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Ira Israel
Ira Israel is a Licensed Counselor, a Licensed Psychotherapist, 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
More from Ira Israel on Le HuffPost

Entries by Ira Israel

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

(2) 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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Donna De Lory's Awesome New Conscious Devotional World Dance Groove Yoga Music

(1) Comments | Posted April 6, 2015 | 6:53 PM

Genres do not resonate with me. Nor do labels.

As I have previously stated, there is no such thing as Buddhism: there are people who follow the Dharma and there are people who do not; similarly, at no time in Christ's abbreviated life did he ever suggest that...

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"The Fourth Noble Truth": An Intelligent Film About Mindfulness

(1) Comments | Posted April 5, 2015 | 2:31 AM

One day I was standing in the back of a packed elevator in the Brill Building in New York City and as the doors were about to close the actor Bill Murray jumped in. While recuperating from a near-fatal car accident in 1985 I had stumbled upon his film "The...

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"Of Men and War" Film Review

(2) Comments | Posted April 3, 2015 | 1:37 PM


The above photo was taken on August 22nd 2010 at Domaine Chandon in Yountville, California. I was celebrating my 44th birthday with some champagne, a lovely meal of local fresh vegetables and cheese, the New York Times, and pleasant conversation with my girlfriend.

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How I Learned That "Life Is Not a Problem to Be Solved But a Mystery to Be Lived" Over Dinner at Esalen Institute

(0) Comments | Posted March 26, 2015 | 1:17 AM

I'm not aware of too many things I know what I know, if you know what I mean Philosophy is the talk on a cereal box Religion is the smile on a dog

I'm not aware of too many things
I know what I know, if you know...

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10 Thoughts You Will Have When You Try Mindfulness Meditation

(1) Comments | Posted March 17, 2015 | 5:05 PM

10. I won't be able to meditate because I think too much. This is going to be useless.

9. I wonder who is calling/texting/emailing me now that my phone has been off for eight seconds?

8. I think my leg is falling asleep. I should move it but then...

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Life, the Photo-Op

(0) Comments | Posted March 13, 2015 | 4:40 PM

Recently, photography has become almost as widely practiced an amusement as sex and dancing - which means that, like every mass art form, photography is not practiced by most people as art. It is mainly a social rite, a defense against anxiety, and a tool of power.

~ Susan Sontag, "On...

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The ABCs of Mindful Living: Authenticity, Balance & Compassion

(0) Comments | Posted March 5, 2015 | 10:14 AM

It is so heartwarming to witness the proliferation of mindful living! 2015-03-03-1425414211-5923442-_WithTimRyan.JPG
Last Sunday on the cover of the New York Times Business Section, David Gelles the author of "Mindful Work" extolled Aetna's CEO Mark Bertolini for embracing...

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Don't Miss The Extraordinary New Movie "An Honest Liar: Truth and Deception in the Life of James 'The Amazing' Randi"!

(0) Comments | Posted February 23, 2015 | 8:20 AM

This is what it means to be an honest liar: it's the difference between using deception to conceal the truth and using deception to reveal the truth. ~ Jamy Ian Swiss

On the first morning of my Esalen mindfulness retreats, in order to demonstrate the inaccuracy of...

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Mindful Speech (or What You Can Learn About Buddhism from the Mafia)

(0) Comments | Posted February 15, 2015 | 9:47 PM

In Los Angeles there is a certain elasticity to the concept known elsewhere as "truth." Ever since the Gold Rush people show up late to most meetings, shrug their shoulders in ersatz disbelief, and say, "Traffic."

"Traffic, can you believe it??? I mean, who woulda thunk... in a city of...

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Why Your Next Retreat Should Be at the Esalen Institute

(2) Comments | Posted February 8, 2015 | 9:17 PM

You could read the Esalen catalog forwards and backwards one hundred times and still only get the faintest glimpse of the magic that occurs there.

Imagine a place where people can shed all of the pretenses of the everyday hustle and peacefully rejuvenate.

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Mindful Money

(1) Comments | Posted January 20, 2015 | 2:46 PM

"A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do." ~ Bob Dylan

At various times during my life I've been relatively wealthy and relatively impoverished and neither one has particularly...

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How Tony Robbins' "Money: Master The Game" Represents Exactly What Is Destroying America

(112) Comments | Posted December 24, 2014 | 7:48 AM

On page 27 of the best-selling book "Money: Master the Game," Tony Robbins writes that "As I was writing this book, Congress slashed $8.7 billion from the food stamp budget. I witnessed firsthand the devastating impact this had on the volunteers and nonprofit organizations that work in the fight against...

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A Triumph of the Spirit, a Triumph of the Will: Don't Miss "Monk With A Camera: The Life and Journey of Nicholas Vreeland"

(0) Comments | Posted December 13, 2014 | 4:34 PM


"Monk With A Camera" chronicles Nicholas Vreeland's astonishing journey from privileged playboy to revered monk to acclaimed artist and philanthropist.

Nicholas Vreeland's grandmother was the legendary Vogue editor, Diana Vreeland, who procured Nicky...

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Reese Witherspoon, From Legally Blonde to Visionary, Genius Producer

(0) Comments | Posted December 8, 2014 | 1:06 PM

On this perfect day when everything is ripening and not only the grapes are becoming brown, a ray of sunshine has fallen on my life: I looked behind me, I looked before me, never have I seen so many and such good things together.  Not in vain have I buried my...
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Does Social Media Foment Narcissistic Personality Disorder?

(2) Comments | Posted December 4, 2014 | 11:12 AM

What happened to truth in advertising?

Imagine if a law were enacted that declared that people could only call themselves on the Internet by the same monikers inscribed in the "Occupation" boxes of their tax returns. How many of the 80,000 Huffington Post bloggers would write the following...

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