A Portrait


Celebrating my birthday last Saturday, one of my gifts included the inspirational book, Guruji: A Portrait of Sri K. Pattabhi Jois Through the Eyes of His Students (Thanks DF). I've known about it for some time and had been looking forward to it's release, and let me tell you, it was well worth the wait. I'm hanging onto every word like a life raft - loving every story told in the book.

Though my time with Guruji was brief, I can identify with how life changing being in his presence was. I recommend this book to anyone and everyone who is connected to the practice of Ashtanga yoga in any way. It's amazing how alive he's living in all of our hearts. Through his tireless energy and devotion, and of course his passion for yoga, he touched the world with love and enthusiasm.

In this book you'll intimately experience all that he gave.

Thank you Guy Donahaye, and Eddie Stern for compiling the stories.

Thank you Guruji. ♥

"When in doubt, make a fool of yourself. There is a microscopically thin line between being brilliantly creative and acting like the most giant idiot on earth. So what the hell, leap."     - Cynthia Heimel



"Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth."   - Marcus Aureluis

Sitting in my Swedish class there are countless number of nationalities in the room. I'm fascinated by it. Varying religions, backgrounds, experiences present for me to learn and understand from. I enjoy the contrast. I relish being pushed to open my mind, while shattering uneducated thought patterns. Call me strange, but I've followed this mindset for some time and have become better for it. 

Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Malaysia, Japan, China, Finland, Somalia, Chile, Finland, and of course the United States are the places my classmates call their homeland. You can imagine, there are a fair amount of stereotypes to observe and have opinions on. However, I'm always pleasantly surprised how well everyone relates to one another. It's as if there are barely any differences at all, with the common bond of learning Swedish at the moment.

Of course the guy from the United States commands the most of attention in the class. Fact. He talks out loud when not spoken to, and makes jokes as if he were on a comedy tour. During one of his rants the woman from Somalia whispers to me, "I always know those who come from America. They are always so loud." I let out a giggle, she didn't yet realize I was from America as well. The girls from East Asia are always immaculately dressed, and neat. Skinny too. Some things just seem to be embedded in the culture. But, like I've learned time and time again, there are always exceptions to the rule, and what is portrayed through media outlets are often grossly misunderstood if not blatantly wrong.

One day I sat between a man from Pakistan and a woman from Somalia, both being Muslim. During a break we entered into a discussion regarding the Muslim faith and the many misrepresentations centered around it during this day and age. Before I go further into our conversation I have to admit, I did harbor a dislike for the conservative dress the women seemed to be forced to wear. Covering their hair, while wearing long dresses. Seeing this made me feel as if it were oppressive. This being my main problem with the religion. Yes, I know, an uneducated opinion, but this is how I honestly felt. Living in Stockholm there are a number of Muslim woman, and often I'd find myself cringing when I saw their get up. Thankfully, much of that has changed after having an open dialogue regarding their faith.

The man from Pakistan talked about how much he's tired of the stereotypes present from being Muslim. Jokingly, he said people expect him to have a long bushy beard and to support Osama Bin Laden. He went on to say he doesn't in anyway support Osama's legacy and most Muslims feel the same way. "They say Osama is in Pakistan, we don't fucking want him there."

Both the girl from Somalia and the man from Pakistan explained how in actuality Islam is a peaceful religion and one of the main tenants of their faith. Besides the dress I never really had much of an opinion regarding the religion, because honestly, I don't know enough about it to make an educated opinion. At a young age I was taught all religions are one, and still believe this to this day.

The paths to the Greater Source are many, and how one chooses to journey there is up to them. Ultimately, we can never separate from what is True and labels are insignificant anyway, this part being my opinion.

During this time I felt a deep sense of gratitude to have the opportunity to sit and be open to listen. Just listen without any preconceived judgments, and if there were judgments held deep in my subconscious, I was happy to have them proven wrong. The Somali woman said she lives with the stigma of having to be judged upon because of how she dresses and lives with people being openly rude to her. She explained that she just wants to be free to be who she is without having to feel she is being looked down upon. "This is our way don't worry about it," she expressed in regards to those who don't understand. Agreed. It really gave me a knew perspective. Unfortunately, at this time Muslims are being persecuted because of our own ignorance.

