Mysore Meeting Place

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There may be no words, no looks. No exchange of names. No memories other than bodily shapes in space, movement, and breath. Yet, this is where we meet.

This place where there is no dress code, no make up, there are no formalities. We are allowed to be ourselves, different and at the same time feel as if we are in perfect harmony, no matter what culture we hail from, what body type we have, what age group we belong to, whatever our range of flexibility might be, whatever our skill or talent or experience.

We meet here: in this sacred space of unifying energy, sadhana, practice.  

PHOTOS: Spirit Yoga Osaka, Morning Mysore. These images of Melissa and Naoko practicing remind me of the profound unifying energy of practice. The poetry of what happens in a mysore room. 

Soaking up the inspiration here in Osaka! I am in my second and last month of covering for Veronique Tan here in Spirit Mysore Osaka. Mysore Morning schedule in August: Sunday 7:30am, Monday to Thursday, 6:30-10am. Friday 6:45am Led Primary, followed by Satsang. 

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Friday Spirit Satsang: Surrender

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We often say the word “surrender” in the yoga world. Surrender to the practice. Surrender to your teacher. Surrender to your mat.

Is it to throw oneself into practice or to relax deeply? Is it to give up or to offer? How does this surrender help our practice?

July 25, Friday Led Primary at Spirit Yoga Osaka (6:45am) will be followed by Satsang. We will continue to work on chanting in Sanskrit. But our topic of discussion will be the Art of Surrender. 

“Satsang” – “Sat” means truth, while “sangha” means gathering. Satsang is a gathering of people seeking and sharing truth. 

PHOTO: Last Friday’s led primary class. A room full of yogic warriors.  

— 

ヨガ界ではよく「降伏」という言葉が使われます。「練習に降伏する」、「先生に降伏する」、「マットに降伏する」。

 

これらは練習に没頭するということでしょうか?それとも深いリラクゼーションのことを意味しているのでしょうか?これらはあきらめるということでしょうか?それとも自分を捧げるということでしょうか?この「降伏」は私達の練習にどのように役立っているのでしょうか?

 

7月25日の金曜日6:45よりSpirit Yogaにてレッドプライマリーのあとサットサングを行います。サンスクリットでのチャンティングを引き続きやっていきましょう。明日のお話のトピックは「降伏」のテクニックについてです。

 

 

 

サットサング: 

 

サットは真実を意味し、サンガは集まりを意味します。つまりサットサングとは真実の分かち合いを求めている人達の集まりです。

 

 

 

写真は先週の金曜日のレッドプライマリークラスの様子です。ヨギックウォリアーズでいっぱいですね!

 

 

 

When Quiet Comes

 

Morning Monks. Demachiyagi, Kyoto, Japan.

Morning Monks. Demachiyanagi, Kyoto, Japan.

When quiet comes, do not run.
Do not fidget, obsessively filling
the vacuous spaces with this,
with that. None of it matters.
Come into the quiet, though
the world around you continues
its daily churning.
Come into the quiet, though
it pains you with a different
kind of loudness.
Come into the quiet, willingly fold
your hands, lower your head,
look softly on the path before you
and walk on. This too is a gift.
Learn to accept it graciously.

***

When we’re lucky, practice brings us to a stillness that is precious. We finish practice and lay down and surrender. We appreciate it, resting deeply in its embrace for some five, ten or fifteen minutes. And then, we scramble to get up, get dressed so we can jump through the hoops of our daily lives, some we are duty bound to go through but others are scenarios and dramas that we ourselves create. And then we crave for the next quiet moment but when it comes, we hardly allow ourselves to truly feel it, to truly sink into it.

This is so strange. We crave it, sometimes working so hard to attain it, and, yet, when it’s there, we work even harder to ignore it or avoid it. We should learn to enjoy our moments of peace, of rest, of quiet, forming a new healthy relationship with stillness.

 

 

Happy Guru Purnima! Celebrating Guruji!

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Padahastasana, standing forward bend, in Ashtanga Primary Led class this Friday at Spirit Yoga Osaka. A beautiful posture of humility and surrender. Satsang today is a celebration of Guru Purinam, in which we remember Guruji, Pattabhi Jois.

Friday led class is followed by Satsang, here in the Spirit Yoga Osaka Mysore Program. It’s a great opportunity to open the practice floor for discussion, answering questions, and exploring the practice in a conference setting. 

Last night, in anticipation of the storm that was supposed to hit Osaka, I was all set to speak about “Weathering the Storm of Life” (I know, I have a penchant for drama!) in the yoga context when Veronique Tan (whose program I am covering) reminded me that tomorrow, the Full Moon of 12 July, is Guru Purnima–an Indian festival that celebrates our highest teachers–and that it might be a good opportunity to talk about Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, known lovingly as Guruji.

It was a good call, as this morning, there was no storm. Only sunshine and the light that a true teacher can bring–guru, after all, often translates to the remover of darkness, obscurity or ignorance. 

I did not expect myself to get emotional as I talked about Guruji. But you can imagine where this is going…

I explained in brief his life, his humble beginnings, how he loved to learn Sanskrit and yoga so much so that he ran away from from home at the age of 14, how he was devoted to his guru Krishnamacharya and to his practice, how one Belgian European wandered into his tiny home-based yoga shala in the 1960s, and how by the 1970’s he was touring to teach workshops for his Western students.

I did not have to illustrate how ashtanga yoga has grown, nor did I have to explain in great detail that Pattabhi Jois lives on through us as we breathe and move according to the system that he introduced to the world, nor did I have to touch on how deeply this man’s work has moved each and every one of us–there was no need! I looked around the circle gathered at satsang and I could see the well spring of emotions that the practice has inspired, that Guruji inspired. How I too was teary eyed, feeling his contribution to my life, how ashtanga has changed me. 

So beyond words, we all understood our connection to the yoga practice, to each other, to our teachers and to our teachers’ teachers, to the yoga shala in Mysore, to Sharath, to Guruji, even though he has passed on. Parampara. This is the lineage. We are a part of that beautiful line of student-teacher, student-teacher, Guruji is at one end and we are at another, we are connected. 

We closed satsang by singing a guru mantra in celebration of a truly amazing teacher. Thank you, Guruji! We celebrate you! 

Swimming Lesson

 

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One of the joys of being a traveling teacher is coming into these communities in yogic flow.

It’s different everywhere: Philippines, Spain, Egypt, Japan…Each is already flowing in its own special way–in a way that suits it, that suits the culture and the needs of the practitioners there, whether it’s swiftly or slowly, softly or intensely…

It’s been a process of discovery, understanding my role when I come into these Mysore spaces for two-three months, finding a balance between being authentic and respecting the the existing stream.

How to contribute to the stream of things flow, respecting that it is not my place to change the currents, to meddle with nature, to build dams and redirect the water. Instead: diving in, swimming with the locals, playing in the water.

It reminds me that practice has its own flow. That when we respect it, when we surrender to it, it opens up to us, and we start a process of recovery, discovery…understanding practice itself as much as understanding ourselves.

PHOTO: Water flowing. Arashimaya, Kyoto.