Are you hard on yourself when remembering past mistakes and hurts?


Do you have a strong inner critic who judges and doubts your thoughts, choices, and self-worth?


Do you compare yourself to others and feel disappointed with who you are versus who you “should” be?


Do you feel stuck repeating old, unhealthy patterns?


Do you experience feelings of shame and unworthiness, as if there is something fundamentally wrong with you?


Do you sometimes feel like you don’t even know who you are?


If you answered yes to any of the above questions, then this course is for you.


Course Summary

This course was designed with your needs in mind and contains all of the following:

10 video lessons, each 20-50 minutes in length

Downloadable Transcripts and MP3s

Selected readings from The Zen of You and Me by Diane Musho Hamilton

Practice Assignments 

The great paradox of the human psyche is that we suffer because we try to get away from suffering. When the teachings of Buddhism and yoga refer to suffering, they’re pointing not just to the intense pain we sometimes encounter, but to the thread of dissatisfaction that runs through every aspect of our lives and keeps us locked in a cycle of trying to get what we want and avoid what we don’t want. That more subtle and pervasive form of suffering leads to every variety of unhealthy human behavior: addiction, craving, aggression, escapism, laziness, and more.

What if we could break out of those patterns altogether by training our minds, hearts, and bodies to respond to our own and others’ suffering not from reactivity, but from wisdom? That is the very definition of freedom—and it’s available to you right now.

In this online course, the late Michael Stone—a well-loved and esteemed teacher of yoga, psychology, and Buddhism—illuminates insights from those three traditions to show us how our minds work. Michael centers his teachings around the five kleṣas of yoga philosophy: the reactive patterns in our minds and bodies that keep us trapped in a cycle of negative beliefs and behaviors. By unpacking the kleas and shining light on why we do what we do, Michael guides us in opening courageously to what’s around us and inside of us, expanding our ability to move beyond reactivity and habit and lead lives full of meaning.

COURSE CURRICULUM

Bonus #1

Recordings of Two Q&A Sessions with Pema Chödrön

Recordings of two Question & Answer sessions with Pema Chödrön from the interactive version of this online course.

Bonus #2

Shamatha Meditation Instructional Video with Hope Martin

A video instruction on the basic practice of shamatha, or calm abiding meditation. The instructor, Hope Martin, is an experienced meditation practitioner in the Shambhala tradition as well as a teacher of the Alexander Technique—a methodology for helping find greater ease in our bodies. 

Bonus #4

This Moment Is the Perfect Teacher

Ten Buddhist Teachings on Cultivating Inner Strength and Compassion  (Regular Price: $22.95)

Lojong is a powerful Tibetan Buddhist practice created especially for training the mind to work with the challenges of everyday living. It teaches our hearts to soften, reframes our attitude toward difficulty, and allows us to discover a wellspring of inner strength. In this four-hour recorded retreat, Pema Chödrön introduces the lojong teachings and explains how we can apply them to any situation in our life—because, as Pema says, “every moment is an opportunity for awakening.” In addition, Pema also leads a guided tonglen meditation, a practice aimed at developing courage and cultivating compassion for ourselves and others.

Lesson 1: Mindfulness Is Intimacy

Retail Price: $199

Special Discount Price: 

$150


Join the Course

Sign up today and experience the profound effect of these teachings on your own life!

Get Started Now!

YOU WILL RECEIVE

8 Hours of Video Lessons

Eight hours of video lessons  by Michael Stone—including Q&A, with transcripts and audio-only versions available

Downloadable Transcripts and Selected Readings

Downloadable transcripts of all video sessions

Selected readings from The Inner Tradition of Yoga, Awake in the World, and Yoga for a World out of Balance by Michael Stone.

Guided Meditations

Two guided meditations to help you bring body and mind together in the present moment

Downloadable Workbook

A PDF workbook outlining all the content in the course, with helpful notes and graphics for you to easily review the teachings

50% Discount on Books

50% discount on the following books by Michael: The Inner Tradition of Yoga, Awake in the World, and Yoga for a World Out of Balance

Unlimited Access

Unlimited access on your computer, mobile device, or tablet—learn at your own pace wherever and whenever works best for you

“Truly, this course was an embarrassment of riches. . . . I have taken other courses but this has truly been life-altering. The only way I could be more satisfied is if I knew there would be another course!  Thank you . . . thank you . . . thank you.”

Join the Course

Sign up today and experience the profound effect of these teachings on your own life!

Get Started Now

REGULAR PRICE:               $199

DISCOUNT:                             -$49

Special Price:      $150

YOU SAVE $49 (25%)

100% Satisfaction Guarantee

If for any reason you are not completely satisfied with your purchase, please e-mail us within 30 days of registering for the course, and we will promptly refund your purchase price.

