much metta Sri K Pattabhi Jois 1915-2009

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..

http://www.kpjayi.org/biography.html

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

OM
vande gurunam caranaravinde
sandarsita svatmasukhava bodhe
nishreyase jangalikayamane
samsara halahala mohasantyai

abahu purusakaram
sankhacakrasi dharinam
sahasra sirasam svetam
pranamami patanjalim
OM
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)
OM

~ translation Micheal Stone

Upanishads and additional yoga classes

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…

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.

AUM
Shanti
Shanti
Shantihi

back to the cushion, buddhist advice and more workshops

April 11th, 2009

Life flows faster as the Spring sun and warmth begin to touch my skin and heart.

Its been a busy few months and i think it the I’ve finally come back to a place where I am starting to feel grounded again.

Let the rambling begin…

I was burning the candle at both ends for a little too long, but I feel excited by what the future might now hold. I have some great ideas and opportunities that I hope to capitalize on and I’m setting the intention to take care of myself a little more.

I had a booth at the yoga show selling my yoga and meditation supplies and it went really well again this year. My meditation cushions were going like hotcakes! I had wonderful compliments on the quality of the products all weekend long and I hope that some of the new contacts made manifest soon.

Although it was a lot of hard work, i had great help and i loved the opportunity to reconnect with some of the yoga and meditation community that I haven’t seen in a while!

Aside from that, in order to commit to more ME time I have signed up for two meditation retreats coming up in the next month and i’ve recently started to find more time to spend on the cushion. I’ve forgotten how much of a difference regular sitting makes as you roll through the average day!

My latest inspiration was a Buddhist Saying that I came across a little while ago.. it is so simple, yet profound and as such I would like to share it…

Act as if the future of the Universe depends on what you do;
While laughing at yourself for thinking your actions make a difference.

~Buddhist Advice~

Love it!

On a yoga note.. Kaelyn and I have had so much fun with our partner workshops that we’ve lined up some new sessions at some great studios across the city… We even have a mother’s day workshop ready to go!!

8 LIMBS, 2 HEARTS Partner Flow Workshop ¦

Jivamukti Yoga Toronto

Date ¦ Sunday April 26th 2009 ¦ 3.00pm - 5.00pm

Bring a spouse, partner or friend as well as a sense of playfulness and come experience a partner vinyasa flow yoga workshop with Sebastian and Kaelyn.

Working with a partner can bring a whole new depth and awareness to your practice. Serving as a mirror, your partner will help you with alignment, balance and concentration while both of you deepen your connection through trust and plenty of laughter.

This workshop is a flow based practice which includes: a brief discussion on partner yoga, various postures from the Primary Series, an introduction to basic assists and concludes with a lengthy relaxation.

Some experience with Jivamukti and/or Ashtanga yoga is recommended while a sense of adventure and humour is a requirement!

www.8limbs2heartsyoga.com

$50 for two participants


8 LIMBS, 2 HEARTS Partner & Mothers Day Course ¦

Fireflow Yoga

Date ¦ Saturday May 9th 2009 ¦ 2.00pm - 4.00pm

Bring your mom, partner, or friend as well as a sense of playfulness and come experience a partner yoga workshop with Sebastian and Kaelyn.

Working with a partner can bring a whole new depth and awareness to your practice. Serving as a mirror, your partner will help you with alignment, balance and concentration while both of you deepen your connection through trust and plenty of laughter.

This workshop will include meditation, seated postures, basic standing postures and conclude with some gentle restorative postures and a lengthy relaxation.

What a great way to spend time connecting with that special someone in your life!

www.8limbs2heartsyoga.com

$40 for two particpants

blog updates, partner yoga and Jataka tales

March 6th, 2009

Hello triplegem blog readers,

It’be been a long time, a long winter and a tough blog to handle. 

I’ve had some serious difficulties with my blog (as you may have noticed) and have had it upgraded and reinstalled on numerous occasions.  I think it might finally be working again.

Since this blog has been down, i’ve also started a new one to promote my new found love for partner yoga. It’s a slow process but my friend Kaelyn and I will be attempting to keep it updated with our upcoming workshops and yoga entries.

You can take a peek at   8limbs2heartsyoga.com 

For info about our 4 week partner course at the yoga sanctuary starting this Sunday March 8th please click here

Howevever, back this blog at hand…I do plan on continuing my anitya series, but I have also noticed that so many of my blog ideas seem to wind up manifesting when i teach yoga classes these days.

I’ve even used some of the Jataka stories in my classes to inspire both myself and the students.

The Jataka tales if you are not familiar with them are wonderful stories/fables often using animals to illustrate buddhist lessons. It is said that these stories and legends capture Buddha’s previous existences and many would probably sound very familiar to most of us. 