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Stereotypes can be funny, because why take ourselves, our cultures, and our nationalities too seriously, However, in the same light, we must not use them to further separate and harbor ill will toward others different from us without first learning, understanding, and being receptive to another way, in contrast to our own.

While in class, theoretically I should be focused on Swedish, however I find myself more interested in those I share the room with. I want to know about their life, and their history. The more I travel, the more I come in contact with other nationalities and religions, I know now, more than ever, our differences are few, and what we experience as contrast can be appreciated and deemed beautiful. Why play one note? All varying degrees brought forth make for inspiring music. This I know for sure.

Photo via



I love this photo, taken in India, reminiscent of all the mischievous children (in a good way) you meet there. I wish I could get away with some mischief. It's just not as cute as an adult, lol. For more incredible photos click here.



"He is the inner self of all, Hidden like a little flame in the heart. Only by the stilled mind can He be known. Those who realized him become immortal."  (The Upanishads)

Last week was a busy one. Hence, my blog writing took hiatus. I don't like to be away for long. When my schedule changes I have a tendency to loose my grounding for a bit. Thankfully, I've found my groove again. It's been a good kind of busy, so no complaints.

The previous weekend kicked off four days of Mysore class with Kino Macgregor and Tim Feldman. They make a wonderful team. I had the pleasure of meeting Kino in India last year, however had never taken class from her, and this was the first time I met her husband, Tim. It's easy to tell they both carry a sincere devotion to the practice and to the students they come into contact with through their travels. Right away, they're totally committed to everyone in the room. It's lovely. Kino guided me into Ganda Bherundāsana doing the full bind, feet to the floor, fingers interlaced, resting my chin on top of my hands. She wouldn't settle for anything less. I was thankful for the push. It was just what I needed. A four day kick start delving deeper into Advanced A.

B.K.S. Iyengar in the final stage of Ganda Bherundāsana

Last week, I taught a 5-day Ashtanga yoga intensive at Yogayama  with a group of ALL women.  I took the opportunity to guide practitioners more consciously through the practice, beginning with internal alignment. It also gave a proper kick start for those just coming off of their long summer vacations. We had fun.

I guess every teacher goes through trials of trepidation no matter what the field of expertise. I have my experience with this from time to time. I often feel this before teaching. Wondering beforehand will I have enough to give? Will I simply do a good job? Then, I remind myself no matter what, the practice in itself will do the work required. I'm only a guide in the process. And, for me there is always an element of being firmly committed to assisting a student where they are in the moment. First, coming from a place of acceptance, then opening to their unbounded potential, offering next steps, and continuing to challenge. Going through this with students is highly fulfilling. I had one practitioner share with me how through the practice she was coming into a place of greater self-acceptance and self-love. At the end of the day feeling a layer such as this is what it's all about beyond asana. I love hearing about the discovery, and the insights that are felt when entering into what we experience as yoga. This is why I do what I do.

On top of practicing, and teaching, it always cycles back to the Swedish. I've had to place a fair amount of commitment in this area. I'm learning, not only the language (obviously), but the beautiful diversity from the individuals in my class. It's been a great experience. Gosh, some days I feel as if I'm getting a good handle on the language, and then other days it feels totally hopeless. My classmates who come from various countries, besides the U.S., are often trilingual. A few, even know four and five languages. It's amazing.

I've felt every type of emotion sitting in my Swedish class. One often being frustration. Will I ever get it? Then, I have to remind myself to be patient. Step by step. Learning Swedish grammar really kicks my ass, and takes me back to English grammar. It's been a long time since I've deconstructed a sentence. Seriously, I've had to dust quite a few cobwebs out of my brain. Whew! It's hard work.

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Swedish Lesson One


This is what's been keeping me occupied this week among other things. Busy. Busy. Learning Swedish!!!!!!