The authentic practice of mindfulness is complete intimacy with present experience—whether with a baby on the hip, making breakfast, or feeling the breath on your meditation cushion. When we move through the world wrapped up in thought, there is no direct contact with reality, and we don’t know who or what we are. In this lesson, we’ll discuss how the more we clarify our perception, the more openness and compassion we can bring to the profound—and sometimes confusing—undertaking of being in the world.

Open Presence Instructional Video with Rebecca Eldridge

Bonus #3

A video instruction on open presence meditation, taught by Rebecca Eldridge. This practice helps you connect with reality as it is, without altering it. Rebecca is an experienced meditation practitioner in the Shambhala tradition.

THE ESSENCE OF YOGA

with Michael Stone

TESTIMONIALS FROM MICHAEL’S STUDENTS

“Michael presented interesting, relevant material in such a sincere and brilliant way. He has a gentle sense of humor balanced with depth and compassion.”

“I found Michael’s teaching clear and accessible. His presentation of the Four Noble Truths inspired a deeper understanding that has stayed with me.” 

“Michael’s ability to be incredibly clear with dharma and yogic teachings is a gift. He has a way of taking a huge topic and making the teachings piercingly precise but also will not hesitate to link them with the overall issues affecting our world today. He doesn’t separate the dharma from global issues like mental health or climate change; instead he relates teachings from the personal to the global and local body politic.”

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REGULAR PRICE:          $199

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A PATH TO FREEDOM FROM OUR HABITUAL PATTERNS

COURSE CURRICULUM

Lesson 1: Unity Consciousness and Awareness of Diversity

Our true home is our spiritual nature, a place of safety and ultimate equality. From this original source, we have so much in common. At the same time, our capacity to acknowledge our differences, to be willing to explore them, and to include diversity of opinions and styles within our relationships and communities is a sign of health and vitality. In this lesson, we’ll explore our own embodied experiences of sameness and difference.

Lesson 2: Sameness and Difference

Studies in human development reveal that our focus on our similarities or differences changes throughout the course of our lives. In other words, we are caught in the tension between the comfort of the status quo and the exciting encounter with difference. In this lesson, we’ll explore this contrast, which is a constant on the path toward greater awareness and growth.

Lesson 3: Mindfulness Practice: Engaging Safety and Excitement


The practice of mindfulness improves our concentration and enables us to be more open and mentally flexible. We learn to stay present to difficult emotions and feeling states, and over time, having cultivated nonjudgmental awareness, we can simply observe our interior landscape without incessant self-criticism. In this lesson, we’ll explore ways in which we can begin to develop this ability to approach situations in our life with openness and clarity.

Lesson 4: How the Ego Divides Us

We are groomed by evolution to focus on protecting ourselves whenever we sense a threat to our well-being. In our modern context, we may not be physically threatened. But in our highly social and emotionally complex world, threats to our ego or self-concept can feel every bit as perilous. Our strategies for self-protection range from avoidance to fighting to sarcastic humor to drug addiction. In this lesson, we’ll explore how we can cultivate greater openness and flexibility in the face of intense feelings of threat.

Lesson 5: Listening as a Unity Skill

Listening is the powerful, soothing agent of all communication. Listening is the best tool there is to lower anxiety, diminish division, and open into sameness, into togetherness. Listening will help almost anyone who is triggered to calm down. In this lesson, we’ll learn how to improve our listening skills.

Lesson 6: Expressing Our Uniqueness

If listening opens up the wide territory of sameness, expressing difference catalyzes conversations. Self-expression stimulates and energizes. Our differences distinguish us from everything else, giving shape to our uniqueness and setting us apart. In this lesson, we’ll learn ways we can become more skilled at honest, open verbal expression and sharing our unique perspective.

Lesson 7: Feelings as a Form of Diversity

Every emotion is a state of consciousness, an experience composed of thought, mood, and bodily sensations. We refer to them as “states” because they come and go. They are not permanent, but rather pass through the body and awareness like a blustery storm in winter or a light breeze on a spring day. The problem with our emotions is that we often don’t relate to them as states. We hold onto them if they feel good, or we chase them away if they feel painful. In this lesson, we’ll learn some tools for both harnessing the intelligence of our emotions and releasing them when they no longer serve us.

Lesson 8: Becoming Wholehearted

Compassion is a natural outcome of waking up. As our awareness opens to include more, our heart naturally expands. We feel deeply for the challenges and suffering of others—those who are like us and those who are different than we are. In this lesson, we’ll learn how we can be present to the suffering of others without undue stress or anxiety coursing through our system.

