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4:25 pm

Radical Kindness. Extraordinary Service. Unstoppable Love.

If there’s one thing that’s certain- no matter how many times you read the lines in The Yoga Sutras- they are the type that reveal themselves to you differently each time. The two below are the first of this classical Yogic Text - a how-to manual for spiritual progress.  Patanjali, the revered author of The Yoga Sutras, wrote the manual a few hundred years BC and he summarizes the entirety of the path in these two phrases.

 

Atha Yoga Anushasanam

I will now review for you how we become whole.

Yogash chitta virtti nirodhah

We become whole by stopping how the mind turns.

 

The key word in the first sutra is ‘Yoga.’  The term arises from the root yuj, which essentially means to connect, unite, or join.  We’ve all heard the colloquial mantra of the 60’s and new age traditions that assert ‘we are all one.’  But notions of one-ness, wholeness, and connection leave a lot to be unpacked.  What does it mean to be ‘one’ with something or someone else?  Does that mean literally?  Mystically?  Karmically? Or that we are somehow of the same essence? What does it mean in real-life and real-time to connect, join or find one-ness? In the upcoming Yoga Sutras Course, we’ll explore the deep philosophical ideas of yoga to ground our understanding in logic and intuitive wisdom and extend these learnings into the areas of our lives where it matters most.

 

The second line teaches that it is our constant, unchecked, tape-recorder like thinking that must stop for us to find wholeness. If you’ve been around the yoga block, you’ve probably heard this line a dozen times… but hang on a second, there’s something incredibly interesting to behold here and it’s very subtle. Maybe you’ve worked to quiet your mind and started to touch something deeper, more peaceful, and integrated within.  Interesting.  But is that it?   We simply touch a feeling of peace during a good meditation every now and again and we move into the world a little more grounded and friendlier?  It’s pleasant- but not the entire story. Perhaps what is most interesting of all is what is revealed to us about the nature of our minds and the nature of our reality when we get very very quiet. And how what is revealed (a topic we’ll discuss in great length) leads to a felt sense of wholeness or one-ness actually. For real. And not in a pretend or theoretical kind of way.  When what is revealed about the nature of things starts to stick with you and drastically changes the way you think about your day to day interactions… in your career, in your relationships, in your yoga class, etc.  something much greater than pleasantries can arise.  I’m talking about radical kindness. Extraordinary service. Unstoppable love.  Now that, my fellow yogins, is interesting.

 

Class starts NEXT Thursday 2/27 7-8:30.  Space is limited; please pre-register here


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3:33 pm

Presence Begets Presence

This past December, I was in a 15-passenger van with 10 of my closest dharma friends, driving north from NYC to the arctic landscape of Upstate New York. Since we had a far drive, we played our version of car games, starting with ‘What secret superpower do you have?’  Keep in mind, we weren’t being totally silly. There was an earnestness and sacredness to this game… and it forced a kind of out-of-the-box thinking… trying to feel into our subtle, other-worldly abilities that often go unacknowledged.  We all have some special abilities, I think, if we’re paying attention. After pondering this, and feeling a little shy about sharing, I knew undoubtedly what mine was.  When it was my turn I said… ‘My secret superpower is the ability to see and meet holy beings. I like to call them HBs in fact.’  And you might be thinking to yourself, is there a being that ever existed that isn’t holy?  Undoubtedly. But I digress.  So there it is; I’m out of the closet.  You know my deepest lightest magical siddhi secret.  But that’s not entirely what this is about either.  That’s just a fun anecdote to preface this essay.

 

Every now and again I connect with someone- a teacher or HB of sorts- that stops me in my tracks, makes me feel a sense of awe and wonder, and reveals to me the possibilities of my own heart.  They do this in the most profound yet simple of ways.  A tangible presence of mind; a masterfully cultivated awareness. And this attention lends itself to cutting thru the illusion that plagues our everyday existence and perpetuates our suffering. Cultivated presence is the container in which the most sacred of tender and vulnerable spaces for transformation can exist. After watching this exquisite video of Kira Ryder speaking at a TedX Ojai, I can say (and remember I have a self-proclaimed superpower) that she is a rare, practiced being whose presence brings you into presence. And when you’re present in connection with others- many or one- the veil of illusion drops and the wisdom of the heart unfolds.  I think it could be the most unspeakably extraordinary experience that we can have in our lives: To behold this kind of presence. 

 

So, I sat down to write something inspiring and meaningful about my upcoming yoga sutras class. And it’s kind of funny, because all I want to write about in this moment- on this day- is the Anatomy of Self Love workshop next week.  (Maybe the HBs that run the joint will give me two spots on the blog this month- ha!). All that is to say is… Go see Kira, revel in the magical space of community that she is creating for us. If you feel compelled to walk the path of awakening in this way, and you were otherwise on the fence, please go next week if you can.  It’s what we’re all here for, right?  To Awaken and to exist in love.  And we need each other in all of our holiness to do it and we need the other HBs too- especially the ones who have seen the rarely-charted terrain and know how to get there. Presence begets presence.

 

Although I’ll be on my way to a meditation retreat with Miranda-ji the weekend of the workshop… my heart will be with you.  And if you feel so moved to continue this journey of awakening in community thru rich philosophical discussion and meditative practice, then I’d love for you to join me for The Yoga Sutras course on Thursdays starting Feb 27 7-8:30 for more ongoing work in the realms of presence, wisdom, superpower training and above all else, love.  -Kate G.