The festival Ratha Yatra commemorates the occassion where Sri Sri Jagganath ( the Lord of the Universe ) , accompanied by his brother Baladev & sister Subhadra , travel from their temple in Puri to the Gundicha temple on their chariots.
It has got to be one of the most ecstatic & transcendental of festivals in the Vaishnava calendar.
Walking up Main Street with my teacher , I could already feel the presence & splendor of the Lord , even from several blocks away from his chariot. So strong that one just had to surrender to the ebb & flow of kirtan that accompanied the pulling of the chariots.
It was also great to see & hear Maharaja in one of his rare public appearances as he explained the significance of commemorating the Ratha Yatra in present times.
There was a "kirtani" couple ( husband & wife ) who really need to learn what the words etiquette & respect mean. Especially since they use the word "Bhakti" as part of their yoga studio name. While Maharaja was talking , they were noisily preparing for their appearance after his talk. He had to call their attention for them to pipe down so he could keep his train of thought.
Actions speak louder than words. And bhaktas both of you are definitely not.
I would like to thank Steve C. for providing the following information regarding Bobbie Jo Allen & her new class, " Intro. to Ashtanga " , at Omkar108 YogaShala .
" Bobbie (full name: Bobbie Jo Allen) has been practicing Ashtanga for 10 years; she came to the practice after experiencing years of severe back pain and disc deterioration. A short time after starting with yoga she discovered Ashtanga, and that did the trick.
Her second teacher was a student of Tim Miller, and introduced Bobbie to him six years ago. Bobbie has completed both Tim’s one-week teacher training in Tulum but, more seriously, the 100-hour Primary Series training that he does each year, for two weeks, down in San Diego. She took it three years ago.
She (and we) started practicing with Jorgen Christiansson when he opened Omkar108. We were there for the puja and the first Sunday class.
If I had to sum up her teaching style in the shala, she’s very good with verbal cues and has a strong foundation and great knowledge of “the state of the pose.”
Bobbie is teaching an Intro. to Ashtanga (basically a led class up to navasana) three times a week: Tuesday and Thursday nights at 6:30 p.m. , Sundays at 10:30 a.m. "
I have been following Bobbie & Steve's posts on their The Confluence Countdown blog & I find them informative , genuine & referential to tradition. Whereas so many "yoga blogs" are coming off as contrived & excruciatingly painful to read in their sheer disingenuity , TCC keeps it real & intelligent.
I don't consider myself a seasoned Ashtangi & still have to work through the Primary Series with the help of my teacher ; however I am humbled that advanced practitioners like Steve & Bobbi Jo follow this blog.
It turns out that they also practice with my teacher at the shala & Bobbi Joe is now teaching there as well. More on her on an upcoming post.
It is pretty serendipitous that the Confluence is going to be held in San Diego , as I am heading there for meetings tomorrow.
Esteemed teachers Eddie Stern ( his AYNY shala is my home away from home in SoHo , NYC ) , David Swenson ( The Practice Manual ) , Tim Miller , Richard Freeman & Nancy Gilgoff are the 5 Western senior students of Sri K. Pattabhi Jois who are featured in it.
( Did they forget to invite my teacher ? Just wondering aloud hehe. )
I've been in Vancouver this week & was finally able to practice at Geoff's late afternoon Mysore class at Ashtanga Yoga Vancouver .
There really should be a concerted effort among shalas to schedule late PM / early evening classes to accomodate those of us who have heavy work & travel schedules.
AYV is located in Kitsilano across the bridge from downtown Vancouver. Geoff reminded me to take time out to breathe & decompress as he knew that I had driven over the bridge to Kits & had to deal with finding street parking.
There was just the right number of practitioners in the small shala , around a dozen regular students. Geoff is a dedicated teacher who has made several trips to Mysore & he took time out to break down a couple of asanas for me. The overall vibe of the shala is calm & airy. I will definitely be back.
Visiting Sri Sri Radana Mohan in Burnaby was also a first. It was worth driving through rush hour traffic to visit the temple & have darshan of the Deities there.
I also got to have lunch at the Vancouver branch of Saravanaa Bhavan . The tastes & flavors are just like what keeps me coming back to the New York location. Another resto I will definitely revisit on my next trip.
The annual LA Ratha Yatra is coming up on July 31st. I just came from the temple where we celebrated Snana Yatra this afternoon. Via Rupagopi is this vdo from LA Ratha Yatra 2009 with Jai Uttal singing the bhajan Govinda Jaya Jaya along with Guravani & As Kindred Spirits , Karnamrita & the Mayapuris. Jaya Jagganatha !
This is an image of the altar that my teacher had set up at Omkar108 for Guru Purnima.
I am really touched & inspired by his devotion & dedication to the legacy of his teacher.
Here is the Guru Stotra with which we closed our 3/4 Led Primary this morning :
Guru Brahma Guru Vishnu
Guru Devo Maheshwaraha
Guru Sakshat Para Brahma
Tasmai Sree Gurave Namaha
In Bhakti & Ashtanga Yoga , we honor & express gratitude to our Satguru & Gurus as representatives / messengers of the Devas , connectors to Godhead , the Supersoul. The often mentioned etymology of the YUJ in yoga.
* Sun. AM Mysore Class at the shala is now from 8-10 AM.
** For those who are stressing about the much hyped " Carmageddon " , it is a MYTH. I took the 10 East -405 South to the shala & back this morning. It was literally a breeze. Jaya !
Tomorrow marks the observance of Gura Purnima. Here is more information via Eddie Stern's Ashtanga Yoga New York website :
Sri K Pattabhi Jois (Guruji) was born on the full moon day (purnima) of the month of June-July (Ashadha) in 1915. In the Hindu tradition, this day is called Guru Purnima, named so because the sage Vyaas, the compiler of the Vedas and author of the Mahabharata was born on this day.
Guru Purnima is sacred to Hindus and Buddhists alike, and is the traditional day for honoring one’s Guru. It also marks the beginning of chaturmas, the four months of the rainy season when sannyasis (wandering ascetics) would halt in one location to give teachings, blessings and advice to the public before commencing their wandering again.
For householders, it is a time of engaging in renewal of spiritual practice, practicing austerities (such as increased repetition of mantra), giving charity, and listening to spiritual discourses.
It is very fitting that Pattabhi Jois, who was a staunch believer in adhering to traditional practices and following the teachings of ancient lineage, was born on this auspicious day. Please join us as we celebrate his birth with sacred pujas and chanting.
Guru Purnima was also celebrated at Omkar108 this morning with Guru Puja prior to Led Class.
* We will pray for the victims of the Mumbai attacks yesterday.
** Thanks to the ongoing ground swell support for Thank You Mother India 2011 . Per Kayoko M. , there are now 36 yogashalas & centers globally that have signed up.
& Maha props to Yoga Magazine UK as well for committing to hilight / list all the TYMI 2011 supporters in an upcoming issue.