Journal Posts | iHanuman

iHanuman

Love, Service, Devotion, Yoga

Journal Posts

Greetings!
The original Piedmont Yoga Studio was located about two blocks east of our current home on Piedmont Avenue. On the first story of an old two-story house that had long been used commercially, the classroom had about 900 square feet of floor space, a little more than a third the size of our current Studio 2. The Grand Opening was scheduled for Monday, March 16, 1987. "Come and enjoy the opening of your mind and body," the promotional flier read, "with the opening of The Piedmont Yoga Studio." To get the place warmed up we offered a Free Class on both the Saturday and Sunday prior to the Big Day. People turned out in droves, packing the room to the rafters, and the three co-directors, me, Rod Yee, and Clare Finn, each took turns as the lead teacher.
So it was with great excitement, not to mention anxiety, that I approached the first official public class that Monday night 25 years ago. Taking into account that it was a workday evening, and that the high attendance on the previous two days was at least partly due to the classes being on a weekend...

posted: 7 years 6 months ago
posted: 6/11/12
The yogis have discovered that the whole universe is emitted, pervaded, and ultimately reabsorbed by sound, or to be more precise, a vibratory power that has both audible and inaudible dimensions. It may seem contradictory to talk about inaudible sound, though of course we're bombarded all the time with sounds we can't hear because of the inherent limitations of our sense of our hearing. But for the yogis, subsonic and supersonic sounds are still considered audible, since we can hear them if our hearing is amplified with special instruments. Instead inaudible sound refers to subtle...
posted: 6/11/12
It was my great good fortune last Fall to attend a small yoga conference at beautiful Cavallo Point, just on the Marin side of the Golden Gate. One of the speakers there, Anne O'Brien, a local teacher, gave a fascinating talk about state of yoga teacher training here in the US, presenting in the process some innovative ideas about how such a program should be organized. I naturally began to think about the training program here at PYS, which was just beginning its third cycle in September 2009. Our two previous programs together graduated about 40 students, several of whom are now...
posted: 6/11/12
PRACTICE FOR THE MONTH: From the Gheranda Samhita (late 17th century CE) TADAGI MUDRA. Pond Seal Lie on you back, stretch out through your heels and reach your arms overhead. If you have one, lay a sand bag over your wrists to help the reach of the arms. Continue to press actively and oppositely through the heels and hands. As an energetic response, your belly will hollow slightly, like a "pond," which gives this mudra its distinctive name. This is a good warm-up for asana or pranayama.
posted: 6/11/12
Hanging in my office's south-facing window is a prism, a flat plate of glass about four inches in diameter. For half the year, in the spring and summer, the Sun is high in the sky and the angle of its rays too steep to filter through the glass and into my room. Effectively out of sight then, as the old adage has it, it's also usually out of mind, though occasionally, when nudged by a breeze blowing through the open window, it taps against the pane ... clack, clack, clack ... and reminds me it's still hanging around. This morning though when I opened the slatted blinds that...
posted: 6/11/12
One thing about PYS that may be a little different from many other yoga schools is the plethora of props. If you're a regular student here you no doubt think all the blocks and blankets and chairs and straps and bags and bolsters are par for the course, but there are a good number of schools around that have only a handful of props or-heaven forbid!-no props at all. In 21st century yoga, the presence of all this stuff is usually a sure sign that the majority of teachers on the staff, including yours truly, grew up yogically in or around the Iyengar system, which is widely known for its...
posted: 6/11/12
The last time we checked in we were in India in the last quarter of the 18th century, with the British East India Company (EIC) serving as much of the country's governing body. Unfortunately for India, like most businesses-except Piedmont Yoga of course-the EIC was in business to make money, and when that aim conflicted with good government-surprise!-making money won out. When a severe drought hit India and food shortages threatened, despite plenty of early warnings the EIC sat on its collective hands and did nothing...nothing that is except allow merchants to RAISE the price of...
posted: 6/11/12
Six hundred years ago in medieval Europe pepper was literally worth its weight in gold. That's because it (along with other spices) was a valued seasoning, but extremely hard to come by. Why? Pepper came from India and the Far East, but Europeans hadn't yet figured out how to get there by sea. So the spice trade was conducted overland, funneled through the Middle East where Moslems merchants controlled the traffic and, as middlemen, drove the price of pepper sky high. Only the wealthiest of the European wealthy could afford pepper, which was sometimes used as currency or collateral-...
posted: 6/11/12
I reviewed my first video for Yoga Journal in 1991, and since then I've reviewed at least a couple in every single issue for the last 18 years. Just this year I reviewed my 300th video (though I've probably watched at least half again as many that didn't pass muster), and by some strange alignment of planets or more likely some cosmic comedy of karmas, it was a presentation by our very own Rod Yee. As a result of all these years of reviewing I just might have one of the most extensive collections of yoga videos in US, though calling what I have a "collection" make it...
posted: 6/11/12
After a month's hiatus, we return to the story of Yoga in the US. In the July newsletter we looked at one of the unsung female Yoga pioneers of the 20th century, Sita Devi Yogendra, and I promised you then more about our female trail blazers. So this month we'll visit with a woman whose life spanned the entire 20th century, and whose followers lovingly called her the "First Lady of Yoga." It's generally believed that Yoga was introduced to this country by the 28-year-old Swami Vivekananda at the 1893 World Parliament of Religion in Chicago, an momentous event held in...
posted: 6/11/12
We're a little early with our newsletter this month because we have a time-urgent message about our next Advanced Studies program. You might wonder about this: why "study" Yoga, isn't it more about "doing?" Well, that's the active way Yoga is mostly presented in the West, but traditionally study is an important element of the Yoga discipline, going back a good 2500 years. Every school of Yoga has its "doing" element-and it's not always just doing asana-but that doing is always based on some kind of vision or theory about the nature of the...

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