I have a new website!

 Please click here to visit my new website: www.joshuamichaell.comthepath

Hi Everyone!

Please come visit joshuamichaell.com. In addition to starting a new blog there, you can contact me for in-person or virtual counseling sessions or to get information on my workshop & teaching schedule.



New 4 String Banjo

Jeff Menzies is a fantastic banjo builder and an all-around great guy. He just built me a super cool 4 string banjo made from local (to him) Jamaican Blue Mahoe wood. It should be arriving any day now. I’m super excited to get it under my fingers.



More information on Jeff and his wonderful instruments can be found at: jeffreymenzies.com

The Yoga Of Beautiful Living


Recently I was interviewed by the inimitable Lilou Mace as part of her series of conversations with transformational teachers. We talked about the Yoga of Beautiful Living — creating balance in a world slanted towards anxiety and the importance of hand-crafting an artisanal life. In a world were we are surrounded by much that is artificial, we are instinctively drawn to what is most real. The conversation also touched on things near and dear to my heart; tea, tattoos, Japan, Sanskrit, meditation, and releasing the folly of trying to be a better version of ourselves in order to accept the magnificent and unrepeatable self that already exists.

You can find the interview here. Enjoy!


Date Change for May 2013 Napa Workshop!

Details are the same…just the date has been moved to Saturday, May 18th 2013.

Sanskrit & Yoga Philosophy Afternoon Workshop in Napa! May 18th, 2013

YS 1-2Dear Friends,

The Sanskrit train keeps on rolling! I’ll be teaching an afternoon of Sanskrit and Yoga Philosophy at Ubuntu Yoga Studio in the beautiful Napa Valley on Saturday, May 18th, 2013 from 12:30pm – 6:30pm. Save the date and come on up!

We will look at essentials of Sanskrit sound, exploring the alphabet as a stepping-stone to be able to accurately pronounce yoga-related words, āsana names, mantra and verses from quintessential yogic texts. We will also explore key Yoga Sūtras which will help to unlock timeless truths of  yoga as a path of freedom, happiness & self-realization.

The workshop will be a lot of fun. It won’t be boring….I promise. NO experience of Sanskrit or chanting or Yoga Philosophy is needed. Less is more – just bring yourself!

For more information and to sign up for the workshop, please contact:

Ubuntu Yoga Studio: 1140 Main St  Napa, CA 94559 (707) 251-5656


Sanskrit Workshop In San Francisco! April 27th & 28th

I’ll be teaching a weekend workshop in San Francisco at the very wonderful Laughing Lotus Yoga School on April 27th & 28th. The class will be fun and light-hearted as we dive into the beautiful ocean of Sanskrit sounds and practical, timeless philosophy. Despite the title, no prior experience with Sanskrit or chanting is required…..really….trust me on that one! 🙂

Sanskrit Beyond The Basics –  April 27th & 28th, 2013

Laughing Lotus Yoga Center
3271 16th St  San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 355-1600

email: asklotussf@laughinglotus.com

Dates: Sat. April 27th & Sun. April 28th
Time: 1-6pm
Cost: $199 (20% off for Lotus Grads)

This 10 Hour Sanskrit and Yoga Sutra Intensive is for Yoga Teachers and enthusiasts wanting to deepen their knowledge and experience of Sanskrit as the language of Yoga through the highest of yogic texts , the Yoga Sutras. Since ancient times the practice of yoga has included the study, practice and chanting of yogic texts which are written in Sanskrit and is integral to the heart of yoga for deeper understanding and connection which is experienced through harmonizing and balancing of the mind through sound.

Josh will teach you how to approach the sacred language of Yoga as a practice that is fun, transformative, inspiring and liberating through an educational and experiential learning experience that will give you a deep connection to the beauty, power and energy of Sanskrit as a priceless tool to understand, uncover and feel the meaning of Yoga to experience, celebrate and share . This Intensive is an incredible opportunity to grow as a Yoga Teacher cultivating a more spiritual relationship and reverence in practice and teaching the High Art and Science of Yoga.

* The ABC’s of the Sanskrit Alphabet
* Intimacy with Location of Sound
* The Breath of Sanskrit
* Pronunciation Perfection
* Chanting the key Yoga Sutras
* Uncovering personal meaning in the Yoga Sutras
* Sharing the Joy of sound in classes

About Josh:
Josh Michaell teaches Sanskrit, Yoga Philosophy & Meditation through workshops and Teacher Trainings throughout the US and abroad. Practicing Ashtanga Yoga since 1993 and studying Sanskrit and Yoga Philosophy with Vyaas Houston since 1997 Josh is a licensed M.A., MFT, with a Transpersonal and Yoga Psychology-inspired counseling practice in San Francisco and Marin County, CA.

Creating The Conditions For Freedom

ImageYoga, as defined by Patanjali, is a sequential process where limiting and painful habituated thoughts, patterns and identifications are stopped; replaced by more freeing, holistic and liberating patterns. Yoga is a continual process of “selective elimination,” revealing more and more of the Self that abides beyond all phenomena. Whenever yoga “happens,” there is a “standing apart” (avastānam in Sanskrit) of the Self as the “seer,” standing apart from all that can be seen.

In the West, we have a tendency to….Westernize things; to make them fit into how we think they should be. With the demand of identity based on external parameters, yoga has become another thing to accomplish; a vehicle to become a “better” (thinner, more flexible, more groovy) version of oneself. Seen in this light (or lack of light), the true freedom of yoga remains obscured.

Even the idea “I do yoga” is one that can perpetuate misconception. The notion of “I” is not truly a constant, but often a shadowy external version of self based on the past; on memory, or on ephemeral moments woven together while trying to convince ourselves of their continuity.

The idea that we “do” yoga is also somewhat of a misnomer. Yoga is a state of being; a timeless moment of awareness. It exists whether we “do” anything or not. The realization of yoga most often occurs when we stop trying to “do” and allow ourselves to embrace the present fully, without the need or demand for anything else.

This is not to say that practices such as āsana and praṇāyama are not valuable, as they certainly are, but these practices are means that help to create the conditions by which the experience of the yogic state becomes more readily available. When I say “the yogic state,” what I mean is a state of awareness where the cessation of habituated, painful thoughts naturally occurs, as opposed to the automatic identification with these thoughts. In helping to change the framework from identification to release is where I believe the deepest value of practice can be found. Plus, it’s fun.

As I continue to practice and teach, I have come to feel that the idea of “creating conditions” can be a potent and beneficial way to reframe yoga practice. When yoga practices can be seen as rituals to honor the ever-present yogic state, rather than as the means to become an idealized “more yogic” self, we open ourselves to the experience of yoga that is beyond the limitations of our thoughts based on past experience.

When we focus our actions (daily practice, meditation, appropriate diet, etc.) as a means of creating conditions, we can more easily let go of the results of these actions because we are not demanding that they give us our identity. We can begin let go of the limited belief that the depth of our yogic experience has anything to do with the flexibility of our hamstrings.

By creating conditions that support yoga, we allow ourselves to be receptive to yoga, and avail ourselves of the peace, liberation and freedom that yoga has bestowed upon seekers throughout the ages..

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