Author Archive for: ‘admin’
I hope this change in the lunar year finds you well. Keeping with the theme of my prior post, I’d like to bring up the change in cycle as an opportunity to review and take action/ inaction regarding the fruit available to act upon when spring approaches in March and beyond. The Solar new year six weeks ago came with a very durable snow and for me one of the worst colds I have a had in many years and a lot of time for reflection . Although short, the cold was quite potent and caused my body to really kick into gear and heal. I feel in someway purified in many levels and ready for what happens next. Sort of like what happens when I practice yoga- but way more intense and fast.
Many of my thoughts have been turning toward the energy moving in our culture and the sudden and stark reveal of how the vulnerable people are deeply affected by the change in political landscape. It is not lost on me the beauty and grace of an enhanced space such as Near East Yoga, becoming more of a refuge everyday, offering a safe place to develop stability and grace. I have a firm resolve to support and engender unity and community as an act of rebellion to what I see going on on the Federal stage. As it goes I have been aware of peoples need to grieve as they move toward resiliency and revolution. But also morph into resolve and strength. Yoga, if anything is a confirmation of a personal domaine for the purposes of revealing the divine through anything that comes up. Everyone is entitled to pursue this end as a function of their freedom and happiness. Let’s work of for this as we explore our practice.
Under the effect of the lunar new year, now is a great time to recommit to the channelizing and stabilizing effort found in regular practice. I’ve been watching a new found strength erupt out of people, some affected by the storm, or the state of the population and the spark of late winter sun. There is a lot of joy floating about stemming from steady yoga practice and heart-lightening song-circles. In a way we offer each other a protection that comes from just being present and available- even in the silence of Mysore. You are not alone and there is very little to be said. This is called trust and is the root of who we maintain a sangha. Come be together, strong and clear through practice.
Look for these offerings over the next few weeks and months-
Yoga Sutra of Patanjali 4-5pm Tuesday February 7th
28 Days of Kirtan starts February 25th
Devis Lunch Puja returns for the 28 Days
Wednesdays March 1st, 15th, 22nd and 29th
See you all soon and often- Casey
Friday September 30th is the new moon. There will be no 7am group led class but the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali study is scheduled for 9am as usual. This is the second new moon for September. I’m not aware of any special significance but it seems rare none the less.
Keep in mind we sing 4 times a week and all are welcome to attend these sessions. We make special considerations to incorporate the novice chanter so please feel welcome. These sessions are intended to be a chance to connect to the community and learn about yoga theory while opening up channels in the body only available through song. See the schedule for details. No reservation is required.
On October 15th (the full moon) from 5-7pm, Near East Yoga will host “An Exploration of Grief through Tea Ceremony and Meditation”. Please see the attached flier for information about the session and Leora Gonźalez, the facilitator. Please inquire with me if you’d like to sign up.
Now is the the time to book your accommodations for the Breitenbush Hot Springs hosted by myself and Jacob Handwerker, October 30th through the 4th. We had a great time last year and I look forward to a repeat. Hope you can make it. Here is a link to the Breitenbush Hot Springs website for more info about making a reservation.
See you all soon and often- Casey
Last Tuesday at 6am, roughly approximates the 6 month mark for the current version of the Near East Yoga Hanuman Chalisa sadhana. After a well attended start the practice has dwindled down to the most devoted. we have taken to singing in harmonies and even recored a session. Since its a permanent addition to the schedule and a remaining part of “28 Days of Kirtan” dating near the end of the lunar year 2015, it’s never to late to come join us who hold it dear.
As a personal practice, the song has been in my body, speech and mind for 13 years, coming to prominence as I began my study of the deeper connections of chanting, yoga philosophy and Sanskrit. The Chalisa or 40 verses, a Hindi poem about the auspicious deeds of Hanuman, attracted me, like many others, due to the resonating tones of Krishna Das and the mystery surrounding yoga as a workable philosophy hidden in a foreign language. It is still a work in progress that never fails to reveal itself as I grow with it.
When it finally dawned on me that to learn Hanuman Chalisa would require a lot of effort, I took to chanting it 7 times a day, every day for 7 months until I could sing along unprompted and eventually learn in by heart. In the beginning it was nearly impossible to shape my mouth to make the right sounds but eventually I learned and have been helping others work with it in different incarnations for a decade. Many of you hold it dear as well and it’s a part of how our group practices.
Our tradition of Ashtanga yoga holds it in its heart do to a New York City connection that the folks I learned the method from brought to Portland back in the late 1990s. Krishna Das and the Jivamukti Center in NYC were instrumental in establishing kirtan as a vital part of Ashtanga Yoga. Tim Miller, one of the founding American teachers of Ashtanga Yoga holds the Hanuman ethic in the form of “Service to God” through yoga teaching and support and he has been an inspiring light to many Ashtangis through his unswerving dedication.
