This just in- Dr MA Jayashree of Mysore India has agreed to my request to come to Portland and teach us!
Many details need to be arranged
She might be here as soon as the 3rd of January, 2015. This is exciting news and requires a lot of action on my part and hopefully the support of the local yoga community and the NEYogis who make up the sangha of asana practitioners and Sutra chanters plus all the new folks who are needing a dose of Mother India and the mystery and magic that gets conjured when a deep teacher shows up. This is all our chance to connect to a trusted source of dharma.
I hope we are all in on it. Having the teacher come from afar is what we all in the Ngondro tradition call out for. Well, here comes the teacher. Are you ready.?Am I? We shall see.
You will see more specific information in coming days. Please save the weekend of January 8-11th because I think this is when she will be free to teach us.
Heres what I was going to post. It’s fitting.
The Power Behind my Power
Just a week back from a glorious time spent chanting and swimming and sleeping in, in Hawaii, and I’m finding the dullness of the cool,dark solstice reality of Oregon impinge on my prior and preferred reality. I am getting over the loss of all that free time and sun but now can relate to why a retreat of any kind is important. The time away shows me so much. Im not really under my own Power alone, ever, and like any organ or instrument, I need to be retuned daily and in any new enviroment.
Practice is easy when the living is easy but staying with it when times are tough can be the biggest teacher. Of course some time period of strong practice can get us established in Dharma so to avoid the hard path is often the road to sloth and the loss of stability. The wisdom comes in striking out the for the middle path, sometimes hot sometimes cool with a balance made up in the average.
Getting up before the Sun and doing the direct method that is “Ashtanga Vinyasa Krama” is not easy and I commend the folks who get at it every day, rain or shine. (as i do it myself) they certainly get the benefit. Sometimes the benefit is a mystery, only to be revealed when we lose or gain perspective. It’s funny that a shift in our environment or lifestyle can limit or enhance the pattern and ritual we rely upon, but when are suddenly altered by a shift in the climate or the position and regularity of the Suns arc across the sky, we lose it a bit. Over all i am grateful from the shifts and lapses, they let me know I am human.
Some days I feel I am just getting to know myself, maybe stemming from age but certainly stemming from the effects of a chronic practice that holds to a specific time and location. As the world zips along and I hold the space, I see a lot and this is essentially my nature, all of our natures.
In the stability made possible through practice, I see the Sun and Moon and how they interact with the Earth and how all three interact with the Stars. The great magnetics of an orchestrated, symphony of astral proportions only equaled to, in the magnitude of its silence, must be the harmonic my Spirit needs to move with and sing with. The regular practice, or a sadhana of any kind that keeps me near these singing orbs and the Power behind them which I cant see but must also relate and even conform to is one i must keep up with. The stakes of not doing so, once have done,are too high. I like what yoga brings me. Somedays are hard but overall I am stronger and more adapted to life because I stick with the practice.
It seems the sooner I can get going the motions of retooling and re-calibrating for the immediate version of such-ness, the better I am able to maintain the condition of uprightness etc that we hope a yoga will bring. I will admit that I am sometimes slow to get back to a particular practice. Today is the first day, since being home, that I had a chance to both regret the loss of and feel the relief of holding space for the Song.
But, the parallax view of holding space for a long while, then letting go of the held position in order to explore the new dimension gives insights that only come from practice. We are seers by design and what we see is what we are made of. The Song of the Pancha-Tattwas is not for the ear alone, but also the remaining senses. IF we sing to them we can subdue our fear of them and abide in them. If i have a practice that either satisfies each sense and sense object alone, or in combination, then to activate that practice, would be to Sing the Song of Yoga and stay in tune with the deepest and most subtle reality.
If you want to know more come sing on Thursdays at 5PM, Fridays at 9AM and Saturdays at 11AM.
If you plan to make a New Years Resolution to get back into yoga or start up fresh, consider taking this intensive. For all the years all the I have been teaching the method of Ashtanga Yoga, I have come to understand that a little can go a long way. In just a few weeks of regular attention you can develop your own sacred experience with yoga and practice solo or under the special guidance of a Mysore Style yoga teacher.
The Mysore method is rare and hard to acquire, do to the self-motivated nature it requires for success. With most yoga classes, being relegated to led, group experiences is the norm. Mysore Style practice invites us to summon our deepest and most motivated self and accomplish the ability to sustain and support our own self practice. Responsibility like this is only for the self selecting few- ones with the courage to show up. Remember, Ashtanga embraces those who seek it and always gives back as much as we give it. Take this workshop and discover your inner teacher!!
