The yoga lunchbox

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by Cara Butler,

Once upon a time in Christchurch … in fact, a long time ago … long before any earthquake, long before I had children, while I was still thinking a lot about what I was doing in New Zealand after a decade doing everything possible to stay away … Somehow I found a very new yoga student attending classes in a very cold church room with a very capable and intelligent US teacher, Katie Lane.

Anyone who has had the pleasure of studying with Katie will know the high quality of teaching that I was incredibly lucky to find in my first teacher and through the yellow pages of all things … Yes, until and everything before smartphones and easy Google searches!

Very early in my time with Katie, she brought someone to New Zealand whom she referred to as her “teacher of meditation and philosophy” for a weekend workshop. I was very curious and desperate for distraction, so I reserved my space in the workshop without the need for more encouragement.


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That’s how I got to study with Carlos Pomeda at the beginning of my yoga journey. The workshop was held in a classroom of a local primary school with a small group of curious people. I didn’t know how lucky I was to have someone with so much knowledge, integrity, and authenticity guide me into the world of meditation and the philosophy of yoga.

I was not fully aware of how Carlos and his teachings would guide not only my study and practice of yoga, but most of all how I would integrate those teachings into my life and do my best to “walk the talk.”

So as I prepare to hand over the reins of the Yoga Lunchbox editor to my dear friend and former business partner, Veronica King (pictured together above when we welcomed Carlos on his most recent teaching visit to Nova Zealand in 2017), I took the opportunity to connect with and write an interview with my teacher, friend and close presenter of the Hauora Yoga Conference, Carlos Pomeda.

Originally from Madrid, Spain, Carlos has been imbued with all aspects of the yoga tradition for more than 40 years of practice and study. He spent 18 of those years as a monk of the Saraswati order, under the name Swami Gitananda, including 9 years of traditional training and practice in India.

During this time he learned the different systems of Indian philosophy and immersed himself in the practice of yoga, becoming one of the greatest monks in the tradition and teaching meditation and philosophy to tens of thousands of students around the world. . He combines this experience and traditional training with his academic training, which includes two master’s degrees: one in Sanskrit, from UC Berkeley (where he has taught) and another, in religious studies, from UC Santa Barbara. He is currently working on a book on “Karma and the Journey of the Soul”, as well as a new translation of the Śivasūtra, an important tantric text in the Kashmir tradition.

As a teacher, Carlos is recognized for the breadth of his knowledge and the clarity with which he conveys it. His deep love for Indian yoga traditions, his understanding, his humor, and his deep connection to his audience give him the ability to convey the deepest biblical teachings in a clear, meaningful, and applicable way.

I began the interview by asking Carlos how he has been managing his work and practice during the current global pandemic. Based in San Francisco, he has had a front row seat to see all the political and pandemic chaos that has been evolving around him for the past two years and he was eager to hear what he knew would be wise observations …

Carlos – “It’s one of the things that makes me feel so grateful again for doing yoga, teaching and practicing, because whenever there’s a challenge like this right away what comes to mind is’ Okay, here it is has life given a lesson, and what is the lesson? ‘ And it really makes a big difference, I mean the situation is still as difficult as it is outside, but when you have that perspective, there’s a big difference.

“Okay, what’s the lesson here?” and one of the things that happened was that being forced to put everything online has been wonderful (happy river). Somehow it’s like now, we seem to be next to each other, and it’s great to be able to connect with people from all over the internet just, I know some people are starting to feel tired online. but that’s like everything if you overdo it, but it’s really been wonderful for me that way.

The other thing is that teaching online and being able to record the content and then have it available to people really works for learning, because when I study I like to review. Because once you hear something, you don’t necessarily absorb it. So it worked great.

And then for my body! My body is very happy not to have to travel all the time. I notice the difference because traveling and changing the time zone really takes a lot out of you. It was great to be home with Suzy and our kittens. “

Here I would like to take the time to explain something important that I think you should know about Carlos … His wonderful sense of humor!

She has a smile and a laugh that shines and intersperses her teachings with genuine joy. The best way to describe it is through one of my favorite Roald Dahl children’s stories. In The Twits, Roald Dahl says: “A person with good thoughts can never be ugly. You can have a crooked nose and a crooked mouth and a jaw and protruding teeth, but if you have good thoughts, face like the rays of the sun and you will always be charming “. This is how Carlos’s laughter and smile feel, a ray of warm sunshine! If you’ve ever had the pleasure of studying in person with Carlos, I know you’ll understand exactly what I’m trying to portray! Now back to Carles …

Carlos – “One of the things I also liked was that I did more study groups, which I always wanted to do because I prefer study groups to workshops. The workshops are great but have a limited time. With several places we have ongoing study groups, and in one we actually toured the entire Bhagavad Gita, it took us about 36 weeks, we read it all and it is great to see how relevant it is in a time of crisis. This was actually the title “Bhagavad Gita in times of crisis” because it really has very useful teachings and practices. I liked”.

In the past, I have been fortunate to have studied some parts of the Bhagavad Gita with Charles, so I wondered what texts he still recommends as especially useful for study.

Carlos – “I reduced it to one! I used to have a couple of suggestions, but really the best is the version of Winthrop Sargeant. He still has his problems, but to study is really the best. One of the things I enjoyed about having study groups is being able to look more closely at the subtleties of Sanskrit and how translating a word differently actually changes everything. Literally a word. And that’s why, of course, I always have some issues with some translations, but overall it’s perfect.

If you are interested in online study options with Carlos, check out their Carlos Pomeda website and from the following links




Carlos is also virtually present at the upcoming Hauora Yoga Conference on November 7, you can book your attendance with confidence here.

Now I know that we have just started and I promise you that there are many more things to talk about with Carlos, so stay tuned for conversations. “Part 2 and Part 3” will be out in the coming weeks. Where we talk about Donald Trump, conspiracy theories, social media, and guidance on how to find a real teacher.

Life is too short to escape the big issues …

Cara teacher bio 1

We love listening to our readers, so if you have any questions or comments about this or any of our other articles, please email Yoga Lunchbox Editor, Cara, at

#yoga #lunchbox

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