Aug 12, 2013

Yoga Comics: Surya Namaskar & a Demonstration

The Amazing Surya Namaskara!! Doing “salutes to the sun” renders life heavenly and blissful and is the secret to everlasting youth!

In Yoga Mala, Sri K. Pattabhi Jois (“Guruji”) talks in depth about the benefits of the Surya Namaskara. Guruji explained that by practicing the Surya Namaskara, all ailments, including mental illness, can be cured. He says, “To keep the body, which is the foundation of the performance of all sorts of meritorious deeds, pure and free from obstacles such as disease as much as possible, the Surya Namaskara and yogasana are very important. Indeed, in the present world, they are essential to all, men and women, young and old….”

Here is more background to the amazing and revitalizing power of the Surya Namaskara from Yoga Mala: “The practice of the Surya Namaskara, or Sun Salutations, has come down to us from the long distant past, and is capable of rendering human life heavenly and blissful. By means of it, people can become joyous, experience happiness and contentment, and avoid succumbing to old age and death…
Yet, nowadays, without ever having learned the traditions and practices of their ancestors and having not control over their sense organs, people engage in self-indulgence and destroy their mental powers for the sake of tangible gain. They deny reality simply because it cannot be seen and make their lives miserable, or subject to disease, poverty, and death. If they were to follow the traditions of their ancestors, however, they would develop their bodies and minds, and, in so doing, make possible the realization of the nature of the Self, as a scriptural authority confirms: ‘Nayam atma balahinena labhyah (This Self cannot be gained by one devoid of strength)’….
By following the precept of the great sages, ‘Shariramadyam khalu dharma Sadhanam (The first duty is to take care of the body, which is the means to the pursuit of spiritual life),’ our ancestors found the means to bodily health.”

The daily duty of performing Surya Namaskara was believed to instill the blessings of the Sun God who brings good health. Guruji says, “If we reflect on the saying, ‘Arogyam bhaskarad icchet (One should desire health from the Sun),’ it is clear that those blessed by the Sun God live healthy lives. Therefore, for health – the greatest wealth of all – to be attained, the blessings of the Sun God must alone be sought.”
The Sun planet has played a very powerful roll in all cultures. Surya, the Sun God, represents the visible form of the divine, one that you can plainly see every day. The Sun is believed to heal the sick and bring good fortune.
Guruji says, “The method for doing Surya Namaskara has been described in various ways by various people. We cannot categorically state which is correct, but when we reflect on the science of yoga, we see that the tradition of Surya Namaskara follows, in the main, the method of vinyasa, or breathing and movement system, the movements of rechaka, or exhalation, puraka, or inhalation, and meditation. According to the yoga shastra, this tradition includes: vinyasa; rechaka and puraka; dhyana (meditation); drishti (sight, or gazing place); and the bandhas (muscle contractions, or locks). And this alone is the method which should be followed when learning the Surya Namaskara, as yogis declare from experience. Indeed, the Sun Salutations done without following the rules mentioned above are little more than exercise, and not true Surya Namaskara.”
Via The Yoga Comics
Editors: Jessica Walden and Elise Espat (Albuquerque Ashtanga Yoga Shala)
Cartoon guy: Boonchu Tanti, Ashtanga Illustrations by Boonchu / Ashtanga Yoga Center Of Bangkok. - AYBKK

This video was taken in 2010 during Dasara. I'm on the far left :)

Aug 10, 2013

Weekend Edition #17 Sharath in Moscow and Copenhagen

"Guru To Go. A portrait of R. Sharath Jois" is a sweet mini doc by Alessandro Sigismondi chronicling R. Sharath Jois' visit to Copenhagen hosted by Astanga Yoga Copenhagen.

Here are notes from Sharath's Moscow Conference (2013 July 28) hosted and posted by Ashtanga Yoga Moscow.  There is also a livestream of Sharath teaching a led class here.

Next stops:
Stockholm: August 11 – 16
Helsinki: August 18 – 23
London: August 25 – 30
Saraswathi in Helsinki: September 22 – 27
Saraswathi in Kiev: September 29 – October 4

Aug 3, 2013

Weekend Edition #16 The week in review

Thanks to the participants and organizers of last weekend's Anahata Yoga Festival in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  It was a wonderful event and there is already talk about the next one...

Here are a few articles, posts, and conference notes worth a read:

For the home practitioners, there is also a new live stream of Sharath teaching in Moscow:

I'm heading to Mysore in the fall to practice and study with my teacher R. Sharath Jois.  Here is a glimpse of a led intermediate class at the shala a couple of years ago:

Lastly, I've opened up an online shop to help raise funds for my trip and also for Uttarakhand disaster relief.  Check it out!

Thanks for reading!

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