"But it is clear we must embrace struggle. Every thing conforms to it. Everything in nature grows and struggles in its own way, establishing it own identity, insisting on it at all cost, against all resistance. We can be sure of very little, but the need to court struggle is a surety that will not leave us. It is good to be lonely, for being alone is not easy. The fact that something is difficult must be one more reason to do it.
To love is also good, for love is difficult. For one human being to love another is perhaps the most difficult task of all, the epitome, the ultimate test. It is that striving for which all other striving is merely preparation."



"When they give money to the poor, they call it a handout. When they give money to the rich, they call it a subsidy."

After reaching my 1000th post I've felt even more compelled to continue on with my blog. Writing deeper into personal experience. Possibly exhibiting more candor this go around. Of course, there will always be a platform in regards to yoga practice and philosophy. It's such a big part of my life. However it is not my entire my life. Yoga helps me in access my authenticity, and what I do from there, is open season. But also, I guess you can say there is really no separation with it all. We can easily live in yoga without having to say a word about it. Something I am truly beginning to recognize. I do my practice in the morning and I live. As simple as that. In my living, is where the yoga begins. It's more than attending the right workshops, having the most fashionable yoga clothing and whatever else. Though I enjoy all those things. Living in union. Connecting to the moments around us is where yoga germinates and grows.

In many ways I am in a place of starting over. I've been here maybe one too many times. I feel as if I'm always starting from the beginning. With interests heading into new directions all the while delving deeper into directions already taken. I'm not even sure what will come of it. I guess it doesn't matter as long as I enjoy the discovery of learning something new. Of entering new territory. Ultimately, reaching into parts of myself untapped. Part of me will always be that quiet, reflective girl simmering in the background, however life has shown me time and time again I'm not supposed to be too comfortable in the background. In fact, it isn't where I am supposed be at all. Why is that? Well, it comes down to fate and where the energy guides me. To resist now would be a silly thing to do.

Part of starting over is living in a new country with a new language to learn, and all it comes with. Before going in I was excited regarding the endeavor. I mean, c'mon, there's something stimulating when entering into something new. Sometimes feeling a bit manic, with all the highs and experiences facing a new adventure. Then, things start to settle and it's time to do the work. Those I've talked to, who have moved here from another country warned me it wouldn't be easy, and yes they were right. It isn't  easy. I've had bouts of feeling isolated, having very little outlets for friendships to develop. However, all that is beginning to change. It takes time, and in Sweden it really takes time, and that's okay. When I sign up for something, people might be surprised at my longevity. That's what happens when you simmer, everything gets cooked just right.

photo via
"It is an illusion that youth is happy, an illusion of those who have lost it; but the young know they are wretched for they are full of the truthless ideal which have been instilled into them, and each time they come in contact with the real, they are bruised and wounded. It looks as if they were victims of a conspiracy; for the books they read, ideal by the necessity of selection, and the conversation of their elders, who look back upon the past through a rosy haze of forgetfulness, prepare them for an unreal life. They must discover for themselves that all they have read and all they have been told are lies, lies, lies; and each discovery is another nail driven into the body on the cross of life."
-W. Somerset Maugham

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Long Walk to Freedom

My next read, is the Autobiography of Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom. I've had a craving for reading about and/or being inspired by those who have really done something with their lives. I know, I'm about to go on a rant, but I'm completely tired of people being famous for being famous having really done nothing, hence ... being famous. What's happened to all the champions of spirit out there!!!? Why are we inundated with petty silliness in the media constantly. Why are we fed more things to fear versus being moved my fearlessness?

Who are your champions of spirit? Please share. I feel as if I'm stranded in the dessert with nothing to drink.

Isn't it about time we hold such people, who have paved the way for positive change in the world, close to our hearts? Anytime I feel as if I have nothing left, I remember those who literally didn't, and STILL found the strength to carry on and thrive in the world, lit from within, even when viewed as unpopular by the masses.

I've learned the hard way. Just because something is popular and excepted by many doesn't necessarily mean it is true. By no means does it give those the absolute authority. We must be mindful of this. In every way. Continue to question. Continue to look within. Feel what is right without the pressures of the external world dictating every choice to be made. The hard part is, it's not easy. It takes strength of character.

