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Friday, June 20, 2008

Journal 6/20- Iyengar, Anahata, Ahimsa

Yesterday I went to my first Iyengar yoga class. I enjoyed it very much. It was a women's class. I felt nurtured and supported by the teacher and the other students. Despite early hesitations, I liked working on poses with other students and with the straps designed to help us get deeper into poses. I also liked working with the "horse" (a contraption like a ballet bar used to support a person during certain poses). Another great thing is that the classes loosened my sore right hamstring. It has been bothering me for weeks and has been extremely tight but during the partner portion of the class, it finally loosened up a bit. This was important because I went on to do about 3 more hours of yoga later in the day.

After the Iyengar class I came home and relaxed. I have now added "Yoga and the Path of the Urban Mystic" by Darren Main to my reading list. This is good because starting tonight, and through the weekend I am attending a workshop with him. I am excited because this is my first yoga workshop and I am really enjoying his book. I am a little anxious about how the MS and his style of yoga will react but I plan to just take it in stride and be positive. I am curious to experience Kundalini yoga with him on Sunday. After the weekend is over I'll be sure to write something about it.

At around 3:30, I headed out to begin my evening. I started by teaching my Yoga 4 Kids class. From there, I headed over to the "Anahata Project." In Sanskrit, Anahata is related to the heart and heart chakra. The Anahata Project is a Karma yoga organization. They put on events that involve Bhakti (chanting and devotional yoga) and a yoga flow class. Last night's event raised money for three organizations (Yoga for the People, Cambodian Children's Fund and an orphanage in India). To call the event transformative might be an understatement. Below, I attempt to create the feeling of the event.

We sat, 108 strong on the eve of the Summer Solstice. The room was lit only in candlelight. On the stage before us sat a lone musician, surrounded by guitars and a harpsichord.

A woman raised her voice in song and implored us with her heartfelt chant to follow her words and sounds. We, all 108, (maybe more or less but this matters at the time of the solstice)raised our voices to follow her in song. The room became warm. Electricity seemed to buzz in the air. When the singing stopped, there was complete silence.

Then, my yoga teacher brought us together in silence and mediation. When she brought us to our feet, we began our celebration of both the sun and the solstice. The teacher prophesied 9 sun salutations but when we reached that juncture, we were urged on by the chanting and guitar from the musician seated on the stage and we continued to flow together through the sun salutation. I lost track of time and space in that seemingly eternal flow. Eventually we changed flows but the transitions were seamless. In the end, we found ourselves seated and silent again.

We chanted again then, to the compelling rhythm of the harpsichord. The music filled the space with light. The air crackled again with electricity.

We came together in a large circle to intone the oldest song of man, the "OM." We were lead through a cascade of rolling "OMs" and the air seemed to thicken. It is possible that you had to be there to feel it but it seemed that love and joy permeated the air. The experience was unlike any other natural experience I have ever had. When I left, my heart was buoyant and "Ahimsa" was again at the forefront of my thoughts.

"The yogi believes that every creature has as much right to live as he has. He believes he was born to help others and he looks upon creation with eyes of love (B.K.S. Iyengar, "Light on Yoga")."


mdmhvonpa said...

Wow ... that's a lot of yoga going on!

Denver Refashionista said...

You're telling me. I am sore but deeply contented. I am glad to see you back online.

Joan said...

Ditto on the WOW! That sounds so moving and profound.

I just received 2 CDs - the You Can Do It Yoga for MS series. Stay tuned...

Namaste and Blessed Be!

Diane J Standiford said...

What a beautiful experience. Everyone with MS should start yoga immediately upon DX.

Denver Refashionista said...

Diane, I agree. I am slowly recruiting people to join me, at leastin spirit.