I’ve attached one of my current favourites below so enjoy and hopefully i’ll have more fun material here soon!

“The Brave Little Parrot”

Adapted by Rafe Martin, from an ancient Jataka tale from India. Found in More Best-loved Stores Told at the National Storytelling Festival, (August House,1992.) Martin has published other versions of this tale in The Hungry Tigress: Buddhist Myths, legends and Jataka Tales (Yellow Moon Press, 1999) and as a children’s picture book, The Brave Little Parrot ( G.P. Putnam’s, 1998, illustrated by Susan Gaber.)
Once a little parrot lived happily in a beautiful forest. But one day without warning, lightning flashed, thunder crashed, and a dead tree burst into flames. Sparks, carried on the rising wind, began to leap from branch to branch and tree to tree.

The little parrot smelled the smoke. “Fire!” she cried. “Run to the river!”

Flapping her wings, rising higher and higher, she flew toward the safety of the river’s far shore. After all, she was a bird and could fly away.

But as she flew, she could see that many animals were already surrounded by the flames and could not escape. Suddenly a desperate idea, a way to save them, came to her.

Darting to the river, she dipped herself in the water. Then she flew back over the now-raging fire. Thick smoke coiled up, filling the sky. Walls of flame shot up, now on one side, now on the other. Pillars of fire leapt before her. Twisting and turning through a mad maze of flame, the little parrot flew bravely on.

Having reached the heart of the burning forest, the little parrot shook her wings. And the few tiny drops of water that still clung to her feathers tumbled like jewels down into the flames and vanished with a hiss.

Then the little parrot flew back through the flames and smoke to the river. Once more she dipped herself in the cool water and flew back over the burning forest. Once more she shook her wings, and a few drops of water tumbled like jewels into the flames. Hissssss.

Back and forth she flew, time and again from the river to the forest, from the forest to the river. Her feathers became charred. Her feet and claws were scorched. Her lungs ached. Her eyes burned. Her mind spun dizzily as a spinning spark. Still the little parrot flew on.

At that moment some of the blissful gods floating overhead in their cloud palaces of ivory and gold happened to look down and see the little parrot flying among the flames. They pointed at her with their perfect hands. Between mouthfuls of honeyed foods, the exclaimed, “Look at that foolish bird! She’s trying to put out a raging forest fire with a few sprinkles of water! How absurd!” They laughed.

But one of those gods, strangely moved, changed himself into a golden eagle and flew down, down toward the little parrot’s fiery path.

The little parrot was just nearing the flames again, when a great eagle with eyes like molten gold appeared at her side. “Go back, little bird!” said the eagle in a solemn and majestic voice. “Your task is hopeless. A few drops of water can’t put out a forest fire. Cease now, and save yourself before it is too late.”

But the little parrot continued to fly on through the smoke and flames. She could hear the great eagle flying above her as the heat grew fiercer. He called out, “Stop, foolish little parrot! Stop! Save yourself!”

“I don’t need some great, shining eagle,” coughed the little parrot, “to tell me that. My own mother, the dear bird, could have told me the same thing long ago. Advice! I don’t need advice. I just” cough, cough “need someone to help!”

Rising higher, the eagle, who as a god, watched the little parrot flying through the flames. High above he could see his own kind, those carefree gods, still laughing and talking even as many animals cried out in pain and fear far below. He grew ashamed of the gods’ carefree life, and a single desire was kindled in his heart.

“God though I am,” he exclaimed, “how I wish I could be just like that little parrot. Flying on, brave and alone, risking all to help ”what a rare and marvelous thing! What a wonderful little bird!”

Moved by these new feelings, the great eagle began to weep. Stream after stream of sparkling tears began pouring from his eyes. Wave upon wave, they fell, washing down like a torrent of rain upon the fire, upon the forest, upon the animals and the little parrot herself.

Where those cooling tears fell, the sparks shrank down and died. Smoke still curled up from the scorched earth, yet new life was already boldly pushing forth shoots, stems, blossoms, and leaves. Green grass sprang up from along the still-glowing cinders.

Where the eagle’s teardrops sparkled on the little parrot’s wings, new feathers now grew: red feathers, green feathers, yellow feathers, too. Such bright colors! Such a pretty bird!

The animals looked at one another in amazement. They were whole and well. Not one had been harmed. Up above in the clear blue sky they could see their brave friend. the little parrot, looping and soaring in delight. When all hope was gone, somehow she had saved them.

“Hooray!” they cried. “Hooray for the brave little parrot and for this sudden, miraculous rain!”

http://www.healingstory.org/wwwboard/littleparrot/BraveLittleParrot.html