Archive for May, 2009

much metta Sri K Pattabhi Jois 1915-2009

Wednesday, May 20th, 2009

The yoga community and the world as a whole lost a wonderful being May 18 2009.

Sri K Pattabhi Jois, a student of Sri T. Krishnamacharya, left this world recently but not before leaving an incredible abundance of love, wisdom, compassion, strength, not to mention gifted teachers of the Ashtanga Vinyasa method behind for all of us. 

The practice of Ashtanga Vinyasa is a system of yoga that I am very drawn to and it is the method that really spawned my deep love of yoga and asana in particluar.

I offer Guruji (as he was known) much metta and gratitude!

While I never had the  pleasure of practicing directly under his guidance, I have however had the priviledge to have been taught by some of his senior students and his teachings shine through them.

For his biography please see..

On a personal note, I am convinced that there is a direct link with lineages and the idea of transmission is so readily evident.  When practicing a certain method for long periods of time, using the same meditation, mantra or chant or asana etc.. we can’t help but connect with all those that practice likewise.  THat includes all those that came and all those that are yet to come. 

On the day of Guruji’s passing, I awoke early with an incredible urge to practice the ashtanga primary series at home..this is not something I would particularly do, as in the scenario where I wake up early,  I would typically sit in meditation. 

During the course of my practice I felt particularly strong, focused and present (and I didn’t skip the poses that I particularly don’t like :)…there is no doubt in my mind that something was radiating through the Kosmos conncecting so many ashtangis and yogis alike.. and this something was Pattabhi Jois’ love

I offer you my metta Guruji..thank you for your gifts!


Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga Mantram

vande gurunam caranaravinde
sandarsita svatmasukhava bodhe
nishreyase jangalikayamane
samsara halahala mohasantyai

abahu purusakaram
sankhacakrasi dharinam
sahasra sirasam svetam
pranamami patanjalim
I bow to the two lotus feet of the Gurus
which awaken insight into the happiness of pure Being,
which are the refuge, the jungle physicians,
which eliminate the delusion caused by the poisonous herb of Samara (conditioned existence)

I prostrate before the sage Patanjali
who has thousands of radiant, white heads (as the divine serpent, Ananta)
and who has, as far as his arms, assumed the form of a man
holding a conch shell (divine sound), a wheel (discus of light or infinite time) and a sword (discrimination)

~ translation Micheal Stone

Upanishads and additional yoga classes

Thursday, May 14th, 2009

Following on the theme of my last blog about the Upanishads, I enjoyed these lines as well…

Unmoving the one is faster than the mind.
The angels do not reach it, as it is always beyond them.
Standing still it passes beyond those who run.
In it the Mother establishes the waters.
It moves, and it does not move.
It is far, and it is near.
It is within all this, and it is also outside all this.

Whoever sees all beings in the soul
and the soul in all beings
does not shrink away from this.
In whom all beings have become one with the knowing soul
what delusion or sorrow is there for the one who sees unity?
It has filled all.

~Excerpt from the ISHA UPANISHAD - English version by Sanderson Beck

By the way, for those that have been coming to my various yoga classes or have been meaning to attend some classes, I’ve been asked to take on a few extra classes for the next while to cover some holidays etc.. that should be a lot of fun!

Sebastian’s teaching schedule at the yoga sanctuary college…

Saturday May 16 – ROCKET VINYASA CLASS – 11:45-1:15 – Advanced

Saturdays May 16, May 23, June 13 – Ashtanga level I/II – 5:00-6:30

Sunday August 9 – Partner Acroyoga Workshop  - preregistration required

Brahman exhales…

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

Recently I’ve returned to reading some of the sacred Hindu scriptures that make up the the core of Vedanta..the Upanishads.

These are beautiful lyrics that can twist and bend the mind in every direction possible.

I can’t remember which Upanishad this came from, perhaps the Katha Upanishad? but I was drawn to two lines and allowed them to float around in my mind space (I may have paraphrased a bit)

Brahman exhales the sacred breath
Who is it that inhales?

Let that percolate…

This reminds me of the koans so often found in zen such as:

“What is your Original face, the one you had before your parents were born?”

As I allowed these words to absorb into my consciousness, I found myself continuing with the lines in my own way…

When Brahman exhales the sacred breath
The self inhales
And the SELF exhales

I then asked myself, what on earth did I mean by that??

So.. I figured I’d try to write it down.

BRAHMAN exhaling is Sunyata, God, Pure Consciousness or my favourite way to name the Unnamable….“Infinite Potentiality”

The breath being Prana, Chi, or life..the energetic complement to Consciousness (my current view is that consciousness is NOT energy but they are two sides of one coin).
The breath is the creative physical expression of Potentiality.

The self inhaling is the first grasp at the breath, at EXPERIENCE , a sense of interiority regardless as to how subtle it may be.  This inhale is the initial experience of BEING which eventually leads to the notion of Duality and the progressive development of the “I” as ego or as self apart from other selves i.e. Dukkha

During this one cycle of breath or life, the idea and feeling of something greater begins to shine through.  This feeling is coloured by the lens of perception, culture and psychophysical elements. With gentle cultivation this feeling starts to get stronger and it can lead to a dropping of the small “self” and it’s identifications with glimpses of an Authentic SELF.  A SELF which transcends the small perspectives of an individual ego.

Perhaps that is the moment of the shift from the self to the SELF?.  That tiny instant between the inhale leading to the exhale. It is here that the Authentic Self starts to replace the egoic self in the form of selfless acts of wisdom and compassion in the world….the EXHALE

The SELF and this EXHALE while retaining a very subtle form of  identity shines with life and love for all to see… the unique jewel that reflects all the other jewels in Indra’s net.

The end of this exhale then brings us back to where we never started..

Brahman exhales the sacred breath
Who is it that inhales?

Nirvana is Samasara is Nirvana.