Great old David Swenson stories and a birthday message

We posted this on Friday on Facebook, and it has gotten a lot of great reaction. Then I thought: Some folks are smart enough not to be on Facebook (no offense to everyone who isn’t, including me!).

And so let’s get this on the record here. I suppose if you aren’t on Facebook, you might not be able get to the link. Hmm. Well, we plow ahead anyway.

This appears to be from a trip David Swenson took to Russia two years ago. And as part, he answered a few questions. Some of the stories ought to be familiar (the one about Guruji, police and Mexico came up at the Confluence). David also recounts my favorite of his stories, which I’ll excerpt here. I’m tempted to just copy everything, but that seems … just not the ways things are done, right?

Here’s David on re-meeting Guruji:

I have left to Hawaii, to Maui Island and found a job in picture gallery. I began to visit classes again. Again those were classes of Nancy Gilgoff. Then there was a miracle. In 1989 Pattabhi Jois came to Hawaii. Twelve years have passed since I sent him the letter, and I did not see him for these twelve years. Nancy has invited Pattabhi Jois for a seminar. On the first day she brought me to Guruji and said: “Guruji, here David has come”. He said: “So many students, I do not remember all of them”. I have thought that for twelve years I have changed strongly, then I had long hair, and I dressed in another way, well it is not terrible that he does not remember. On the second day I was waiting when Guruji will come and will help me with bends. He approaches me, puts his foot between mine, and grasps me for hips. I start to bend back but as soon as he touched me, he shouts: “Ооо! David Swenson!” I made bends five times. And each time I was rising up I was very close to a face of the teacher. He had a huge smile, pink cheeks, his eyes were shining. He looked into my eyes and started to sing: “Hare Krishna, Hare Rama…” I still do not know whether he has received that letter from me or not. But it did not matter anymore. I made a huge circle and returned to the place where I have started.

It is like in a book by Paulo Coelho “Alchemist”. He makes a huge way and comes back to a place where he has found a treasure. Then I have clearly realized that everything that I was looking for was in front of me. I have understood that my parents were my teachers, those were they who taught me an unconditional love. My brother has opened yoga to me. David Williams and Nancy Gilgoff have taught me Ashtanga yoga and acquainted with Pattabhi Jois. And Pattabhi Jois has told: “Practice and all is coming!” I understood that what I was looking for actually lays in practice. All I have to do is to use practice as a tool that will help me to understand myself.

There is lots, lots, lots more.

On Friday, David also posted the following message on his own Facebook page and then later at his website. So, again, if you aren’t on the Facebook, we’ll pass it on. It fits nicely with the above:

A Message on my Birthday:

Today I turn 56. I find birthdays to be a day of reflection and appreciation. So with that in mind I would like to take a moment and offer my love, gratitude and respect to the people that have touched my soul, shaped my life and influenced my growth. Of course my parents were my first and foremost influences. Both have departed this physical world but remain real in mine. My brother Doug, I thank you for introducing me to the positive path of yoga and health. My sister Diana I thank for her enthusiastic approach to life. My Loving Wife Shelley who is the greatest Gift in my life and to our feline child Yogi and all of our Koi Fish Kids too I thank for how they make me smile!

I send out LOVE and RESPECT to my Yogic Family as well from David Williams, and Nancy Gilgoff for introducing me to Ashtanga Yoga and to Pattabhi Jois and all of his family members including, Manju, Saraswati, Sharath and Sharmila.

Lastly I want to send out a BIG THANK YOU from my heart to all of my friends, acquaintances and the folks that have held out a loving hand when things were tough or soothing words in times of challenge, to those of you that have been supportive in ways that you know and also many that may not know how much you have touched my soul. Thank you for all of the wonderful ways you all have shaped the way that I think, live and even breathe!

With Respect, Love and Gratitude!


Posted by Steve

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Two Ashtangis write about their practice and their teachers.

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