Bernie Glassman.

A Founding Teacher of the Zen Peacemaker Order and founder of Prajna Mountain Buddhist Order, her work and practice for more than four decades has focused on engaged Buddhism. Her books include: The Human Encounter with Death (with Stanislav Grof); The Fruitful Darkness, A Journey Through Buddhist PracticeSimplicity in the ComplexA Buddhist Life in AmericaBeing with Dying: Cultivating Compassion and Wisdom in the Presence of Death; and her forthcoming, Standing at the Edge: Finding Freedom Where Fear and Courage Meet to be released on May 1, 2018.

For a listing of Roshi’s books, click here:
https://www.amazon.com/author/joanhalifax

For a listing of Roshi’s film credits, click here:
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1967890/

#41: The Yoga of Living Abroad with Ed Liu

In this conversation I speak at length with Ed Liu, the host of the most popular psychedelic podcast on iTunes: Psychedelic Milk. Ed and I discuss our mutual interests in psychedelics, yoga and meditation, as well as why we both like living in Asia as American expats.

Guest Bio: 

Ed Liu is a yoga teacher based in Hong Kong, as well as the host of the Psychedelic Milk podcast, which dives deep into the world of psychedelics through discussions to bring awareness to alternative medicine and spirituality from different esoteric traditions.

Links:

Psychedelic Milk

Instagram

#40: The Unraveling of the American Left with Carol Horton PhD

This week I sit down with Carol Horton, PhD to discuss the reactivity and outrage defining our current cultural moment and the unraveling of the American Left in the Age of Trump. Carol specializes in the intersection of yoga, politics and culture. We discuss some of the trends in American politics and culture and consider what contemplative practices have to offer us in this particular historical moment of outrage and reactivity.
Guest Bio:
Carol Horton, Ph.D., is a writer, educator, and activist working at the intersection of mindful yoga, social science, and healing justice. Carol is the author or editor of five books:
  • Yoga PhD: Integrating the Life of the Mind & the Wisdom of the Body (author)
  • 21st Century Yoga: Culture, Politics, & Practice (co-editor, with Roseanne Harvey)
  • Best Practices for Yoga with Veterans (editor)
  • Best Practices for Yoga in the Criminal Justice System (editor)
  • Race and the Making of American Liberalism (author)
Carol is vice-president of the Yoga Service Council and a co-founder of Chicago’s Socially Engaged Yoga Network. She is a member of the Ethics & Conduct Committee for the Yoga Alliance Standards Review Project. Carol serves as an associate editor of the scholarly journal Asian Medicine: Tradition and Modernity and as a peer reviewer for Race and Yoga. 
Carol has taught yoga in Chicago’s Cook County Jail, a drop-in center for homeless women, a residential foster care facility, a community health center, and several independent studios. An ex-political science professor and policy researcher, she holds a doctorate from the University of Chicago.
Topics that Carol and I cover:

Making sense of ancient teachings through a contemporary lens

The Rise of Jordan Peterson

Reactivity & outrage defining current US cultural moment

Growing Intolerance on the Left

Me Too Movement and Gender Politics

Erosion of nuance and complexity in our political discourse

Role that contemplative practices can play in creating a better climate

How to Follow Carol:
Recommended written work from Carol:

#39: Yoga Mind, Yoga Body with Gernot Huber

This week I speak with Gernot Hubert, a yoga teacher and fellow expat in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Gernot goes in depth on yoga anatomy & physiology, along with the following other topics:

  • What draws people to practice yoga
  • How yoga can either disrupt or reinforce habitual patterns
  • Managing stress
  • Alignment issues
  • How to practice safely
  • How to create more balance in your practice and your life
  • Strengthening the mind body connection

Guest Bio:

Gernot Hubert has been practicing and studying yoga since 1996. His yoga background includes Anusara, Iyengar, Forrest, Kripalu, and Ashtanga Yoga, and he holds a 200-hour yoga teacher training certificate from a Yoga-Alliance-registered teacher training program. Born in South Africa and raised in Germany, Gernot has spent 20 years in the United States as well as significant amounts of time in Argentina and Thailand. Gernot speaks English, German, and Spanish, as well as some French and Thai. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Modern Thought and Literature from Stanford University and a master’s degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Cornell University.