Something's gotten me fired up! Hahaha. In the end, it's all good, and even though I stretch my body everyday, I look to those who stretch my spirit. I need it. Like anything else. 


"Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends; as for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love." 
- 1 Corinthians 13:7-13
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Memory Flood


“As long as you look for someone else to validate who you are by seeking their approval, you are setting yourself up for disaster. You have to be whole and complete in yourself. No one can give you that. You have to know who you are - what others say is irrelevant.”

-Nic Sheff

Meditation. Writing. Yoga practice.

I've had a flood of memories come into my consciousness. From defining moments, to the minute experiences, which in the larger scope, seem small in comparison. It's interesting. It's wild. And, it's given opportunity to review suppressed emotions, underlying angst, and confusion. I can't say it's about being stuck in the past. No. More like a review. Like I said before, it's like a flood, rushing into my awareness, signaling me to take a look at what's come in. An amazing test in facing what lies dormant within me, not yet fully realized or dealt with. Could they be blocks? Quite possibly. Now I'm at the point where excavating, feeling and clearing give enormous leaps in liberation. Or at the very least, a step closer. Each step teaching what isn't felt hardens in my being. Solidifies. Holds me down.

With all this being said, I have an overwhelming sense of gratitude to have tools. I have tools, as I work through the depths of my subconscious. It feels good to trust in the process. Maybe that's half the battle. Knowing this.

Sometimes if feels like a never ending cycle. Literally, how much pain can one person store? Things I haven't realized I still hold are finally being examined. What's the point in pushing them down? Doesn't really work for long. As I tend to my daily writing, I'm finding my voice. My true voice. The voice that resonates clearly with who I am and what my purpose is. The other voice, isn't so wise. Now, don't worry, I'm not talking about schizophrenia, lol.  I'm talking about the steady voice of truth. The thing about it is, when we hear it, we don't necessarily want to listen. To be pulled out of our comfort zone can be unsettling. Ultimately however, not listening brings more struggle. Once letting go of expectation, or a desired result, we can flow with our inherent energy.

Every step I take I realize just how long this journey will be. I don't let it get me down. As best I can. The important thing is, I start.

photo via

The Guest House


Skogofoss - Iceland

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

- Rumi 

photo via 

SFI: Swedish For Invaders


Last week, I started Swedish for Invaders. The true term, Swedish for Immigrants (SFI). A well organized government program (free I might add) for new inhabitants living in the country of Sweden. Class is 5 days a week (M-F), four hours a day, a big commitment, but essential to learning the language in the beginning. My brain is fried, but I'm loving the process. There's something energizing that happens when learning something new. Jumping in with both feet. I love it for now, but who knows, maybe I'll be pulling my hair out at some point in the near future. Let's hope not.

The first two weeks is a simple Introduction to Swedish, then after the two weeks are over, we break into our respective levels dependent on prior education. For my time slot it's only me and a young man from China. He's a cool guy, who does his best with the "l" and "r" sounds. For those who do not know, in many Asian languages, such as Mandarin, these sounds are pretty much nonexistent and makes for a challenge. Who knew Swede's rolled their "r's" as much as they do. Geesh.

Anyway, it's nice to have such a small class, therefore extra attention. I've been thanking my lucky stars for the Rossetta Stone program I started a year ago, because it really gave me a good start. It's some of the best stuff out there to get the basics down. Although, I've already come to the conclusion that I've got a pretty steep mountain to climb before becoming fluent. But it's funny, I seem to have an edge over my Chinese counterpart, because English is in the same language family, however with that being said, over 90% of Swedes speak English, and speak it incredibly well. So, out of sheer laziness I can always rely on my English to get by, which doesn't force me to speak Swedish, unless I'm über disciplined about it. With my Chinese classmate, who doesn't speak English at all, he will be forced to speak the language, therefore has even more motivation to speak it. This is the dilemma for English speaking people who move here. I mean, most Swedes understand English even in a cultural sense. My boyfriend even has an American accent when he speaks. Whereas during my time living in Asia the Taiwanese English speakers I conversed with didn't usually understand English in a cultural sense, especially when I would make jokes and such. Here, it's never a problem. Even the kids speak English, and speak it well.

