Srila Prabhupada's festival was celebrated this weekend at the Los Angeles dham. It was quite an emotional experience yesterday as his original disciples & devotees such as H.H. Hridayananda Das Goswami spoke of their experiences with him & his legacy of bringing bhakti yoga & the sankirtan movement to the world , fulfilling his guru's instructions. I was especially moved by Shyamasundar Das' anecdotes & his description of his guru as "my pirate king " , filling him with a sense of wonder & adventure. The word "impossible " was not in Srila Prabhupada's vocabulary. And it was definitely a leap of faith for Shyamasundar Das when he was tasked with heading to London with 3 other devotees to meet the Beatles. They did meet George Harrison , and as they say , the rest is history. Listening to these stories yesterday , they validated my belief that true gurus & teachers exist. That they still do inspire love , devotion & surrender. Jaya !
Via AYRI is this vdo of Sharath Rangaswamy leading the closing mantra after practice. It has been a stressful & busy month for me & I finally found a semblance of peace & connection once again at this morning's Mysore class. Just being able to focus on the breath , the absence of external voices or instructions & surrendering into adjustments are the gifts of this practice.
I've been in the belly of the beast , the Kali Yuga personified , A.K.A Las Vegas the past week.
As I commented to my teacher this morning , the only time I saw daylight was on the way to catch the flight back to Los Angeles yesterday PM. The whole week consisted of meetings at the Venetian , dinners at the Palazzo or Wynn , all connected together ; at times I lost my sense of time & place.
Vegas is gearing up for a big Memorial Day weekend. The banners on the Esplanade at the Venetian read " Land of the Free". Yes, freedom to drink , smoke , gamble & revel in the cheesiness that is the allure of Las Vegas.
In the "New Luxe Vegas " that the Palazzo & Wynn epitomize , thankfully there is freedom as well for those of us on another path , with smoke free zones & vegan menus.
A couple of my NYC haunts , Sushi Samba & Dos Caminos are at the Palazzo. The vegetarian options at Sushi Samba like the collard greens & shishito peppers are always tasty ; the DJ was rocking an Ipanema vibe. Dos Caminos Las Vegas guacamole is equally as good as Dos Caminos NYC.
The vegan menu at Lakeside in the Wynn is not bad either.
This morning then was time for yoga chikitsa , purification & detoxing , once again with some serious adjustments from my teacher. He really helped wrangle the last dregs of temptation that were lingering in my system. And darshan with Maharaj later this afternoon should put me back on the path of bhakti & joy as well. Jaya .
Via New York Mag's Grubstreet is the news that my favorite South Indian vegetarian resto in NYC , Saravanaa Bhavan , is opening up a 2nd location in Manhattan.
" We are told that the father-daughter team that opened the 1st U.S. location of Indian chain Saravanaa Bhavan ( a.k.a. Saravanaas ) in Curry Hill ( Lexingtion Ave. ) is opening a 2nd shop on the Upper West Side.
In addition to the usual South Indian fare , there will be an Indian brunch ( featuring thalis , lentil donuts , masala dosas , vegetable & potato bondas and cream of wheat a.k.a. halawa. ) "
The image above is of one of their incredible thalis. I've been asked what sets Saravanaas apart , and my reply is that it is the quality & flavor of the ingredients.
It has become difficult for me to find a comparable place to eat in LA. The closest that comes to mind & palate are Uddupi Palace in SFO or Vik's Chat House in Berkeley.
"Yoga Gives Back is a simple but powerful way to bring about a profound change in someone's life. It is a way for us to motivate Indian women and their families to become independent and secure. It is also a method to give something back to the country of Krishna and Buddha and so many enlightened souls, which gave us yoga, it's philosophy, Ayurveda and all other teachings, which improved mankind. I personally, feel grateful for what it has taught and molded me into, whom I am today ."
Jörgen Christiansson, who teaches the Ashtanga program, has had a lifelong relationship with Yoga. Early in life, he gained experience in the various traditions of yoga while traveling extensively throughout India. Jörgen met his teacher Sri K. Pattabhi Jois in 1988, when he first visited Mysore. With more than 20 years of teaching experience, he teaches in the same traditional manner as was taught to him by his Guru.
Last October, Jörgen and MahaMondo (Mahamondo.com) hosted the most successful fundraiser "Thank You Mother India" in Venice, California. This year, we are expanding this event into our first global fundraiser in collaboration with Omkar108 .
I just came from class this evening , where I was the recipient of a multitude of intense adjustments from my teacher. He knew I really needed them & I trust him a 100 %. Ashtanga Yoga has been labelled the "yoga for Type A personalities ". And one of the most valuable lessons to be learned from an experienced teacher is surrendering one's type A personality & trusting in their wisdom & experience. In this vdo , Ryan Spielman demonstrates that the art of adjusting is a unique skill. If done well, an adjustment can transform a yoga practitioner , offering immediate insight into the higher potentials of the body while triggering the inspiration to realize those potentials. Om Tat Sat.