Saturday, August 18, 2007

Back in the Saddle

Well, last weekend I started teaching with the Immersion and it has been a fantastic week "back in the saddle." First the Immersion, then Tuesday night classes in Austin, the Anniversary practice party on Wednesday, and public classes on Thursday in Austin. Thursday night's 6pm hatha class was a real thrill. I think I counted close to 30 people in the small room at YY South. (For those of you reading from somewhere else, the room comfortably holds 12, is crowded at 15 and is considered full at 18. But Caroline at the front desk knows my opinion that no room is ever really at capacity and never turn anyone away!!

The obvious theme for a night like that is "the kula" of course. And so the room , packed with beautiful people doing great yoga with one another was the embodiment of Patanjalis' Yoga Sutra #1: Now we come together to practice yoga. And just as yoga increases our capacity to love, to live and to endure, we increased the capacity of that little room in the name of loving, living and yes, enduring a little discomfort!

Today I had the opportunity to take class with Senior Iyengar teacher, George Purvis. He was at my friend Devon's studio. I first met George close to seven or eight yeas ago in Austin when he was teaching here. As always, the class was full of great information, lots of work and George's sense of humor and passion. And because of Anne's dual citizenship, she was there so we got to hang out a little in class. (Well, actually there was very little hanging out in that class but it was nice to see her. )

So I took class from 9-11:30 and then at 12-2:30 and again at 4-6:30 I got to teach two classes on Patanjali's Yoga Sutras. One class was lecture-based and one was asana-based. Both classes were really great. I met some new people, got a chance to see some familiar faces and spent the day thinking deep thoughts- samadhi, philosophy, practice, detachment, and the role of fun in yoga.

So- traditionally, fun or bhoga is seen as the opposite of yoga and as an obstacle to overcome on the Path. But in the Kularnava Tantra there is the greatest verse that reads:

In Sanskrit:
2.23. yogI cen na eva bhogI syAg bhogI cen na eva yogavit
bhoga-yogAtmakaM kaulaM tasmAt sarvA^tmakaM (*sarvAdhkikaM) priye
2.24. bhogo yogAyate sAkSAt pAtakaM sukRtAyate
mokSAyate ca saMsAraH kula-dharme kule^s,vari

In English:
If a yogin, then not at all could one enjoy the world. If enjoying the world, then not at all could one be skilled in yoga. The Kula is of the nature of enjoyment and yoga. Therefore, dear one, it is universal.

If one follows the Way of the Kula, O Lord of the Family, enjoyment becomes yoga immediately, misbehaviour becomes the good deed, and transmigratory existence is liberation.

DOES IT GET ANY BETTER THAN THAT? DOES IT??? Not in my world. That is the whole tantric turn right there in a nutshell. Those two verses contain the whole teaching of Anusara Yoga in some ways. Enjoyment becomes yoga. (Dr. Phillips said it would read kind of like "bhoga yogas" if yoga was a verb.) Anyway, the thing is that when we are properly aligned our enjoyment is a means of praise and worship. Obviously this is not an "anything goes" statement but a reminder that all things are useful for sadhana, all things can be made holy and that heaven is here, now.

It is a great consideration for me this week when I had so much fun with my practice, with my teaching and reconnecting with students and friends after being away. It has just been such a fun week.

I got to see Jenny Dawson today and she asked how it was to be back and I mentioned how thrilling it has been to be here and to feel so at home. Kelly and I moved here a year ago and to look around at the fullness of my yoga family here is so amazing. I am so filled with gratitude and happiness for the Austin Kula. In just one year. Really- its a miracle.

So-I made excellent curried vegetables tonight and I am now sipping on some tea as I write. Thanks for tuning in, please comment when you can. I am off to visit Mandy's blog now. Oh also, Anne has a new blog- Go visit.

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