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September 8, 2017

A Letter to Donald from his Yoga Teacher.

Amid concerns about Donald Trump’s behavior and fitness to be president, his yoga teacher, who is privately guiding Mr. Trump and chooses to remain anonymous, has written him a letter.

Leaked by transcendent sources to this reporter on Thursday, the letter reveals that Mr. Trump is having a hard time with a few yoga basics.

Breathe in. Breathe out. It’s pretty simple. I notice you forget and hold your breath, which smothers the heart and brain. Then, because you’re feeling strangled, you tie yourself up in knots, and explode in anger. It’s an interesting practice. But that’s not yoga.

Yoga is to breathe in, counting to six slowly, and breathe out, counting to six slowly. Stay with the counting, Donald. It will take your mind off your real troubles and soothe the imaginary ones. And no, you can’t imagine you are counting money. You are counting your blessings. The blessing of another breath. The blessing of another chance. The blessing of having a strong, solid, clean Earth to stand on.

Many people want you to succeed in becoming the best person you can be. But you seem to be trying to hurt them. Who are you trying to please? What crocodiles are chasing you? Turn around and look at them, identify them, for you are appeasing something or someone that is not good for you.

Don’t you want to do what is good for you, and for your children and grandchildren?

Stay focused on the breath while you’re reading this and let it calm the mind and relax the body. Listen with your heart. Keep breathing deeply. I know, it can be a challenge, especially when you’ve been programmed to suffocate, dominate, and violate. Yoga can help change that. It begins with ahimsa, non-harming, and satya, non-lying.

I understand you may feel harmed when pundits, politicians, and psychiatrists are calling for you to undergo psychiatric evaluation. You think it’s okay to attack anyone who you feel attacked by. But here’s another way: be curious.

Let yourself change. Life is change and growth. Feel the movement of the body to stay grounded in the now. Stay centered in your heart and relax your brain and face. Start there. Find your self-mastery by choosing contentment, and then you won’t be so quick to try to enslave everyone so you can play the master. Real mastery is an inside job. It doesn’t need victims or slaves. It needs your concentration on what’s real.

Remember three things to separate the real from the unreal and navigate through this tough period. One, we are connected. Two, we are the work. And three, give no one cause to fear you. Let’s break it down.

First, we are connected. I am just like you. It may not look like it from the outside, but inside, 70 trillion human cells run through every human body, interconnected by prana, the life energy that also weaves you and me and every other life form in a dance of unity.

At this level, there is only us. Because I can sit in lotus pose with a gentle smile and meditate through difficulty, you may believe that I am different from you—always pure, never aggravated, with humanity perfected. If only that were so!

But nothing could be further from the truth. I am just like you, someone who came to yoga to relieve pain and calm stress, to improve myself and the world in the best ways I could. The fact is, all that separates me from you is simply time. My yoga journey started earlier, and my love for it grew deep enough to inspire me to teach. We can choose.

Yes, I am flexible and I understand the sutras and anatomy, but I am also human: I can disappoint myself and friends; I overeat and curse on occasion; I am fallible, imperfectly perfect. Like you, I have a physical body and subtle aura that can be orchestrated by conscious breathing into a symphony of magnificent aliveness, a lake of inner beauty, or I can turn myself into a cesspool of toxic thoughts and unskillful actions.

When you demean someone, Donald, you are actually demeaning yourself, for we are all made of the same light. As the Mayans say, In Lak’ech—I am another you. When you lash out at people of different colors, shapes, and beliefs, you are not just hurting them, you hurt us all.

You must retrain the habit, and you can. When you feel the urge to lash out, stop, go inside, and dive into your inner lake to refresh yourself instead. You will never receive enough pleasure or validation from acting out and following your temporary urges in the material world to make it worthwhile. The only way you will ever feel content is to remember who you are and what you came to Earth to do.

Yoga means union, the union with our eternal source, which means union with each other. It’s true. So, please see me as another you. See the poor, the downtrodden, the children, all races, cultures, and places, as aspects of the one, of us. We’re all in this together.

Which leads me to say “thank you” for offering yourself as America’s shadow. That dark place where most of us repress what we don’t like about ourselves—our hatreds and jealousies, our greedy and self-serving animal urges—you have revealed in full color. We can see our own shadow reflected in the magnitude of your blocked root chakra, your misplaced hate and confusion.

Do not fear. Donald, you are primed for transformation! And we know how to go about it. We practice yoga to physically clean ourselves of the debris—toxic foods, thoughts, energies, and deeds—that keep us from our pure consciousness, as well as the practice of unity and bliss. As evolving beings, we can learn compassion for those who suffer and encourage those who are not well. We admire those who do good, and we forgive those who falter. We stand tall as a vertical beam of light radiating love in alignment with other waves of love. Together, we rise above the lower chakras to fulfill our potential in the higher frequencies of humility, harmony, discipline, and reverence.

The five yamas, the guiding principles of yoga, will help you develop self-control. Through them, we nurture our relationships and learn to see the best in each other. We practice non-harming, ahimsa, and truth, satya, as well as non-stealing, or asteya; moderation, or brahmacarya; and non-grasping, or aparigraha.

Ahimsa (non-violence) comes first because we must overcome our brutal nature before we can aspire higher. The five niyamas, or lifestyle recommendations, come next: purity, contentment, and self-knowledge (saucha, santosa, and svadyaya), as well as tapas, raising of the inner heat, and Isvara Svadhyaya pranidhana, surrender to the divine nature.

Believe me, Donald, you can bring down the fires of heaven and burn away karma without hurting, blaming, or diminishing anyone. In fact, you could be the perfect yoga student, but what you have been envisioning is unwise. Yet you are exactly the kind of person Patanjali must have had in mind when he first compiled the collective wisdom, the Yoga Sutras, around 400 C.E. 