Lesson 9: You and Me, Us and Them

Our desire to understand different perspectives, to listen, to question, and to doubt ourselves varies at different levels of adult development. As our ability to take perspectives changes, our view of the world changes, and so does our way of communicating about it. Using an adult developmental framework to look at differences can show us real possibilities, and also limits, in relationships. In this lesson, we’ll learn about this framework and consider how it affects the way we interact with others.

Lesson 10: Endless Practice

Meditation takes practice. Relationships take practice. Whenever we are consciously aware of whatever we are doing right now, we are practicing. When we lose here-and-now awareness, we are practicing getting lost and then regrouping. But as the old adages say, you cannot get off the path. In this final lesson, we’ll contemplate what our path of practice is as we conclude the course.

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“Life Happens Now”

LEARN HOW TO

Recognize Patterns

Recognize the triggers that activate your mind, body, and nervous system 

The great paradox of the human psyche is that we suffer because we try to get away from suffering. When the teachings of Buddhism and yoga refer to suffering, they’re pointing not just to the intense pain we sometimes encounter, but to the thread of dissatisfaction that runs through every aspect of our lives and keeps us locked in a cycle of trying to get what we want and avoid what we don’t want. That more subtle and pervasive form of suffering leads to every variety of unhealthy human behavior: addiction, craving, aggression, escapism, laziness, and more.

What if we could break out of those patterns altogether by training our minds, hearts, and bodies to respond to our own and others’ suffering not from reactivity, but from wisdom? That is the very definition of freedom—and it’s available to you right now.

ABOUT THIS COURSE

“We begin practicing yoga postures in an effort to relieve suffering and find a way to meet life with less effort and more flexibility. Yoga is a path out of suffering. But what we find after our initial foray or honeymoon period is a matrix of psychological and physical holding patterns that have captured our minds and bodies within tightly conditioned parameters.” 

Michael Stone

Gain Perspective 

Discover a new way to think about challenging mental states and emotions, and create space around harmful stories and beliefs

Cultivate Courage

Cultivate courage and insight by learning to stay with intense feelings instead of reacting to them 

Reduce Suffering

Break the cycle of habitual thoughts and behaviors that cause suffering to yourself and others

Act Intelligently

Find healthier ways to respond to life’s challenges instead of repeating the same destructive patterns

Find Meaning

Understand the psychological mechanisms that sap your life of meaning and vitality so you can live more purposefully 

Be the Good

Learn how we can collectively change the world by responding actively rather than reactively

ABOUT THE TEACHER

On July 16, 2017, Michael Stone—an internationally-recognized Buddhist teacher, author, host of the Awake in the World podcast, and mental health advocate—died, having succumbed to bipolar disorder. Michael believed in depth without dogma. He was interested in an ethics-based spirituality that was sophisticated and accessible for contemporary, urban people. People who studied with him all shared his desire to actively respond to personal, environmental, and economic challenges.

He channeled his challenges and the insights gleaned from his experience into tools that he could share with others. It was in experiencing these challenges that Michael became so effective as a teacher and communicator.  Michael’s life was interrupted, but the teachings need not be. We activate our connection with Michael through practice; that is the lineage. This is the way we continue together. In this way, the teachings survive the teacher. 

Michael had a Master of Arts in psychology from Vermont College where he studied with James Hillman. He also trained in the practice of Insight Meditation and was authorized to teach in the Vipassana lineage. He studied yoga postures and breathing with Richard Freeman. Because of his diverse training, Michael was able to reframe and synthesize mindfulness traditions from the East with Western psychology. In just 42 years, Michael did a lifetime of work including podcasts, several online courses, and numerous books. 

Watch

Talk One: Mindfulness is Intimacy

Read

The Inner Tradition of Yoga, Chapter 1

Awake in the World, Chapter 1

Awake in the World Chapter 3

Awake in the World, Chapter 5

Practice & Explore

Lesson One: Home Practice

Lesson One: Contemplations

Lesson 2: Defining Consciousness

The concept of “me” is a holdover from the past. While it’s true that there is a self-referential mechanism in the mind, what is untrue is its permanence and substantiality. At the heart of the world, in the center of our conception of our personality, at the base of our worldviews and preferences, we find a reality not bound by our stories and ideas. We find, instead, a reality that is boundless and centerless. In this lesson, we’ll look at different paradigms of consciousness and begin to unravel the idea that we inherently exist.