For me, in my early service to yogis, the fables of Hanuman, his discovery of his latent abilities though his service and devotion to Rama related in the Hanuman Chalisa became a personal code and a secret mission I continue to this day. Having just completed my college years in the time leading up to the start of Near East Yoga, one of the final classes I took was a seminar on leadership. The resonating feature of this experience was that to lead was to serve. Holding space for Ashtanga Yoga allowed me to serve without really knowing where it was all going. The adage of Sri K Pattabhi Jois “do your practice, all is coming” allowed me to focus on the method and keeping the room clean and open. The rest, Yoga Sutra, Kirtan, Bhagavad Gita, the nature of the sangha and how my life unfolded has developed on it’s own, naturally over time.
The Hanuman Chalisa opened me up to keeping the work pure and simple, to protect the door and support the yogis within. Two verses, 21 and 30 have been like mantra to me as they describe how Hanuman guards the door of Rama and protects Sadhus or holy practitioners against demons- take the later part as metaphor for distraction or dilution and you can understand the effects of 15 years of just a simple practice. I always say thanks Guruji at this point. When it comes to service, his ethic to serve the practice and all is coming continues to reveal his shining face smiling down on us. As it often feels like this whole yoga thing is just getting traction, I look forward to serving anyone who finds benefit in what Near East Yoga has to offer however simple.
Lastly and what inspired me to write this post, relates to the photo below of Hanuman revealing to Sita, imprisoned by Ravana in his luxurious garden in Sri Lanka, Rama’s ring that signified that Rama was searching for her and she should be inspired to be soon found and not give up hope. He appears to her (9th verse) in what the Chalisa states as Shooksma-rupa or “tiny-formed” referring to one of his many powers of manifestation. As a student of the hidden meaning in ancient verses, Hanuman here teaches that sometimes small is the most potent form when a special meaning is being passed among intimates. For me the teachings of of yoga and dharma are so soft and subtle that often we only find them out when we have grown quiet, maybe lonely, waiting in the garden of our own oppression wondering why we have been forgotten, when in that very moment a small gesture from a devoted being saying be not afraid, I come as an emissary from the Beloved who right now is looking for you- which to me says a lot about integrating our inner-self with the moment and being right sized in our expectations of the aggregate of the human condition.
Hanuman, the ultimate shapeshifter, also grows big when the time is right, which we will save for another day-
For now, may we all grow small and be powerful and open to revelation in our own way.
Just to reiterate the potency of this workshop, I will offer bit more perspective.
For one thing- It’s free. And needs to be free. There is nothing to buy and no status to be gained in the realm of the materiel for this workshop. These teachings go back further than our teachers, teacher and simply serve to transport the ego to it’s ultimate destination- the knowledge of the unadulterated original self.
The teacher is an Indian woman, Phd Ayurvedic doctor with a Masters degree in Bhagavad Gita and Sanskrit and has chanted it by heart since childhood.
The offering is pretty strong, all 700 hundred verses in proper meter, tune and enunciation, twice a month over 4 months. The in-between weeks will be practice and make up sessions, so everyone can participate.
Did you know the singing of this song reflects a higher math contained in the recitation that transcends even the meaning of the content? Read the Bhagavad Gita and you will see that the content is profound- after this recitation ends in November we will be set up to have our weekly discussion and have the original wave form of the Gita resonating in our hearts and minds.
For me, the host to a community of yogi’s, the importance of investing in the heritage teachings of classical yoga and uphold the tradition, make it available to the sangha, is the cornerstone of why Near East Yoga can be the place that it is. Contemporary yoga practices of the modern variety, while useful for all reasons we can see, tend to emulate and peak at the place where this sot of yoga begins. Because many contemporary yoga practices are divorced from the heritage connection, they rely on the method of exercising away the crazy mind, to cut its fruits off at the surface but never grasp the workings of how the mind-root can be explored and extracted. The Bhagavad Gita offers this insight and the methods for exploration simply by it’s intonation.
The concepts and practices of these heritage teachings is the method of esoteric exploration that can at once fulfill our desires while showing us the deeper meaning behind why we are drawn to yoga at all. Take this time to become renewed and established in this heritage teaching of classical yoga. You won’t be disappointed.
If you read this far, please RSVP in this forum. I’m making chai and prasad for the event and would like to know how many to plan for.
See you all soon and often- Casey
Sunday July 3rd is a new moon and Near East Yoga will be closed.
On Monday July 4th please join in the 7:30am Mysore class
The 5:30pm Mysore is “open”– please inquire for details.
The 7pm Led-class is preempted until the following week.
Everyone have a safe and fun Independence Day.
Coming up in August-
Bhagavad Gita Study with world class visiting Master Teacher- please inquire for detail, open to everyone, free of charge. August 6th and 27th, 11-1pm
Coming up in November
“Mysore and More” Britenbush Hot Springs Retreat with Casey and Jacob. Sign up soon by booking your lodging with Britebush. October 30th to November 4th.
With the weather still in limbo the class for tonight is “open practice only”. Text me at 503-890-2212 for details on how to access the studio. Melissa will be back to host the Tuesday class at 8am as scheduled. Thanks for everyone’s understanding. Cheers, Casey
If you are new to Near East Yoga please text 503-890-2212 for instructions for how to access the studio. There is a chance that the snow will preclude the hosting teacher from making the class but those of you who can practice should feel free to do so. Please sign in on the book and leave your email. Cheers and enjoy the snow. Casey