Not much has changed. If people weren’t hurting other people, animals, and the natural world back then, Patanjali wouldn’t have needed to establish the first ethical principle as non-harming. If people weren’t lying, then non-lying would not have been encouraged.

He would have just said, be kind and honest. But Patanjali wanted to name the bitter seeds, the karmic scars that only get deeper if we don’t root them out. When we face the situation head-on and demand accountability, we can see what’s wrong and make it right. If we play like an ostrich and put our heads in the sand, we ostracize the truth; by ignoring the discomfort we feel in the face of mistreatment and lies, we ostracize ourselves and alienate others.

But you, Donald, by accepting the dark shadow of our most loathsome projections, our deep self-destructive, bigoted, and vile tendencies, have helped us see light by showing us the darkness. People have been known to stray, to deviate, to manipulate, and to prevaricate. Straying from the moral high ground is part of the human condition—and it gives us motivation to learn. It’s the fuel for illumination. When we learn that the consequence of unskillful thinking and bad behavior is suffering, choosing more wisely comes, and how wonderful is it that we can nurture those wisdom seeds with yoga!

Carefully watch your mind, your thoughts, feelings, speech, and conduct as you breathe mindfully. Apply the yamas and niyamas, and then, moment by moment, you will grow in the practice of yoga.

Secondly, Donald, remember this: we are the work. That doesn’t mean to continually make yourself the center of attention. It means that selfishness clouds understanding, and if a person has even a tinge of selfishness, he cannot detect what is right and wrong. A pure, subtle, sharp intellect guided by an awakened “Oversoulis needed for this purpose. Being self-respectful, self-aware, self-expressive, and self-loving are all powerful ways to evolve, but selfishness is based on the greed of an inner dictator, the bully, or the personality ego.

Working to contribute to the well-being of others is a supreme virtue, especially in your position as president. You have been given the reins of power to direct the U.S. Departments of Education, Energy, State, Commerce, Labor, Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). You could right now, this very minute, go to work rebuilding our infrastructure and creating jobs, while dropping all the tweets and snide remarks, and you could start to redeem yourself. Let the yoga practice work on you. Stop hurting yourself with meanness. Let the mindful breath, ahimsa, and satya work for you.

Third, give no one cause to fear you. One of my mentors, the neuroscientist Rick Hanson, says the human brain evolved with extreme sensitivity to both real and unreal threats—even the tiniest ones. He writes, “Unfortunately, while this strategy worked great for survival, one of the results is that we are very vulnerable to feeling needlessly cautious, distant, uneasy, worried, guarded, tense, and anxious around each other.”

I’ll be very frank: you are stressing everyone out with your aggressive attitude and extreme gluttony, which I realize is satisfying and feeding this imaginary crocodile that seems to be chasing you. Of course, we need to track real threats and respond appropriately. And it’s powerful to have a healthy and colorful inner life, one that may, in fact, include power animals and secret gardens. But expending mental resources plus stress hormones on hateful comments, false alarms, and self-serving diversions is frittering away your potential to make a positive mark in the world.

Making progress on real issues like healthcare and world peace is impossible if we avoid vulnerability and get caught in cycles of pointless conflict.

I’m going to suggest you start today with this motto: give no one cause to fear you. Think of it as enlightened self-interest, where what you give to others, gives back to you tenfold.

Yoga is about building up a core of calm, clear strength inside yourself so you can be strong and powerful enough to serve others. So you can actually give, by first giving no one cause to fear you.

Sharing yoga with you, Donald, might well be described as an uphill battle. Thus, here’s another positive result of your yoga practice! I’ve discovered a new posture. We’re calling it Sisyphus-asana.

Sisyphyus, you may remember, was the Greek who pushed the same huge boulder up the mountain each day only to watch it roll down the hill every night. The new pose is the structure he builds to keep the sacred stone in place—to keep the goal in mind, the divine remembrance of who we are, where we’re going, and why we’re here.

For this to be, Donald, we must become non-violent. We must develop cosmic love. Only then are we really fit for the practice of yoga. Knowing right from wrong is a learning process, but with this knowledge, we can transform our human nature into divine nature.

Generate the currents of love by reminding yourself that everything is divine. You will fail one hundred or more times, but that doesn’t matter. Stand up again and again. Renew your commitment. Stick to your resolve and march on with steadiness and grace. Never despair. Keep your mental picture of healthy living before you, in the mind’s eye. Study the lives of those who have practiced non-violence: the Buddha, Jesus Christ, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr. Find inspiration from their challenges.”

The anonymous yoga teacher ended her letter to the beleaguered president with one final tip: “In short, don’t tighten up. Instead, lighten up. Remember what Seneca said, ‘No one becomes a laughingstock who laughs at himself.’ Keep an open heart and let it be light. You, Donald, can become a yogi, a kind hero, a superpower in your own right. Keep practicing! Namaste! Your Yoga Teacher.”

This one small, enormous world is imbued with potential. We can only hope that his yoga teacher’s letter helps to break through and awaken Mr. Trump’s potential, thus relieving him of his suffering.

“It is never too late to do right,” wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson. Any fool can criticize and complain, and many will find that path appealing. Let’s hope that Mr. Trump chooses a different way and follows the yogic path, the path of love. It’s easy. He can simply relax into the two-step program: Breathe in love, breathe out peace. And so it is!
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Author: Marya Mann
Image: elephant journal Instagram
Editor: Travis May
Copy Editor: Nicole Cameron
Social Editor: Yoli Ramazzina

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