Read

The Inner Tradition of Yoga, Chapter 19

Lesson Two Diagram

Awake in the World, Chapter 6

Practice & Explore

Lesson Two: Home Practice

Lesson Two: Contemplations

Watch

Talk Two: Defining Consciousness

Lesson 3: Full-Contact Meditation

Right here and right now is where everything important is happening. This is where we place our attention. The breath and the body are always present, so we breathe our circumstances. Then we develop the skills necessary to deal with difficulty rather than reinforcing patterns of attachment or aversion. This helps us use the mind efficiently—to see something clearly, to feel what is there to be felt and allow it to pass on. In this lesson, we’ll explore how coming into contact with the fullness of our experience leads to wisdom.

Read

The Inner Tradition of Yoga, Chapter 8

Awake in the World Chapter 13

Awake in the World, Chapter 8

Lesson Three Diagram

Practice & Explore

Lesson Three: Home Practice

Lesson Three: Contemplations

Midpoint Survey

Watch

Talk Three: Full-Contact Meditation

Lesson 4: Becoming Disentangled

Samsara is a metaphor for meaninglessness. It refers to the endless cycle of birth, death, and rebirth of our sense of self. How we meet each moment of experience, whether in stillness or in reactivity, sets up the pattern for the next consecutive moment. How do we cultivate our ability to skillfully meet each moment with open and undivided attention? In this lesson, we’ll look at how we got where we are and how we can change where we’re going.

Read

The Inner Tradition of Yoga, Chapter 8

Lesson Four Diagram

Awake in the World, Chapter 11

Yoga for a World out of Balance, Chapter 3

Yoga for a World out of Balance, Chapter 4

Practice & Explore

Lesson Four: Home Practice

Lesson Four: Contemplations

Watch

Talk Four: Becoming Disentangled

Lesson 5: Turning toward Pain

When we continually run away from our experience, we plant seeds of repetition: the next time the same experience occurs, we will meet it with the conditioned response we have constructed and reinforced in mind, body, and nervous system. But if we could allow ourselves to feel the pain of a difficult experience when it arises and ride it out to its dissolution, we would eventually become so familiar with the patterns underlying its occurrence that we would be able to get under it before it takes over. In this lesson, we’ll glimpse the freedom that arises when we develop the ability to turn toward suffering.

Read

The Inner Tradition of Yoga, Chapter 4

The Inner Tradition of Yoga, Chapter 9

Practice & Explore

Lesson Five: Home Practice

Lesson Five: Contemplations

Watch

Talk Five: Turning toward Pain

Lesson 6: The Path Emerges in Each Moment

Enlightenment is becoming who we really are, free to take action. Through taking wholesome action and understanding the habits that inform unwholesome action we decondition the heart into such a natural state of openness that we see no existence in the universe as separate from this very self. In this lesson, we’ll take a look at how our own path of liberation could unfold into broader social change.

Read

The Inner Tradition of Yoga, Chapter 3

Awake in the World, Chapter 15

Awake in the World, Chapter 10

Practice & Explore

Lesson Six: Home Practice

Lesson Six: Contemplations

Watch

Talk Six: The Path Emerges in Each Moment

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“How Unhealthy Habits Develop”

Retail Price: $199

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LETTER FROM CARINA STONE

Dear Prospective Student,

Thank you for your interest in this course. I am honored to represent and encourage Michael’s work living on in the world, and I am saddened, too. It has been half a year now since he left and it feels both that long, and longer, and no time at all. A baby has been born, there is snow on the ground, and yet a part of me is still gardening with him.

Shortly after Michael passed away last July I received a card from my teacher Norman Fischer. He wrote many kind things and ended by saying that Michael’s death is a great loss to the future. I’ve pondered this since.

How does his work continue? Michael has a contemporary and engaged way of transmitting the dharma that is both necessary and precious. We all live with patterns that limit us. He did too. And yet nobody could do or say what he could translate from his experience and study in the same way. He lived with bipolar disorder, a gift and a curse. This sensitive neurological wiring made him attuned with and vulnerable to life’s greatest joys and troubles. He wrote and taught from this kind of experience, truly from the frontlines of the mind.

When Michael teaches about the kleṣas, he has navigated them in detail. He learned them through practice and study and from living them. He has not transcended these practices and he does not pretend to. These practices—yoga, psychology and Buddhism—are his life rafts in the most real sense. They helped him, and they can help you. They won’t make you immune to suffering, but they will take you deeper into your life.

I want to encourage you to learn from him, to let his living heart into your living heart through this course. He may not be with us in time, but he leaves so much that can continue through you. Perhaps in that way he is not lost to the future.

Thank you for your practice.

Carina Stone     

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