Sutrasana workshop in Sherman Oaks – Sat. Aug. 30th 2pm

sutrasanaI dedicate this workshop to my teacher and Guru, the great Śri BKS Iyengar.

Applying the language, insights and techniques from the wisdom literature of yoga into Asana practice will bring this philosophy to light in a practical way. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali are an uncanny depiction of the human condition and potential for transformation. Standing poses, inversions and basic backbends in this workshop will uplift the heart while anchoring the body and mind.

How am I able, and how have I come to embrace this life?

Guruji introduced me to the wisdom teachings, the Yoga Sutras, the Bhagavad Gita, and the Hatha Yoga Pradipika. The Upanishads, with their poetry and mystery, have further inspired how I approach weaving the practice of Yoga into every corner of my life. Yes, the “corners” can be sharp, with the twists and turns in our lives, and yet it is through these that the we polish facets of understanding into clarity, gratitude, empathy, and serenity. What Guruji called the Virtues, or healthy Vŗittis described in sutra 1.33 of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, have shaped my attitudes toward things and helped to radically change my outlook on life. Perhaps this is part of maturation, or getting older and “wiser”, but without guideposts it is easy to wander astray among the many distractions of modern day living. Śri BKS Iyengar gave everything to his studies, students, practice, and family. His life, with his own mortal struggles, became an example of one who could turn the tide of mental and physical challenges into a benevolent and wholesome life.

Guruji’s virtues (and my adaptation): “Maitri” friendliness (kindness), “Karuna” compassion (empathy), “Mudita” joy in other’s growth (respect and honor in one another’s growth), “Upeksha” indifference or neutrality to those full of vice (equanimity).

For more information, or to sign up, please visit http://goo.gl/5goU47

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Requiem

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAhow do we say good bye
to a piece of our heart?
we can’t
It breaths with us
It weeps with us
It loves with us
Dear heart,
Grant me the serenity to accept
the things that I cannot change
what we can do
is remember
Remember, we have wept
Remember that we love
Remember, Guruji said
“my end is your beginning”
Remember, Guruji said
“I have shown you all of these things
now realize them for yourself”

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Song of the Soul, by Shankaracharya

bks-iyengar-portrait

I am finding great solace in this, one of Guruji’s favorite poems, and will read it every day, for the next 12 days.

I am neither ego nor reason,
I am neither mind nor thought,
I cannot be heard nor cast into words,
nor by smell nor sight ever caught:
In light and wind I am not found,
nor yet in earth and sky -
Consciousness and joy incarnate,
Bliss of the Blissful am I.

I have no name, I have no life, I breathe no vital air,
No elements have molded me, no bodily sheath is my lair:
I have no speech, no hands and feet, nor means of evolution -
Consciousness and joy am I, and Bliss in dissolution.

I cast aside hatred and passion, I conquered delusion and greed;
No touch of pride caressed me, so envy never did breed:
Beyond all faiths, past reach of wealth, past freedom, past desire
Consciousness and joy am I, and Bliss is my attire.

Virtue and vice, or pleasure and pain are not my heritage,
Nor sacred texts, nor offerings, nor prayer, nor pilgrimage:
I am neither food nor eating, nor yet the eater am I -
Consciousness and joy incarnate, Bliss of the Blissful am I.

I have no misgivings of death, no chasms of race divide me,
No parent ever called me child, no bond of birth ever tied me:
I am neither disciple nor master, I have no kin, no friend -
Consciousness and joy am I, and merging in Bliss is my end.

Neither knowable, knowledge, nor knower am I, formless is my form,
I dwell within the senses but they are not my home:
Ever serenely balanced, I am neither free nor bound -
Consciousness and joy am I, and Bliss is where I am found.

-from the Introduction in Light on Yoga

 

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To Guruji

The sky is great, vast
The sea is deep, and mighty
Guruji, your Sadhana was life itself
The thorns and roses
The fragile knees and sibilant exhalations
The cry of painful release and sighs of relief
Students leaving medical class
Playful and joyous with your great granddaughter
Amidst peals of laughter, gently taking her upside down
Sitting at your desk in the library, coffee in the afternoon
Dictating your advice and instructions to teachers worldwide
Politely receiving guests, graciously greeting friends
Accepting salutations and flowers in the lobby
So many coming from France, Israel, China … everywhere
And the moments of complete rapture
Listening to you explain the finer points of Tadasana
Your white dhoti, golden trim sweeping the asana floor
Preparing for practice, timer in place, Sirsasana
Wherever I positioned my mat, whether I could see you or not
You knew. The days to be kind, the days to be firm
Fearless in the face of my illness
You steered me through the fading of my health
To a practice that became my resurrection
Pranams Guruji. Once I found myself flat on my stomach
Outstretched with my hands touching your feet
Not sure how I got there, but it was tender
Your eyes (and eyebrows)!
Your feet!

