Ep. 194 – Andrés González, Ali and Atman Smith


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Sharon welcomes friends and colleagues Andrés González and brothers Ali and Atman Smith back to the Metta Hour Podcast for Episode 194 to celebrate the release of their first book, “Let Your Light Shine.”

Today's podcast is sponsored by BetterHelp. Click to receive 10% off your first month with your own licensed professional therapist: betterhelp.com/metta

Together Ali, Atman, and Andrés are the founders of the Holistic Life Foundation, a non-profit organization bringing yoga, meditation, and breath-work to thousands of at-risk kids in Baltimore schools since 2001. Their work has received wide national attention due to their remarkable results in public schools where suspension rates plummet, and graduation rates skyrocket. Outside of their work with the Holistic Life Foundation, Atman, Andrés and Ali also teach to diverse populations around the world, including drug treatment centers, mental crisis facilities, homeless shelters, as well as Yoga, Wellness, and Mindfulness Festivals. Their work has been featured in NBC Nightly News, CNN, CBS, The Washington Post, Upworthy, and many more.

In this conversation, Andrés, Atman, Ali, and Sharon speak about:

The impact on 9/11 on the formation of the HLF non-profit • The origins of “The Light Within” over a decade ago. • Growing up as black and brown-skinned men • How institutional racism has affected their lives. • The influence of their elders’ involvement in the civil rights movement. • Growing up in one of the most violent neighborhoods in America. • Learning to “be the check” instead of “earning the check”. • Moving from partying in college to spiritual practice. • Overcoming our cultural and familial conditioning. • Awareness practices to access inner peace amid outer turmoil. • The quality of connection that opens up from spiritual practice. • Mantra Yoga Practice. • Mantras as cheat codes in life. • Projecting love to those who are suffering the most in the world. • Some of Sharon’s personal mantras. • The guidance of their teacher to create more teachers. • HLF’s reciprocal teaching model. • How the love of Bhakti Yoga is intertwined in their teachings. • It all starts with self-love and self-worth. • How love can look in different ways. • Love doesn’t dictate certain behaviors. • The challenges of love as a spiritual path. • How their work has become trauma-informed. • The impact of meeting Bessel van der Kolk. • Facing their own childhood trauma. • How life becomes challenging once we embark on the spiritual path. • How to start and end your day in the light. • To finish the episode, Ali leads a guided meditation to bring the conversation to a close.

To learn more about Ali, Andrés and Atman’s work, visit www.hlfinc.org and get a copy of their book, Let Your Light Shine, available October 18th, 2022, in hardcover, eBook and audiobook formats.

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