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Journal Post

10 Days Iyengar Yoga Workshop In Rishikesh India
“Yoga is a science which liberates one's mind from the bondage of the body and leads it towards the soul." – BKS Iyengar, Tree of YogaMany scholars have searched for the date of the first reference to yoga, but BKS Iyengar reminds us in The Tree of Yoga, that Yoga, like Ayurveda, is apauruseya, not given by man. "Brahma is the Founder of Yoga” and also "Lord Siva is the Founder of Yoga, which he first taught to his wife, Parvati." (156). Yoga is one of the six orthodox systems of Indian philosophy, which was organized by Patanjali, in his classical work, the Yoga Sutras.“Yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind”
Cool Down, Chill Out and Help Others! Everything feels as if it bursting at the seems right now. This is appropriate for Summer, the peak season for growth and maturity. Anyone having a hard time sitting still? We are knee-deep in our site upgrade and we are so CLOSE! When things are heating up, turn your thoughts to someone you can help. Show love and compassion for another. Take your attention off of yourself and notice the cooling, calming effect this has on your well-being.
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."
I have mentioned before that I lost my mother at an young age. It was a devastating time to lose her, but from my perspective, any time is devastating. In an ideal world, your mother is the one who is there to pick you up when you fall and tell you that everything is going to be all right. She is your biggest fan and she is always looking out for what is best for you. I know this is the ideal and even those of you whose mother is alive and well, did not have this experience. But what if we could turn this around and treat each other with the kindness of the archetypal mother?
On day 8 of my cleanse, I was blessed to attend one of two days of a workshop with Judith Hanson Lasater, author of several books including, Relax and Renew: Restful Yoga for Stressful Times,Living Your Yoga: Finding the Spiritual in Everyday Life, and her most recent book which I am dying to read, What We
Sometimes we get carried away with backbends. They tend to be fun and energetic poses, but we also need to remember that it is still wintertime and we are slowly coming out of our caves of hibernation and what we often need is a restorative yoga practice. Most of us need this form of yoga practice much more often than we like to admit. We can become wrapped up in the physicality of yoga poses and how yoga can make us stronger and more flexible and more virile. But yoga also restores us to balance and helps us relax and truly rest our western overactive minds and bodies.
At the end of February we left off with one foot in the door of the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, one of the oldest surviving Hatha Yoga manuals. Hatha Yoga emerged sometime in the 9th or 10th centuries CE, strongly influenced by both Hindu Tantra and Indian alchemy. The Pradipika was written four or five hundred years later, though remnants of these ancient disciplines are still evident in this text and others like it. The Gheranda Samhita for example, a companion text that's a few hundred years younger, calls Hatha Yoga the "Yoga of the Pot" (ghata yoga), "pot" here referring to the human body (or more precisely the torso) which is compared to an alchemical vessel.
Traditional Hatha Yoga, as it's described in the school's oldest surviving instruction manuals, is an odd-looking duck, at least to our modern Western eyes. Take the granddaddy of these books, Svatmarama Yogendra's Hatha Yoga Pradipika (literally "Light on the Forceful Union-Method"), which is a venerable 600 years old, possibly older. It consists of 389 verses divided into four chapters on asana, pranayama, mudra ("seals") and bandha ("bonds"), and samadhi or enstasis. We moderns might expect the longest chapter would be on asana. And why not?
BKS Iyengar, or Guruji, as he is affectionately called, has begun a generous rehabilitation project of his childhood village in Bellur, India. Guruji turns 88 this year and both he and his daughter, Geeta, celebrate birthdays this month, December. In honor of their birthdays and the generous contributions they have made to the development of yoga in both India and the West, they are asking for help with raising funds for their Rehabilitation Project in Bellur. The project consists of four main fundraising areas: Education, Social, Health, and Cultural. You can read more about the specifics of the project and how to get involved on the National Iyengar Yoga Associations Website.
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