I'm having fun being a student. Stretching the insecurity of sounding stupid and ridiculous, while seriously feeling like I'm back in the first grade. Learning to count, saying the alphabet, sounding out words, identifying colors and nouns, putting together sentences. Hey, we all gotta start somewhere.

I'm looking forward to the day when I can say I'm bilingual! Won't that be nice. This is a challenge I'm am definitely up for.

Stockholm Encounter     Rosetta Stone Swedish Level 1 with Audio Companion  Lonely Planet Sweden (Country Guide) 

Only in India


Only in India would you see this blessed madness. Somehow it works, lol.


Bringing Presence to a Conversation


I love the following instructions for deep listening from Eckhart Tolle. I had to share it. A great reminder that it's more than simply hearing the words.

Question:  How do I maintain a sense of presence when I’m in the company of another person?  How do I bring presence into conversation?

Eckhart:  It’s not easy.  The moment you start talking, the two minds come together and so they strengthen each other.  A flow starts, a stream of thought.  A moment ago you were present, and then somebody starts talking.  What applies here is the loss of space during the conversation.  Both participants of the conversation have lost any sense of space.  There are only the words, the mind, the verbalization, the stream of thinking that becomes sounds.  They are taken over by that.  It has its own momentum – almost a little entity, a stream, that doesn’t want to end. 

Often, it generates emotions in the body.   That strengthens it, amplifies it.  If the mental stream triggers emotions, which it often does, especially when talking about other people, what they did, failed to do, did to you, did to others, criticisms, gossip, all kinds of emotional [things], the ego comes in.  When you can criticize another, the ego feels a little bit stronger.  By diminishing another, in the delusional system of the ego, you have enhanced your own self-image a little bit.  Any criticism of another is a part of that energy stream.  And then emotions come, and they amplify the thoughts.  It’s the loss of space.

For you to regain space, without saying “I’m not talking anymore”, one thing is necessary for you – which is the realization that you’ve lost space.   Without that, there’s nothing you can do – when you’re so taken over by a stream of thought, that you don’t even know you’ve been taken over by a stream of thought – there’s nothing you can do.  “Forgive them, for they know not what they do”.  They are unconscious.  They are the stream of thought.  And as the stream of thought, you don’t want it to end – because you don’t want your own end.  Every entity wants to remain in form for as long as possible.

If there’s the slightest realization that you’ve lost [space], at that moment you have a choice.  What is your choice?  Your choice is to bring some presence, some space, into the stream of thought.  But how do you do that?

It’s coming at you not only from within your own mind, but it’s coming at you from the other person too.  The awareness is there, and it may only last three seconds, and then it’s gone again.  So you have to use those two or three seconds, where you realize the loss of space, and do something in that space where you have some freedom to act.  By a conscious choice, you take your attention out of thinking – but you have to anchor it somewhere else, otherwise it won’t work.  So you choose your breath, or your body, or some other sense perception around you that you become aware of.  When you are actually talking to another person, it’s probably easiest to either use your breath or your inner body. 

Practice this beforehand, when conditions are easier, so that you can do it once it’s necessary.  Go into your inner body, feel that your energy field is alive.  And you’ll notice, you’re not thinking anymore.  You can still listen.  The amazing thing is that you can listen to another person, without thinking, easily, beautifully.

You are listening, but part of your attention is on your energy field – so you’ve taken attention away from your thoughts.  There is a sense of aliveness in the background.
It’s ultimately formless; it’s already the doorway into the formless.  Feel that while you sit there and listen, and you’ve stepped out of the stream of thinking.  Then, the quality of the interaction immediately changes.  The other person may not consciously notice what’s happening, and may carry on for a while.  It also does not mean that you cannot respond anymore.  But how you respond and the quality of your response changes, too.  You are no longer contributing to the negative nature, which is often the case, in conversations.