Please read the flier, make any inquiries you like to email@example.com or call 503-890-2212
Give the Intensive as a “gift” and save $15 dollars.
Last week my friends ,family and I randomly ended up in condo next door to the annual Ram Das gathering in Maui. In attendance were many devotees of Neem Karoli Baba, the 60s Indian guru of many well known teachers of dharma, including kirtan master Krishna Das and notable author, Jack Kornfield. Ram Das goes back to the 1960s as the Harvard Psy. professor, experimenting with LSD, getting inspired and then getting fired along with Timothy Leary just as he was beginning his lifelong quest to inquire into the nature of “self”.
Timothy Leary’s spirit, lingered in the counterculture shade of the Maui palm trees, where sky meets the ocean and sand , where older devotees, enjoying their 30 year+practice, soak up as much in Sun as there as in dharma, then bask in both, while not making any excuses about enjoying a frozen piña colada in middle of the day and getting up at the crack of dawn for outdoor yoga. It was immaculate. Krishna Das, always the heart and soul, the singers- singer, for the body of people, was reflected in the pure enthusiastic heart of Neem Karoli Baba himself, who lingered everywhere. I was able to offer pranams to Ram Das as he passed by and contemplate the unusual but unique situation I found myself in.
Within the karma and dharma of a family reunion, we had ended up a beach away from the event and were invited by attendees to share in the time and sing with them. So between explorations of Mother Maui, we sang the names of Saints, Sages and Gods with our dharma heroes. During our separate adventures, we sang our own, made up kirtans, encouraging each other to let more of our voice out and take a chance that just letting it rip would do the trick.
It did the trick for us. We sang everywhere we went, from the moment we first landed and kept it going throughout the entire time we were on Maui. Intermittent between songs were laughter and connection that were made more delightful because half the time the only words we shared were about dharma and devotion. Many of our actions were better informed too as we brought more intention to what we did and communicated among each other. As the Full Moon rose, chanting away, I made a commitment during that special time to keep up the song and the dharma and to hold them as one. This was made over a fire ceremony offered by friends and family. Sticking with yoga brought this entire experience together for us. We all felt the blessing of our situation.
When I look back on how I heard of yoga, I know someplace along the way, Ram Das was nearby. And I don’t remember when I first heard the word yoga, but it occurred much prior to my popular understanding. So I might have, like many people, developed a conceptual, pre-verbal, understanding of yoga that suddenly had acquired a name- and I followed the jargon and teachings of those who came before and have made a lot of my own intentions based on that understanding. Who knew back then that what I leaned included the lifetime of work a guy like Ram Das. He brings life to dharma in a way that allows me to take my own journey, be it to India or into my held beliefs painful, joyful or otherwise. It is only my journey to take while up ahead Ram Das laughs and beckons me and everyone onward.
Popular culture aside, the benefit of dharma is available to anyone who seeks it and puts it to use. A guru is not someone to mimic or imitate, because we could not share in their precise and exact karma anyway and certainly have our own dharma to attend to. A guru cannot also be simply associated with, within the absence of our own karma and dharma. We have our work to do. The guru wants above all for us to be liberated. For our sake and theirs, it’s probably lonely and boring being the who knows. Dharma is to be a shared experience.
This experience and the outcome in my shared world with my friends and family feels like an empowerment. I can finally open up to my song and share it, to sing with people to sing their song with them. I am so grateful for dharma in my life and to Ram Das and Krishna Das. I heard KD in 1999 and I wanted to sing just like he did. So I did, in private and in a way that worked for me. Back then I felt like a fraud because even though I had the desire, I did not understand just what I believed in and without the heart the mind can’t be unbound.
So I sang the Hanuman Chalisa, the Bhagavad Gita, the Ngondro , the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali, the Heart Sutra and everything and anything, pop-songs and all the Greatest Hits- and now I’m ready to share. I sorted it out, do the little things the masters recommend in passing. Those are seeds of dharma. I’m glad I waited, so those seeds could grow roots.
I’m sticking with the teachings, simple and heard in passing because even in pride and ego they flourish. One day they win and the ego is happy to surrende. Keep up the practice of whatever dharma you know and it will take you to “All”. Or just keep singing.
See you all soon and often, look for chanting on the schedule on Thursdays at 8pm, Friday’s at 9am and Saturdays at 11am
Much Love- Casey