Reframing Spirituality with Joel Kramer & Diana Alstad, Ph.D.

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Alstad and Kramer feel there is a tremendous amount of human potential that is untapped, but we have been stunted by various beliefs, limited identities, and rigid worldviews. In particular, they feel spiritual traditions make people feel inadequate and bad about themselves for not being selfless enough and for being self-centered. So, these traditions come up with all sorts of practices to guide us to be better human beings. Contrary to helping, Diana Alstad says, "You don't accumulate spirituality through practices. Spirituality lives in connection with people and connecting with the evolutionary challenge of the times, which is survival. Spirit is part of the momentum that drives evolution and comes from connecting with things larger than you. You don't have to practice and accumulate [spirituality] in that way. Practices are done for other reasons." Joel Kramer goes on to say that it is not that humans are more spiritual than rocks but "a human has more potential for connecting than a rock. It is in the living act of connecting that spirit displays itself." (hosted by Michael Toms)


Joel Kramer is considered a founder of modern American yoga for his seminal contributions to re-visioning yoga in the West. A pioneer and innovator of physical and mental yoga, his evolutionary vision of yoga is foundational for many of today's teachers.

He has written a book that illustrates mental yoga:

Diana Alstad, Ph.D. led mental, physical, and relationship yoga seminars with Kramer, and created a foundation for a yoga of relationship in "Exploring Relationships: Interpersonal Yoga." Joel and Diana have been life partners working together since 1974.

They coauthored:

To learn more about the work of Diana Alstad and Joel Kramer go to

Topics Explored in This Dialogue

  • What are the two faces of ego
  • How the mind is not the problem but our mind-sets are
  • Why we need to reframe spirituality
  • How becoming selfless is, ironically, self-absorbing
  • How the phrase, "be here now" denies the fruits of the past and the seeds of the future
  • What is the odd problem of having mystical experiences
  • How do boundaries make connection possible
  • What is the difference between beliefs and values
Host: Michael Toms      Interview Date: 2/3/2011     Program Number: 3386