A classmate of mine had made the comment over the weekend that he thought Yoga Mala was " a dry read " in comparison to other teacher's " more interesting " books on yoga.
My response to this was , " It wasn't written by just a teacher , but by a Guru " , and , " it wasn't meant to be entertaining either. "
His words provided a clear insight as to why I had always felt his practice's energy had never evolved & matured beyond the state of constant striving and overreaching that that he continually projected during class.
Eddie Stern's foreword distills the rasa of his Guru's book via : " Mala is a Sanskrit term that means garland. Jois here offers another kind of mala , which is ancient in tradition , as sacred as a prayer , and as beautiful as flowers. His mala is a garland of yoga , in which each vinyasa is like a sacred bead to be counted and focused on , and each asana is like a fragrant flower strung on the thread of the breath. Just as a japamala adorns the neck , and a pushpamala adorns the gods, so too does this garland of yoga , when diligently practiced , adorn our entire being with peace , health , radiance and ultimately , self-knowledge . "
It truly takes an advanced and mature practice in order to fathom & imbibe the juice and essence of this book.
This vdo of a kirtan at the New Dwarka Dhama shows how estatic & blissful kirtan truly is in the appropriate setting : in a temple as an offering ; true bhakti. American kirtan wallas performing in yoga studios come across as too contrived and staged. The only exceptions that come to mind are Bhagavan Das , Krishna Das ( when he doesn't warble ) & Dave Stringer . New Dwarka Dhama is at 3764 Watseka Ave. , Los Angeles CA 90034.
This vdo shows the daily morning Deity Greetings at New Dwaraka.During the Govindam prayers, the devotees pay their full prostrated obeisances before the Deities. I find this practice truly humbling as an exercise. Thanks once again to my teacher for giving me a copy of this bhajan as sung by the Radha Krishna Temple Band.
This afternoon was the Snana Yatra Festival at the Dwarka Dhama @ Watseka Ave. in Los Angeles.
I have started learning about and attending more of the aratis, kirtans and pujas upon the introduction by my teacher and because of the joy and bliss that is such an integral component of these temples & festivals.
Snana Yatra is the bathing festival or abishek of Lord Jaganatha , Lord Baladeva & Lady Subhadra. It is special as it is a rare opportunity that everyone gets a chance to personally bathe the deities ; not just the pujaris.
What a sensory overload of a feast it was , with the ecstatic bhajans , sound of bells, blowing of the conches, aromas of jasmine, rose petals , coconut water , incense & the glorious rainment of the deities.
The temples have evolved into centers for the local Indian communities to show their devotion & support by donating their time & resources.
This is all in preparation for Yatha Ratra / Festival of the Chariots 2010 , which starts @ 10 AM on Aug. 1st , Sunday , Santa Monica Civic Auditorium and winds up @ Ocean Front Walk Plaza, Venice Beach. This will be the festival's 34th year anniversary in Venice Beach.
I was greeted by this print hanging on the wall of my room when I checked into the Dana Hotel & Spa in the River North area of Chicago.
It proved to auger well as a talisman that ensured a very peaceful and calm stay high above State St.
The views from the floor length windows of the Chicago skyline and the very cool condo across the way were incredible. There was an early evening yoga class in the pool area of the condo that I got to check out prior to sunset.
It was a bit of a disappointment to not hear about or practice at any amazing yoga shalas or teachers in the city. The relaxed vibe of the residents and the balmy summer weather made up for it. Great walking in the Gold Coast , Magnificent Mile & River North and clean streets -