Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Kalutskikh Brothers

Here is something to really knock your socks off!
Just incase you thought you were practicing yoga to increase your flexibility... think again!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Morning Darshan with Guruji

This morning students at the AYRI received a rare Darshan from Sri K. Pattabhi Jois-Guruji. Rising from their own 'savasana' a long line of students cued up to bow to Guruji from the shala floor as he sat in the office. To me Guruji radiated a new and very profound peace and strength, perhaps as one who has faced death and been able to reconcile his personal experience of 'abhinivesah'.

We have been blessed to study Ashtanga Yoga with this great master.
Om Sri Gurubhyo Namah Harih Om!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Cosmetic Yoga

This is an advertisement we saw in Bangkok prior to arriving in India. I've been thinking about its implications a lot lately and just what exactly is this "yoga" that we're doing.

Is it just a trendy fad that can be distilled down to a catch phrase like "Natural Bliss," and another means of selling anything from books and clothing to make-up, cars, and computers.

What do cosmetics have to do with yoga anyway? Or more pointedly, what does society's idea of "being beautiful" have to do with real yoga?

It seems to me that this picture actually highlights something quite profound about how yoga is being approached today. It seems that more and more people are merely practicing yoga for its "cosmetic value" and nothing more. To us, Yoga is not about getting a more beautiful body, tighter abs, or a sexier ass. It is not about creating some image of external beauty, or trying to "fit-in" with the latest trend. It is about seeing and experiencing your inner beauty, the reality within. It is a pertinent issue to ponder, in light of a recent article on “yoga masters” that came out in Vanity Fair Magazine. Are we really practicing and living the teachings of yoga in our daily lives, or are we just buying into another superficial image that is trying to sell us something else we don't really need?

Yoga means to 'yoke' or 'create union'. It can be described as both the process and the goal of becoming completely whole. It is a method for connecting all aspects of oneself and integrating them into a unified being. It is also the act of reaching out and creating union with other people, with the environment, and with the Oneness of all things.
The process of yoga starts to strengthen qualities of truth, sincerity, and integrity within the practitioner.
It is about getting Honest with yourself and living in Reality. It leads to a complete acceptance of oneself and others. Yoga is not about putting on more layers to cover-up who we really are. It is about peeling off all the layers that cover our True Self. It leads to the realization of how completely perfect and beautiful we all are - just as we are - AS IS.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Our Interview with Alex Medin

Alex is one of the few teachers in the world officially certified to teach Ashtanga Yoga by Pattabhi Jois and the AYRI (Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute) in Mysore. In 2004, he completed his post-graduate degree in Sanskrit and Indian religions and has since taught yoga all over the world. Currently, can be either be found practicing in Mysore, or teaching for Pure Yoga at one of their many studios in Asia. It was our honor and pleasure to answer a few questions for him and to be included in his blog for Pure Yoga.

If you are interested to see a current photo of us, and to read our interview with him, please see: Alex's Pure Yoga Blog.

Hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Back In The Swing Of Things!

Well, it has been a while since we've last written anything. We've been all over the place this last month! Now we're back in the sleepy little city of Mysore taking classes with Sharath and Saraswathi in the big shala, while Guruji recovers.

Pagoda at Chennai Vipassana Center

Here are some photos of our adventures over the month of April. We took a couple of weeks and went to Chennai, where we sat a 10 day Vipassana course at the center there. It is a very beautiful center, and the intense 10 days of meditation were exactly what we needed to help to process all the changes that the occurred over the last couple months.

Dhamma Hall at Vipassana Center in Chennai

The Beach where the Tsunami hit in 2004

While we were in Chennai we visited the Vivekananda House (Swami Vivekananda is the most famous disciple of Ramakrishna and he introduced Yoga to the West in 1893).
The Vivekananda House is a place where Swami Vivekananda stayed for a short time, and it has been turned into a museum in honor of Vivekananda. It is located right on the beach that the Tsunami had covered in 2004. The house itself has a long and interesting history. It used to be called the "Ice House" because it was where the Indian people would store the Ice that they purchased from the English before they learned how to make ice themselves.

After visiting the Vivekananda House we went to see the Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram.

Then we were taken on a little pilgrimage to the tomb of the Apostle St. Thomas (doubting Thomas of the Bible). St. Thomas brought Christianity to India and was Martyred in a place just outside of Chennai.

A relic of St. Thomas the Apostle of Jesus

After visiting the tomb of the Apostle Thomas we went to a cave where he lived and preached outside of for several years. There is a cross engraved on the cave, and it is said that he carved it with his own hands. Apparently the cross used to sweat blood every year on the anniversary of his death.

Jeff in the cave where St. Thomas used to live

We have also been to 2 huge pujas. Here is some pictures of the first one we went to in the house of our friend Dr. Shantala, who is a Doctor of Ayurveda.

Puja offerings being made

The opening of the Puja

We've also been teaching yoga every morning to the kids of our house keeper Rathna.
Here are some photos of the children learning some yoga in our house.


Magna (age 4)

Radhikha & Kiran (age 12 & 14)