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Ira Israel
Ira Israel is a Licensed Psychotherapist, a Licensed Professional Counselor, and a Certified Yoga Therapist. He has graduate degrees in Psychology, Philosophy, and Religious Studies and teaches mindfulness and yoga at the Esalen Institute and throughout the United States. For more information please visit
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Entries by Ira Israel

Would You Rather Be Happy and Poor or Unhappy and Wealthy?

(2) Comments | Posted July 24, 2015 | 10:14 AM

Growing up, I'd always assumed that having money would bring happiness and peace of mind. At thirty, I found that I'd achieved my dream of money and success but I was still anxious and frustrated, and despite being married, having two wonderful children, and being surrounded by friends and business...
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Samata, the First Yoga Therapy Center in Los Angeles, Celebrating 35 Years!

(0) Comments | Posted July 16, 2015 | 1:26 AM

The founder of Samata Yoga, Larry Payne, has partnered with Pandit Rajmani Tigunait, Ph.D. of the Himalayan Institute to celebrate the 35th anniversary of Samata International with a gift that keeps on giving.

Here's how Larry explains it:

Larry asked 50 of the finest yoga teachers and healers in the world to share their pearls of wisdom and this is what Reverend Michael Beckwith had to share:

Here is what Carin Gorrell from Yoga Journal had to share:

Here is one of the many pearls of wisdom that I learned from studying with Larry:

And here is what my colleague Seane Corn had to share:

To see all of the pearls of wisdom please visit Samata International's Youtube page and for more information on upcoming "Prime of Life" retreats and events please visit Samata...

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"Best of Enemies:" Film Review

(0) Comments | Posted July 13, 2015 | 11:07 AM


The medium is the message. ~ Marshall McLuhan

Sigmund Freud famously withheld publishing "The Interpretation of Dreams " from 1899 to 1900 because he was so arrogant and/or prescient that he believed his work would shape the entire next century of...

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What Is the Difference Between a Psychiatrist, a Psychologist, a Psychotherapist and a Counselor?

(7) Comments | Posted July 6, 2015 | 5:08 PM

When looking for someone to help you overcome whatever is holding you back from leading a productive life full of positive, loving relationships, it is beneficial to understand the differences between Psychiatrists (M.D.s), Psychologists (Ph.D.s &, Psy.D.s), and Licensed Psychotherapists (LCSWs, LMFTs, & LPCCs).

Psychiatrists are the only therapists who...

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What is Yoga Therapy?

(3) Comments | Posted July 6, 2015 | 2:40 PM

While millions of people around the world today use yoga as a form of physical exercise and countless others use it for spiritual liberation, the number of people using yoga as a therapy is perhaps its greatest area of growth.

Physicians are more frequently encouraging patients to try yoga...

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Jai Uttal: The King of Kirtan, Singing for the Last 50 Years As If His Life Depended on It

(0) Comments | Posted June 30, 2015 | 2:31 PM

Looking for work in order to be paid: in civilized countries today almost all men are at one in doing that. For all of them work is a means and not an end in itself. Hence they are not very refined in their choice of work, if only it pays...
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How to Make a Difference. Today.

(0) Comments | Posted June 29, 2015 | 2:11 PM

Last week I attended an awesome event called "The Shine" and was blown away by the community created by my old friend and fellow meditation teacher Light Watkins. For $25 there was a delicious communal meal from Beaming Cafes and then an inspirational variety...

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The New Film "PlantPure Nation" Examines Why We Spend Over $3.8 Trillion Dollars Annually in the United States on Healthcare

(3) Comments | Posted June 27, 2015 | 2:56 PM

I read "The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted And the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss, And Long-term Health" in 2007 and found its scientific conclusions staggering: if men want to avoid prostate cancer they should avoid eating meat and if women want...

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Big Thanks to GoPro's Customer Service Department!

(0) Comments | Posted June 18, 2015 | 9:41 PM

I bought a GoPro Hero 4 Silver in March so that I could shoot some meditation sequences for my new "A Beginner's Guide to Happiness" DVD on my April trip to Amsterdam and Paris - such as this clip I shot at the Palais Royal:

(I temporarily used Brian Eno's magnificent piece 2/1 from "Ambient 1 Music for Airports" as a scratch track to get the timing right on this clip)

Last week I was finishing up shooting some scenes for the DVD in Ojai and I started to get SD Card Error messages. I figured that I had formatted the 32g cards I had bought incorrectly so I just reformatted them a few ways from my computer. But still they wouldn't work. Same error message.

