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from the publisher

Nicholas (aka MC Yogi) and Amanda Giacomini are a wonderful young yoga couple whom I interviewed together. They met on the second day of the new millennium (January 2, 2000) having been introduced by their mutual yoga teacher (the late Larry Schultz). They became good friends quickly but waited to become lovers as Amanda (an East Coast transplant who’d come to Berkeley to study fine arts) was married. Becoming friends first has kept them together nearly 20 years, going strong as partners and collaborators.

Nick’s is a compelling yoga turnaround story. A fourth-generation West Marin boy raised on Catholicism, his life went to hell after his father came out of the closet, precipitating a painful divorce. Between drugs and depression he was often arrested and kicked out of every school he attended, landing him at the Hanna Boys Center in Sonoma. His only solace was sleep, music, and art—until he discovered yoga. Now he’s a quadruple asset at yoga festivals, where he headlines as a performer, emcee, and instructor, while also painting in collaboration with Amanda, the creator of the prestigious 10,000 Buddhas Project.

After a number of near-fatal car accidents and having been written off as a lost boy, Nick’s inherent luck and guardian angels prevailed to the point that he was invited to teach multiple times at the Obama White House. So far no invitations from the current White House! I encourage you to read their uplifting interview.

Deepak Chopra has contributed a spiritual memoir entitled Making God Necessary. We rarely publish such a lengthy piece but think you’ll agree that the quality of the message—and the prose—justifies it.

Brianna Blasko is a San Francisco native who moved years ago to New Delhi, where she has mastered the discreet art of photographing yogis and saints in their intimate contexts. Despite India’s unmistakable clamor, Brianna manages to capture its sweet subtleties and profound silences. Her book is Within Without: The Path of the Yogi.

We want to thank Jasper Johal for another of his brilliant cover images—this time including the yogini’s (MacKenzie’s) baby. The cover segues to Emilie Rohrbach’s story describing a fascinating yoga trend of Wee Yoga, yoga for children between the ages of 0-5. There’s hope for the future!

Christopher Tompkins is a revolutionary Sanskrit scholar investigating tens of thousands of unique Tantric texts. In his essay “The Science of AUM in the Tradition of Tantric Shaivism” we get a taste. Chris will be speaking at the inaugural Om Rising festival taking place in early October at Camp Navarro, which looks to be fun! See you there!

Don’t miss Kyczy Hawk’s pithy take on aging and recovery, “Getting Old Together: In Recovery and on the (Yoga) Mat.” Also see Shelley Karpaty’s amusing “The Time I Walked Into a Hindu Ceremony: Fire, Food, Friends & Some Rad Goddesses.” And we welcome back Cator Shachoy, who has written multiple times for Common Ground, this time on yoga therapy and the psoas muscle. See “Psoas I Was Saying…Do You Trust Me?” We thank Kathleen Holm for her poignant essay “How Yoga Saved My Life: A 9/11 Tale and Beyond.”

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Rob Sidon
Publisher/Editor in Chief