“To live spiritually is to live in the present moment.”  -Tree of Yoga

May my Sadhana be a tribute and a celebration to you, Guruji
May I live fully in the present moment

For
While the sky is great, and vast
So is my heart
And while the sea is deep and mighty
So are you, Guruji
Love overflowing…
pranams-to-guruji

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Salute the sun on Sunday, August 17th at IYILA

Lisa in Virabhadrasana ISurya Namaskar gives mobility, alertness, speed, sharpness and freedom while developing will power and physical strength. -Śri Geeta Iyengar

Join me this Sunday, August 17th at the Iyengar Yoga Institute of Los Angeles for a workshop where we will refine each stage of the cycle and target the core, shoulder, and back alignment necessary to practice effectively. Modifications are plentiful and props will support and challenge the practice.

In closing, we’ll chant the Surya mantras (names of the sun). Traditionally, Surya Namaskar, was a daily prayer of movement and mantra performed at dawn. The circular choreography of the sequence rides the wave of the breath, opening the chest and heart and then bowing down to the earth. The Surya mantras that accompany each cycle embody up lifting qualities that, when chanted and reflected upon, become deeply personal and inspiring. The 12 Surya mantras are:

  1. Oṁ Mitrāya Namaḥ : Salutations to the friend in all
  2. Oṁ Ravaye Namaḥ : Salutations to the Shining One, pure, bright
  3. Oṁ Sūryāya Namaḥ : Salutations to the Source of Creation, creativity
  4. Oṁ Bhānave Namaḥ : Salutations to the One who Illumines, brings insight
  5. Oṁ Khagaya Namaḥ : Salutations to the One who moves through the sky, time
  6. Oṁ Pūṣṇe Namaḥ : Salutations to the Giver of strength and nourishment
  7. Oṁ Hiraṇyagarbhāya Namaḥ : Salutations to the golden cosmic womb, feminine
  8. Oṁ Marīcaye Namaḥ : Salutations to the rays of the Sun
  9. Oṁ Ādityāya Namaḥ : Salutations to the Infinite Cosmic Mother, caring
  10. Oṁ Savitre Namaḥ : Salutations to the Rising Sun, new beginnings, dawn
  11. Oṁ Arkāya Namaḥ : Salutations to the Source of Life Energy, courage
  12. Oṁ Bhāskarāya Namaḥ : Salutations to the One who leads to Enlightenment

Oṁ Śrī Savitri Surya Narayanaya Namaḥ

For more information, please visit http://www.iyila.org/lisa.
To register, please visit http://goo.gl/4HqZ5Y .

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Tri Yoga Soho Rocks!

image
I’ll be teaching at Tri Yoga Soho, in London, for the first time, this weekend. I look forward to sharing the mystical and wisdom teachings of yoga and asana with those who’ll be joining us. I hope you can join us too!

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Guru Purnima

Sri BKS Iyengar at his 95th birthday celebration, in Pune, India

Sri BKS Iyengar at his 95th birthday celebration, in Pune, India

In India, Guru Purnima is held on the full moon in July/August. This Sunday, July 15th, from 2pm to 4pm, at the Iyengar Yoga Institute, in Los Angeles, we will celebrate with a teacher team taught class dedicated to our teachers Sri BKS Iyengar, Geetaji and Prashantji. For details, please visit
http://www.iyila.org/news/guru-purnima

In Sanskrit, the root “Gu” refers to darkness or ignorance, while “Ru” means the remover of darkness. Our teachers do help us to, through our practice, find ways that we avoid or are addicted to sensations, and ideas of the way that we think things should be. Habits are hard to identify, as they have become so familiar. These habits form our experience. The Upanishads say:

Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habits. Watch your habits; they become your character. Watch your character; for it becomes your destiny.

Through a daily yoga practice we encounter many habits; some of them create a pleasurable experience and others are helpful as they point out fears and ways that we undermine growth. Guruji Iyengar encourages us to cultivate a reflective attitude throughout practice, what he calls reflection in action. This has been a life long practice for me, and one that has helped to remove darkness to see the play of insight, endeavor, patience and persistence pay off. I am eternally grateful to my teachers!