A certain amount of stillness, then, will also be a part of the words that you speak.  It’s so subtle that the other person probably will not notice it, consciously.  So hang on to the inner body, let it be the anchor, and then you become present.  If you lose it again, if the other person says something challenging, then after a little while you remember – and you go back into the inner body.  That’s a powerful anchor, and then everything changes from there.  It takes continuous practice.

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Ashtanga Yoga Workshop with David Robson at Yogayama


Saturday, Sept. 11th 

Session 1: 10:00-12:30 

Learn to Float 

When breath and movement are in perfect unison, we achieve floating vinyasa. This workshop will look at ways to bring "floatiness" into your Sun Salutations, with a special emphasis on lifting and landing the jump-backs and jump-forwards. 

Session 2: 14.00-16.00 

Floating in the Primary Series 

The Primary Series (Yoga Chikitsa) detoxifies and aligns the body. David will lead you through the traditional Sanskrit count for the Primary Series with a special emphasis on floating in the vinyasa.

Sunday, Sept. 12 

Session 3: 10.00-12.00 

Pain-free Backbending 

Backbends don't have to hurt! Learn techniques and exercises that will help you safely deepen your backbends. 

Session 4: 14.00-16.00 

Intro to Intermediate 

Ashtanga's Intermediate Series is known as Nadi Shodana, or "nerve cleansing." In this workshop we will take a close look at the first half of the asanas and vinyasas from Intermediate series.

350 SEK per session
1100 SEK for the entire workshop

David Robson, is a phenomenal, highly devoted student/teacher in the practice of Ashtanga yoga, and one of the few who have built a Mysore program with over 80 students daily. Talk about dedication! Deepening his study of the practice, David has taken annual trips to the KPJ Ashtanga Yoga Institute, in Mysore, India, since 2002, and is Authorized to teach Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga from the source. David lives in Toronto, Canada with his family where he is director of the Ashtanga Yoga Centre of Toronto. Stockholm is extremely lucky to host a teacher of his caliber and sincerity. This is a workshop you won't want to miss.

For more information and for registration, visit www.yogayama.se

Three Requirements for Yoga Practice

OvO passed on an amazing link (click here) in regards to mediation and the essential tennants to long term practice. On the page they had the above video posted. I felt compelled to share it. Doesn't get much better than this.

Practice with devotion everyday. Without exception.

"If [yoga] is done properly... then a state of mind will be reached in which whatever you think will occur. This exalted state, in which concentration has, to the utmost, been achieved, will also lead to mental and physical strength, as well as go a long way toward helping you achieve whatever it is you have set out do in life." 

(Sri K. Pattabhi Jois)

Meditation in August


"Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless - like water. Now you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup, you put water into a bottle, it becomes the bottle, you put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend."
(Bruce Lee)

I've decided to dedicate the month of August to deepen and re-establish my meditation practice, along with continuing my morning pages, stream of conscious writing. I've never had a problem being consistent with my yoga practice, however my meditation has flex and flowed over the years for whatever reason. Now, I simply feel called to sit. It's coming from the inside with no external pressures to fulfill some type of mold when partaking in such things. Better that way. Just like when yoga found me, and I found it - it was a calling, a pull that took me as much as I took to it. It must come from this place. Hopefully, I'll have interesting insights and reflections to share throughout the month, or maybe not. We'll see. Only time will tell. 

"Just because the road ahead is long, is no reason to slow down. Just because there is much work to be done, is no reason to get discouraged. It is a reason to get started, to grow, to find new ways, to reach within yourself and discover strength, commitment, determination, discipline.

The road ahead is long and difficult, and filled with opportunity at every turn. Start what needs starting. Finish what needs finishing. Get on the road. Stay on the road. Get on with the work.

Right now you’re at the beginning of the journey. What a great place to be! Just imagine all the things you’ll learn, all the people you’ll meet, all the experiences you’ll have. Be thankful that the road is long and challenging, because that is where you’ll find the best that life has to offer."

(Ralph Marston)

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