Day One- Monday
We started the Teacher Gathering with John talking about the broad history of the method and his vision for this year. He talked with great exuberance and praise about the growth of the method even within what he called “a looseness at the boundaries of the periphery.” He talked about how he will be making some administrative changes so that we can maintain the integrity of the method as it continues to grow and expand.
Paul Muller Ortega gave what had to be one of the most brilliant discourses on tantra and its history and Vedic roots that I have ever heard. Clear, precise and inspiring.
John led an asana practice:
Utanasana, extend spine 5X
Rt. Leg back
Rt. Leg fwd
Urdva prasarita padasana
Eka pada raja kapotasana with quad stretch
Anjaneyasana with quad stretch
Twisted lunge with quad stretch
Setu bandhasana X3
Urdhva danurasana X3
Then we broke for lunch and when we came back Paul gave a very cool talk on Alchemy and the origins of hatha yoga. More on that to come. And then he gave an overview and introduction to the Shiva Sutras which was very cool and after which John taught a forward bending class:
Rt. Leg back, knee down
Left leg back, knee down
Right leg back, knee and elbows down
Left leg back, knee and elbows down
Eka pada raja kapotasana, forwad bended X2
Janu sirasana X2
Parsva uppavista konasana
Day Two Tuesday
This morning Paul talked at length about the four aims of life according to the yoga tradition and the overarching aims of the tantric traditions vs. Classical Yoga as well as a fantastic foray into a discussion on the nature of consciousness. Very inspiring, very deep stuff.
John taught an asana class:
Uttanasana – extend spine X3
Rt. Leg back lunge
Rt. Leg fwd.
Ardha chandra chapasana
Eka pada raja kapotasana with thigh stretch
Anjanyeasana with thigh stretch
Eka pada raja kapotasana with thigh stretch and arm up
Urdhva danurasana X3
Eka pada urdhva danurasana
Eka hasta urdhva danurasana
Dwi pada viparita dandasana X3
The afternoon begain with Paul giving a commentary on the first part of our invocation… Om Namah Shivaya:
Om- is the primordail sound, it is the "roar of consciousness" that is represented by the symbol we know as OM.
Namaha- to bow, to call upon, to invite, to merge with
Shivaya- Auspicious- continuous, expansive life enhancement… those things that exalt life, that exalt the most intimate and dep aspects of life nad support the deepest longings of the human heart…that which brings blessings so that that kind of life might be realized rather than dreamt about or only talked about. So the most auspicious person you could be would be your Highest Self. Shiva is not so much a Deity as it is an expression or a face of the Absolute that contact with which will facilitate the experience of yourself in the Highest.
Where do you connect with ultimacy? Where are you rooted? In what are your roots? In what do you re-charge yourself?
Guruve- we are always a student of something… from the mother’s womb, to its infancy and throughout its human development, a child is nourished and taught and encouraged to develop along certain lines. Even in the most natural of processes- what my teacher calls the Divine Path of Growing Old- we are invited to learn, to grow, and mature relative to circumstances and influences.
It is the auspicious force of Shiva that manifests in all levels of teachers we encounter, at every level of experience, at every level of reality so that this auspiciousness is what is actually teaching us. Even at the most trivial level, there is a voice that reminds you to turn off the lights, to remember your jacket, to take care of yourself and this, too, is the Guru, the very Voice of Protection.
Om Namah Shivaya is the invocation and recognition of the Absolute Source out of which everything arises. These traditions were about sitting in a direct relationship with this Source, not in a secondary relationship.
We did a forward bending class whihc also served as a forum for John to test our knowledge on the rpinciples. SO that was kind of an interesting experience. I only got to bethere for part of it as I left early for an apppointment.
Then I went home and Laura and Julie and family had a great birthday party for me complete with a necklace from Neiman Marcus. I have never, in my whole life, owned something from Neiman Marcus and I must say it was kind of a thrill to recieve such a gift. They told me "40 is big" and you should have something nice ot show for it. (everyone should have such great girl friends. I mean, really.)
Well, back home tomorrow bright and early.The Gaterhing continues on for two and a half more days but time for me to get back to work. I will be a Breath and Body to teach at 4:30. Hope to see you there.