I’ve been on such a spiritual quest in this life! From my teens I started a punk/hardcore band called Youth of Today, which championed the principles of clean living, vegetarian diet, and self-control. By the time I was 21, my band had tens of thousands of fans around the world. I was shocked. I started Revelation Records, an indy record label with my high school buddy and signed 20 bands with a similar beliefs and ethics. As exciting as this was, there was a growing void in my heart I knew only Spirit could fill. I got into spirituality, metaphysics, and mysticism; eagerly consuming spiritual classics, my hunger only increased. This eventually manifested as strong desire to go deeper. I split and quit the band. Gave the label to my partner. The teachings of India drove me East and at age 22, I ended up on an ashram floor in the holy village of Vrindavan. That was 1988 — and one of the best choices I made in my life.
India before cell phones and satellite TV, what to speak of the internet, was an exotic land. I got to refine and dive deep into my yoga practice, my study of sacred literature and ritual, learn kirtan, cooking, mantra meditation and living simply with nothing except a few robes on my body. I was blessed with integrity-driven teachers who understood the essence of spiritual life. In 1991 I received the name Raghunath (formally Ray Cappo), representing initiation into lineage and a rebirth. I travelled to ashrams all over the world and the holy places of India, and I simply fell in love with the rich spiritual culture. I remained a monk in an ashram for six and a half years and now, many years later, teach how to incorporate everything I learned into everyday life. Basically how to get the spiritual high without leaving the world behind (or in some cases leaving it). Guess what? This stuff works whether you’re a householder or a monk.
Presently I’m the opposite of a monk. I’m married with 5 kids. I co-founded Supersoul Yoga and Farm with my wife, a school in the countryside in upstate NY, where I lead yoga teacher trainings. Every year I lead sold-out pilgrimages to my favorite cities & villages around India and share all that I know of these places that I love. In the mood of a pilgrim, I and teach others how to enter these sacred vortexes, that they may receive an unforgettable transcendent experience.
Since 2016, every January I lead a game-changing training in India with an ever expanding curriculum. We started with a 300 Hour Yoga Teacher Training which we’ve been refining to be a life changing experience. We teach the sweet culture of yoga which includes not just advanced yoga and pranayama, but sacred literature, kirtan study, Ayurveda for yoga teachers, Ayurvedic cooking, and yoga nidra. Last year we added an entire second training dedicated exclusively to the study of kirtan. Occasionally I get asked to do a reunion with my band which, when on stage, I realize is extension of everything I speak of today. I’m praying that I can give my students all the life-altering truths of the yoga system that I have learned from my gracious teachers.
Reconnecting with Yoga’s Original Intention
Ishvara pranidhana - this is the recurring theme of the yoga sutras, and the final niyama
Ishvara - the controller of all controllers
Prani - our prana, or our life breath
Dhana - as in the english word donate or to give
No matter how much Western yoga communities want to take spirit out of yoga, we cannot, after reading the traditional texts of yoga and spending time in sacred India, see it as anything less than spiritual revival on the individual level. When we realize this, our very life, actions, and breath are given as an offering to the Supreme, to the Divine.
The roots of yoga culture come from sacred literature, yet the practice today reflects something vastly different. We often find that contemporary yoga classes are rooted in a charismatic yoga teacher, be it a Swami, an athlete, a former actor, or an ex-dancer. To be clear, we are not trying to cultivate a cult of personality. As yoga teachers, we are seeking to excavate ancient spiritual teachings while simultaneously purifying ourselves so that these teachings might work through us for our personal benefit and the benefit of our students. When we add one cup of water to a gallon of juice, we have a little more juice. If we add two cups, then we have a little more juice. But if we continue adding water to the juice, after a while, it is no longer juice. In the same way, yoga will always be updated for the time, place, and circumstance in which it is taught. But as yoga teachers, we must be careful not to dilute the teachings to the extent they no longer represent the original intentions of yoga -- ishvara pranidhana.
What is Bhakti?
Bhakti is the beautiful and natural practice of taking the ego-self out of the center and placing the divine at the center. Bhakti is about service instead of selfishness. By shifting our actions and consciousness away from self-absorption and towards unity-in-diversity, we can begin to see the spark of divinity in all living beings. Distinctions of ‘friend’ and ‘enemy’ fall away. Nations, races, sexes -- even trees, plants, animals and the earth itself -- are seen in an entirely new light; they are seen as citizens under divinity, worthy of respect and dignity.
No matter what label we’ve been given or what label we’ve taken on, Bhakti, the process of loving service to the divine and divinity in all life, helps us understand that our real identity is pure spirit soul. We are eternal, blissful, and contain deep intuitive knowledge. We have a deep conviction that we are not born on this planet to hoard, collect, and build fences but in fact, we were born to give love.
The current which moves us in our work, our yoga practice, our teaching, our friendship, our relationship with nature, and our family dynamics, serves a clean agenda of desiring to give love to all living beings, as they are part and parcel of God, the Supreme Soul. This is Bhakti, and it is considered by the sages of the yoga tradition to be the highest form of yoga. This is the bigger picture of yoga that has been overlooked, pushed aside and buried. We at Supersoul are here to reestablish and resurrect Bhakti as the essence of yoga, of life itself.