In his teachings, Gernot draws on a broad range of life experiences that includes working in Silicon Valley, traveling extensively in Asia and South America, volunteering for antiglobalization and alternative-transit non-profits, conducting biological fieldwork in California’s Sierra Nevada and Argentina’s Pampa, and teaching wildlife monitoring to inner city youth. He also loves bicycling and wilderness travel, and practices Vipasana meditation. His varied life experiences help Gernot relate to yoga students from all walks of life, and help him transmit the essential teachings of yoga in a way that makes them come alive on and off the mat.

Links:

Yoga Mind, Yoga Body

#38: Yoga Synergy with Simon Borg Olivier

This week I speak with Simon Borg Olivier, co-founder of Yoga Synergy in Sydney, Australia. Simon and I discuss the unique approach style of yoga that he and his business partner, Bianca Machliss, have developed: Yoga Synergy, which they describe as an adaptation of traditional hatha yoga for the modern Western body.
As someone who has completed a 200 hour yoga teacher training with Simon, I can personally attest to the quality of Simon’s gift for the craft of teaching, as well as his genuine warm and kindness. He is a wealth of knowledge and a rare combination of talents: a former lecturer in Molecular Biology at the University of Sydney who went back to do another degree in physiotherapy after discovering his passion for yoga. Simon brings a keen scientific mind to his discussion of how best to practice yoga, and also integrates his more recent love of Qi Gong and Traditional Chinese Medicine into his practice.
I hope you enjoy our conversation.
Guest Bio:
Simon Borg-Olivier MScBAppSc (Physiotherapy) is a Co-Director, with Bianca Machliss BScBAppSc (Physiotherapy) of Yoga Synergy, one of Australia’s oldest and most respected yoga schools. The Yoga Synergy style is based on a deep understanding of yoga anatomy, yoga physiology and traditional Hatha Yoga. Simon has been teaching since 1982. He is a registered physiotherapist, a research scientist and a university lecturer. Simon has been regularly invited to teach at special workshops and conferences interstate and overseas since 1990.
Simon and Bianca run international Yoga Synergy Teacher Training Courses both internationally (yearly in Goa, India) and also in their home town of Sydney Australia. The next Yoga Synergy 200 hour Teacher Training Courses will be running in (1) Sydney from May 8th 2015 to November, (2) Sydney from September 2015 to August 2016, and (3) Goa, India from March to April 2016.
Shownotes:
Coming soon.
Links:

#37: The Science of Self Mastery with Dr. Judson Brewer

Guest Bio:

Judson Brewer MD PhD is a thought leader in the field of habit change and the “science of self-mastery”, combining nearly 20 years of experience with mindfulness training with his scientific research. He is the Director of Research at the Center for Mindfulness and associate professor in Medicine and Psychiatry at UMass Medical School and a research affiliate at MIT.

He has published numerous peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, trained US Olympic coaches, and his work has been featured on 60 Minutes, TEDMED, Time, Forbes, BBC, NPR, Businessweek and others.

A psychiatrist and internationally known expert in mindfulness training for addictions, Brewer has developed and tested novel mindfulness programs for habit change, including both in-person and app-based treatments (Eat Right Now, Unwinding Anxiety and Craving to Quit).

He has also studied the underlying neural mechanisms of mindfulness using standard and real-time fMRI.

His work has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, American Heart Association, Fetzer Trust among others. Dr. Brewer founded Claritas MindSciences to move his discoveries of clinical evidence behind mindfulness for eating, smoking and other behavior change into the marketplace.

Shownotes:

Coming soon.

