Anyway, the brainstorming has varied from the beautiful heartfelt sentiments like "open to grace and melt your heart" (Zoe) to the sassy "My midline is bigger than your midline" (Pamela- in fact her contributions are too numerous to name here) to the encouraging "it's going to be great!" (Lisa) and the frustrated "Get your ass in gear, John Friend is coming to town!"(Christina) to the fashionable, "You know you practice Anusara Yoga when you have a drawer full of fabulous yoga clothes." (Jeremiah).
Anyway, at one point Pamela sent me an email with a slogan about why you would do Anusara Yoga as opposed to Iyengar Yoga which was something to the effect of "Our chant is easier to sing than theirs." So yes, our Yoga Song is pretty great.
Also my students (Linda in Prescott, and Leanne in BC) have both recently asked me to write about how I translate the chant. So, this is not a translation but rather a contemplation on the translation. Here is the transliteration in bold, the classic translation from our teacher training manual in italics and my two cents following that.
(Oh and for a bit of free Teacher Traning here- this is how you make a theme real and believable. You take a concept, you reflect on it and on what it means to you based on all that you know about the philosophy, you write about it and then you bring it to life with asana. Yes, it is not easy. Yes, you have to think. You must reflect, chew on things and come to your own insights or else you are just parroting someone else's ideas. But the cool thing is that the themes in our method mean that we are constantly thinking about our philosophy, about inspiring, Big Ideas. Over time I have found this aspect of Anusara Yoga to be the most transformational aspect of the practice beacuse the Big Ideas pull us into their sphere of influence and out of our mundane shallow concerns.)
Anyway- enough of that rant, here is the THE ANSUARA YOGA SONG .
Om Namah Shivaya Gurave
I offer myself to the Light, The Auspicious One who is the True Teacher within and without.
I offer myself to the Light, to those Auspicious Forces of Grace that destroy my ignorance and teach me who I most truly am. This line affirms that we recognize that our deepest ignorance is the belief that we are separate from God, from our truest self and from one another. This is the Call to Grace to help teach us the truth.
Who assumes the forms of Reality, Consciousness and Bliss
This Grace that we are calling upon to help us has three basic attributes:
1.) Grace is Real. (Sat) Also "sat" can mean truth as well as Being. So this part tells us that Grace comes into being. The truth takes form and is manifested. It is Real. Spiritually and Materially.
2.) Grace is conscious. (cit) It knows that it IT IS. It has the power to reflect on what it is doing. It knows what it is doing.
3.) Grace is essentially Blissful. (ananda)
So simply, this line affirms that the nature of Grace is that it is Real, Conscious and Blissful. Also keep in mind that according to these traditions, as manifestations of the Divine ourselves, (Sparks of the fire, etc.) we share its basic attributes. So this line also tells us that our basic, primary nature is Real, True Being, Consciousness and Bliss.
Who is ever present and is full of peace
This Force of Grace that teaches us who we really are, that comes into being, is conscious and is essentially blissful is also ever-present and full of peace.
Independent in existence, the vital essence of illumination
Niralambaya means without support. It suggests that "Grace just is", it needs no circumstance to bring it about. Grace is not tied to any condition. Grace is essential, not bound to time and place. Tejas means light, spiritual lustre and spiritual illumination. According to Dr. Phillips, tejas is the essence of light, not the light itself. The active force behind the light is tejas. There is light, which is one thing, but its illuminative function is tejas.
Here we might be talking about the physical light like the sun- like how the sun is always shining even when it is cloudy. But more accurately, tejas refers to the light of the heart, the light of awareness that illuminates darkness. (shine one candle in a dark room, you no longer have darkness.) This is also the Light of God's Love for us (like in the Christian tradition this light is Jesus Christ and their teaching suggests that there is never a circumstance that can separate us from the love of God in Jesus Christ. (Paul's letter to Romans) Paul's letter is Niralambaya Tejase precisely. (See Dad, some lessons learned.)
So this line teaches us that Grace exists, regardless of circumstance, no matter what is happening, as the essence of light itself.
Think on these things.
And you teachers out there, I just gave you at least two weeks of themes! Enjoy.