 

 

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Surya Namaskara, Friday, 9am @ Yoga Works – Montana

Light has always been a metaphor for inspiration, wisdom and warmth. When the summerbday 2012 solstice, the longest day of the year, approaches, I relish in the qualities the sun invokes in the world around me. In my yoga practice, I visit one cherished way of practicing Surya Namaskara, with invocations. Before each of the twelve cycles, I chant the Salutation, and reflect on the meaning while in the pose. For example, in the first cycle, I feel the contact of my feet and hands on the earth, one of friendship and appreciation for the many ways that the earth flourishes with the light of the sun. We’ll close with the Gayatri Mantra. Join me for this wonderful practice at the Montana Yoga Works at 9am.

Oṁ Mitrāya Namaḥ : Salutations to the friend in all

Oṁ Ravaye Namaḥ : Salutations to the Shining One, pure, bright

Oṁ Sūryāya Namaḥ : Salutations to the Source of Creation, creativity

Oṁ Bhānave Namaḥ : Salutations to the One who Illumines, brings insight

Oṁ Khagaya Namaḥ : Salutations to the One who moves through the sky, time

Oṁ Pūṣṇe Namaḥ : Salutations to the Giver of strength and nourishment

Oṁ Hiraṇyagarbhāya Namaḥ : Salutations to the golden cosmic womb, feminine

Oṁ Marīcaye Namaḥ : Salutations to the rays of the Sun

Oṁ Ādityāya Namaḥ : Salutations to the Infinite Cosmic Mother, caring

Oṁ Savitre Namaḥ : Salutations to the Rising Sun, new beginnings, dawn

Oṁ Arkāya Namaḥ : Salutations to the Source of Life Energy, courage

Oṁ Bhāskarāya Namaḥ : Salutations to the One who leads to Enlightenment

Oṁ Śrī Savitri Surya Narayanaya Namaḥ

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An Introduction to Sutrasana

Yoga, Gita, Breath, Reflection, Relationship, Resolve, Revelation.. 

I will be teaching in London, July 25th to the 27th, and made a short video to support the event. I braved the intimidation of the camera! Please watch the video, and visit http://goo.gl/sxSepx for more information, or to sign up. It will be a super workshop. I look forward to seeing you there!

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Join me in London July 25th to July 27th

LW1Applying the language, insights, and techniques from Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras and the Bhagavad Gita into Asana practice will bring these ideas gems of spiritual insight to light in a practical way.

Asana practice: Through the lens of sacred texts
July 25th – 27th, 2014 (Friday thru Sunday)
Triyoga Soho, London, England (map)

Each of the classes can be taken individually, as well:

Fri. July 25th, 7:45pm – 10:15pm
Prana and Prajna: Experience the vital energy in the body, prana, on an elemental level through breath awareness woven into the postures; and build an internal sensory vocabulary of energy to discern “Prajna” what is best for you. Restorative practice

Sat. July 26th, 10am – 12:30pm
Pramana – Correct perception in standing poses: The technical foundation required to build stability, space, and mobility in these poses and to fine tune them to your unique body sharpens perception.  Please have one year, or more, of practice

Sat. July 26th, 2pm – 4:30pm
Svadhyaha – Study of the self: While Inversions turn our world upside down, they also reinforce internal equilibrium. Learning to balance receptivity with strength is Arjuna’s challenge in the Gita.  For those with a basic headstand practice

Sun. July 27th, 10am – 12.30pm
Kriya and Karma: Arm balances and backward extensions demand fearlessness and courage. Arjuna reflected deeply before engaging, to discern the nature of action itself. You cannot throw yourself into these poses, they require a progressive preparation and understanding to practice effectively.
For intermediate students (beginners are welcome and will be given alternative postures)

Sun. July 27th, 2pm – 4:30pm
Chitta Prasadanam: Twists and forward extensions invite us into a delicious and still spaciousness. The Yoga Sutras give equal attention to what to do and how to undo. Free your practice from striving and grasping to integrate the breath, body and senses into a unified experience.   One year, or more, of practice.

Lisa Walford was an essential influence on my teaching and is a rare jewel in the yoga world as she is masterful in how she sees and understands bodies. I highly recommend attending her workshop to gain a deeper understanding of how to safely and skillfully enjoy your practice and teach others.” – Sarah Powers

Lisa Walford, Intermediate Senior certified Iyengar instructor, has been teaching in the Los Angeles area for thirty years. She is a founding member of Iyengar Yoga Therapeutics, an assessor for the Iyengar Yoga National Association of the US, and has written Master Class articles for Yoga Journal. Her visits to Pune began in 1986.

For more information, or to sign up, Please visit https://www.triyoga.co.uk/book-courses-workshops?x=1&teacher=100000963

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