Links:

Personal Website of Judson Brewer

#36: Radical Dharma with Lama Rod Owens

This week I sit down with Lama Rod Owens to discuss the intersection of Buddhist Dharma and American culture and politics. Lama Rod articulates his vision for Radical Dharma: a call to make the teachings of Buddhism relevant for tending to the suffering in the United States in this day and age, starting with addressing issues of race, gender and sexuality in American Buddhist communities.
Shownotes:Coming soon.

Guest Bio:

Considered one of the leaders of the next generation of Dharma teachers, Lama Rod Owens has a blend of formal Buddhist training and life experience that gives him a unique ability to understand, relate and engage with those around him in a way that’s spacious and sincere. His gentle, laid-back demeanor and willingness to bare his heart and soul makes others want to do the same. Even when seated in front of a room, he’s next to you, sharing his stories and struggles with an openness vulnerability and gentle humor that makes you genuinely feel good about who you are, with all your flaws and foibles, you’re lovable and deserving of happiness and joy. He invites you into the cross sections of his life as a Black, queer male, born and raised in the South, and heavily influenced by the church and its community.

Through his lens you catch glimpses of your own often conflicting identities. Through it all he weaves in time-tested, traditional Buddhist principles and practices that give listeners real tools for healing and evolution.

With grace and humility, he doesn’t claim to have answers, and merely poses questions and encourages conversation so that others may find their own truth.

Lama Rod delivers his knowledge in a way that says, I’m just like you, no better and no worse. He reminds you that he too is human and a work in progress. He asks audiences to call him out if he says anything that is perpetuating misogyny, racism or anything divisive. Lama Rod has done and continues to do his own work, every day, and it’s palpable.

Lama Rod also speaks and leads workshops across the country for organizations such as Summit and Dharma Ocean, check his latest schedule here. He also officiates wedding ceremonies. Contact him to learn more!

Links:

Lama Rod

Radical Dharma

Books:

Radical Dharma: Talking Race, Love & Liberation

Tags:

#35: Revisiting Yoga Philosophy with Jason Birch

This week I speak with Jason Birch, PhD about the history of yoga and yoga philosophy. Jason is a scholar of classical Indian religions and philosophies at the School of Oriental Studies (SOAS), University of London. He is a Sanskritist and a scholar of the yoga tradition. He is also a practitioner who does a great service in bridging the divide between scholars and practitioners.

Shownotes:

Coming soon.

Guest Bio:

After completing a first class honours degree in Sanskrit and Hindi at the University of Sydney under Dr Peter Oldmeadow, Jason was awarded a Clarendon scholarship to undertake a DPhil in Oriental Studies at Balliol College, University of Oxford, under the supervision of Prof. Alexis Sanderson, All Souls College. Jason was a student of Prof. Sanderson for six years. His dissertation (submitted 2013) focused on the earliest known Rājayoga text called the Amanaska and included a critical edition and annotated translation of this Sanskrit work along with a monographic introduction which examines the influence of earlier Śaiva tantric traditions on the Amanaska as well as the significance of the Amanaska in more recent yoga traditions.

In 2014 Jason was a research fellow at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies and a visiting associate professor at Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles. In 2015 he was invited to research the histories of yoga, āyurveda and rasaśāstra as a visiting post-doctoral fellow on a project called Ayuryog at the University of Vienna. He is currently a post-doctoral research fellow at SOAS University of London on the Haṭha Yoga Project, which has been funded for five years by the ERC. His area of research is the history of physical yoga on the eve of colonialism. He is editing and translating six texts on Haṭha and Rājayoga, which are outputs of the project, and supervising the work of two research assistants at the Ecole française d’ Extrême-Orient, Pondicherry.

At SOAS Jason has taught two courses for the MA in Traditions of Yoga and Meditation and a Sanskrit reading course for fourth-year undergraduates. He has given seminars on the history of yoga for MA programs at the Università Ca’ Foscari in Venice, Italy and Won Kwang University in Iksan, South Korea. He also collaborates with Jacqueline Hargreaves on The Luminescent.

Links:

Jason Birch’s SOAS page, including research interests

The Luminescent

Tags:
Hatha Yoga
Yoga Philosophy
Patanjali