Monday I bought a new SD card and erased and reformatted it several different ways but still received the SD Card Error message so I figured I would call GoPro and see what they suggested. It took a minute to get someone on the line but Jaime quickly diagnosed the problem and within a few minutes offered to replace the camera free of charge. We exchanged emails while we continued to speak on the phone - I sent him a pdf file of the GoPro receipt from March and he sent me a repair order which I printed out and put into an envelope and brought to Federal Express after we hung up.

I received my new GoPro Hero 4 Silver video camera in the mail 4 days later.

That is the best customer service I have seen in many years. Jaime actually made me feel as if he cared about my DVD and making sure I had everything I needed as quickly as possible so that I could finish the project.

Huge thanks to Jaime and GoPro's Customer Service department! All of those companies that make you answer 20 questions by keypad, then keep you on hold for 20 minutes until you speak to a living human being, then give you a hassle instead of solving the problem could learn some great customer service lessons from you! Thanks for standing behind your product!

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You Are Your Own Worst Enemy and You Are Your Own Worst Enemy If You Think That You Are Your Own Worst Enemy

(0) Comments | Posted June 18, 2015 | 3:25 PM

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy. ~ Hamlet (1.5.167-8)
I have a marketing problem.

I teach conundrums, paradoxes.

I undercover discrepancies, hypocrisies.

I explore aberrations and mysteries of the human mind - phenomena beyond the ken of the...

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Kye's: The Future of Food

(0) Comments | Posted June 17, 2015 | 4:34 PM

Are you tired of falling into a food coma after eating?

I recently watched several documentaries on GMOs and all of the chemicals - pesticides, antibiotics, hormones - that are put into foods in America so when I saw Kye's "Super Foods" restaurant opening on...

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Why I Wear YOGASMOGA Clothing When I Teach Yoga

(0) Comments | Posted June 11, 2015 | 10:30 AM

"What do you think of Western Civilization?" asked a journalist in an apocryphal exchange with Gandhi. "I think it would be a good idea," Gandhi replied.

The United States of America was built on slavery and exploitation of workers and if the statistics in John Oliver's...

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Best Counselor in Los Angeles

(2) Comments | Posted June 9, 2015 | 9:02 AM

Who is the best counselor in Los Angeles?

Counseling is an interesting métier and there is an extremely wide range of counselors here in Los Angeles.

When looking for a counselor or psychotherapist you should know the differences between psychiatrists, psychologists, PsyDs, LCSWs, LMFTs, LPCCs, and...

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Who Is Your Favorite Yoga Teacher and Why?

(2) Comments | Posted May 30, 2015 | 5:49 PM

Hands down (ha ha), my favorite yoga teacher is Kia Miller. Kia Miller is my favorite because every class of hers inspires me to want to learn more. For me (besides safety), that is the most important characteristic of a great yoga teacher: that he or...

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John Oliver and Keinejad Jeans, Made in Los Angeles

(6) Comments | Posted May 26, 2015 | 1:54 PM

Everyone knows the old joke: "What's a surefire way to make money in Las Vegas?"
"Invest in the casinos!" Nonetheless, once a year for the past twenty years I meet my childhood friend Rob Lefko in Las Vegas for a weekend of high-powered meditation.

Rob meditates on...

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What You Need to Know to Start a Seated Meditation Practice

(0) Comments | Posted May 15, 2015 | 3:31 PM

Here's the section from my Best-Selling "A Beginner's Guide to Mindfulness Meditation" regarding creating the physical frame with your body.

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"Zig Zag Zen: Buddhism and Psychedelics" edited by Allan Badiner

(1) Comments | Posted May 15, 2015 | 10:05 AM

"Buddhism and psychedelics are together probably the best hope we have for an antidote to egotism and materialism, which are fatally destroying the planet." ~ Terrence McKenna

"While a sportsman will have his Olympic medals revoked for using drugs that enhance his performance, a musician would not be stripped of...

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How to Own Your Life

(4) Comments | Posted May 14, 2015 | 12:16 AM

Here's an interview I recently gave... on how to own your life and stop creating suffering.

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"Prodigal Father Wayward Son" by Sam and Gifford Keen: Book Review

(0) Comments | Posted May 6, 2015 | 9:25 PM

My psychotherapy practice is predominantly composed of grown men who are still trying in one way or another to live up to their fathers' implicit and explicit expectations of who they should have become, of that subtle chronic "not good-enough" feeling that lurks just beneath the surface of any child...

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The Unsparing Genius of Esther Perel: A Fresh Perspective on Healthy Loving Intimate Relationships

(3) Comments | Posted April 26, 2015 | 9:13 AM

If there is one person currently spearheading the movement towards conscious loving relationships it is Esther Perel.

For patients who wish to deconstruct the myth of romantic love I always recommend "Love in the Western World" by Denis de Rougemont and the subsequent "We:...

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