A Message from Mira

Hello! My name is Mira Elissa Jacobs, and I am the current Kitchen Manager (“Mom”) at the Integral Yoga Institute, where I have lived and served for the past year. Before living in San Francisco, I was a cook and manager in the kitchen at Satchidananda Ashram- Yogaville in Virginia. Nourishing the community and guests at Yogaville and now the SF Institute family is an integral part of my spiritual practice and journey, and it is my pleasure to share with you some things I have learned along the way. Watch here on Swami Ramananda’s blog for recipes, general cooking and food tips, and resources related to yoga, eating and health. 

 For now, enjoy this recipe below for Kichadi, from the IYI cookbook:

 Kichadis are simple stews of rice and dal with Indian spices and vegetables. Their many variations are at the core of a Yogic or Ayurvedic diet due to their many healing properties and the ease of digestion and assimilation. And, yum.

Ingredients (serves 8)

3 Tbs coconut oil

1 cup mung dal or lentils (soaked several  hours)

1 cup basmati rice (rinsed)

6 cups water

1 cup of vegetables

1 ½ – 2 tsp ground coriander

1 ½ – 2 tsp cumin seed

¾ tsp coriander seed

1 ½ – 2 tsp turmeric

2 tsp mustard seed

1 tsp fresh minced ginger

optional: 1/8 tsp garam masala

Heat oil in large pot on medium heat.  Add seeds, stirring occasionally until they pop. Stir in remaining spices. Let simmer about 30 seconds (careful not to let the spices burn).  Add lentils,  rice and vegetables. Stir about 3 minutes.  Add up to 6 cups of water (covering kichadi by about 2 inches) let come to a boil, and then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook about 45 minutes, until tender.

Om Shanti,


2016-10-15T01:46:01+00:00 April 30th, 2014|Comments Off on A Message from Mira

An original poem entitled “the illusion of normal”

the illusion of normal

here again–
the daily miracle
right before the eyes

the immense sphere of earth turns
revealing sun and moon,
the clouds parade while
sea waves infinite offerings
on countless shores

every cell breathes in endless ebb and flow,
every leaf and stem
an art,
a world itself

under what ancient spell,
some veil descent,
we look as if it’s all the same
the illusion of normal reigns

with all our quicksand plans
and if-only dreams,
what do we really see?
what if the world was witness–
looked at the mind and laughed
at petty charms and anxious faces,
lines of longing etched into stony hearts
weighing on the soul

by what gravity do we not fly
to see a mountain lake,
wake with wonder
when a sacred guiding star rises
from the inner sky,
an ocean of unspoken sound
names the secret
passage home

Swami Ramananda Signature

2016-10-15T01:46:01+00:00 April 29th, 2014|Comments Off on An original poem entitled “the illusion of normal”

Karma Yoga

Karma Yoga


The residents of the Institute recently picked Karma Yoga, selfless service, as the teaching to practice during the month of April.  Selfless service can conjure many images but may not be very clear to us, so I wanted to explore the roots of this form of Yoga practice.

Karma means action and reaction.  Thus, one way to understand Karma Yoga is action that is done with body, mind and spirit in a harmonious union.  Ask yourself, ” What would my actions look like if the spiritual aspect of my being were equally active with the body and mind?”

Imagine actions rooted in or guided by the qualities we associate with the spiritual Self – peace, compassion, joy, and a sense of oneness with all of life.  Masters of all spiritual traditions teach us that we are all one, so we can practice allowing our behavior to be guided by a concern for the well-being of everyone, not just for ourselves. 

Karma Yoga is also defined as perfection in action.  This means to me that it is done with a focused mind, a caring heart and no concern for personal gain. 

Karma Yoga deepens in a few ways.  First of all, it grows as we grow less dependent on the results of our efforts, which frees us from the tension and expectation that can dominate our experience.  Karma Yoga also deepens when we live in an environment that supports spiritual values—that reaffirms to us that happiness is not something to be acquired or achieved.

Perhaps the most powerful way this practice develops is from our own experience—the joy we derive from giving ourselves whole-heartedly in service to someone or some higher purpose.  Many people who work in service of others find tremendous fulfillment in the act of serving, giving, or even praying for others.

Personally, I can think of nothing more enjoyable or gratifying than teaching Yoga, and helping others experience a sense of their own true nature.  Many Yoga teachers I know tell me that they love to teach because of how much it serves them to be fully present in such a loving way.

While we may not always be able to practice the headstand or self-inquiry meditation, there are endless opportunities to do things with mindfulness and care.  Sri Swami Satchidananda taught us that everything we do can be Karma Yoga–even our eating and sleeping–if we do it with the attitude of keeping ourselves in good condition to be useful in the world.

We can all easily incorporate this Yoga into our lives simply by approaching our daily activities with this attitude of service.  As our hearts and minds become naturally inclined to act as instruments of a Divine Will, we will find such profound happiness that we will look for opportunities instead of feeling burdened by them. 

Swami Ramananda Signature


2016-10-15T01:46:05+00:00 April 24th, 2014|Comments Off on Karma Yoga