Eddie Stern + Ganesh = much-watch TV

Does the “much-watch TV” reference date me too much? Well, it was worth it.

Hussle on over to the AYNY blog for Eddie Stern’s take on a Coldplay video that, he confirms, was inspired by Ganesh.

And not Babar. (Although I can’t say anything bad about Babar. Or about its wonderful placement in the first Fletch movie. Now I’ve double-dated myself.)

Here’s a tease:

Posted by Steve

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AYNY preps for Ganesh Chaturthi celebration

Ganesh image via Exoticindia.com

I’ve been hearing from my reliable sources that Ashtanga Yoga New York was going to be closed the first week of September for a Ganesh celebration. Now the word is official at Eddie Stern’s Internet home. It’s an understandable moment when the Broome Street Temple takes clear precedence over AYNY.

(I can understand how the typical Type A Ashtangi might be annoyed, though. Two words: Home practice.)

The AYNY page gives a wonderfully succinct rundown on Ganesh, which probably is a taste of what we can expect when Eddie and Tim Miller talk about their respective Ishta Devatas during next year’s Ashtanga Yoga Confluence. Here’s a bit:

Ganesha’s head symbolizes the Atman or the soul, which is the ultimate supreme reality of human existence, and his human body signifies Maya or the earthly existence of human beings. The elephant head denotes wisdom and its trunk represents Om, the sound symbol of cosmic reality. In his upper right hand Ganesha holds a goad, which helps him propel mankind forward on the eternal path and remove obstacles from the way. The noose in Ganesha’s left hand is a gentle implement to capture all difficulties.

It goes on to give a couple of stories of how Ganesh got his elephant head and a few other pieces of information on the Hindu deity who has to be the most popular here in the U.S.

What’s the most exciting thing about the Confluence?

The Confluence website touts a key attraction: The five teachers gathering have 175 years of combined teaching experience among them.

MC Yogi, from his website

Yeah, that’s a lot. And it doesn’t even count the authorized teachers who will be assisting in classes and who knows how else.

I’m fairly certain that the essential confluence of these experienced Ashtanga teachers is the main draw for those of us who have signed up already. (Spots, I’ve heard, are going fast. Probably best not to dally too much.)

But there is more to it than just them. Off the top of my head, I can think of a few other draws:

* MC Yogi’s Saturday night music. Think we can count on hearing “Ganesh is Fresh”?
* Potential gathering with old and far-flung yoga friends.
* If you’re coming from outside of Southern California, a break from lingering winter.
* The chance to surround yourself with hundreds (I’m guessing) of other Ashtangis.
* The opportunity to discover a new product, line of clothing, food stuff from the promised vendors and sponsors. (I’ll admit, I always love wandering through the vendor booths, even if I rarely buy anything.)
* And, as we’ve posted about already, the asana classes, the talks, the opening puja ceremony.

There’s a half dozen things. But I’m curious what you — yeah, you, the one reading this right now — are most excited about; why did you sign up for the Confluence already, why are you toying with the idea of signing up?

And, just maybe, what else do you hope they add to the weekend?

Wait, don’t have all the facts?



At risk of having put the cart before the elephant (see the great book “The Hindus” for much information about why horses are/were so important in early Indian culture), here’s the information for the Ashtanga Yoga Confluence.Right. Makes sense to have that here. Although there is a link over there to your right.Here’s a more pronounced link, and below is the schedule:

First Annual Ashtanga Yoga Confluence Schedule

Thursday, March 1st
6:00 p.m-6:30 p.m. – Ganesh Puja
In India the elephant headed god is known as the Remover of Obstacles and the Lord of Beginnings. He is honored at important ceremonies to insure an auspicious beginning and successful completion of the event. The Ganesh Puja will be performed by Eddie Stern.

6:30 p.m-8:30 p.m. – Catered Opening Ceremony

Friday, March 2nd
7.00 a.m.-9:00 a.m. – Guided Intro Class taught by Richard (asana)

7:00 a.m.-10:00 a.m. – Mysore taught by Tim, David, Nancy and Eddie with certified and authorized teacher assistance (asana)

11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. – “Working In”– The Art of Breathing taught by Tim (pranayama)
Pranayama, literally “the extension of the life force,” is an important practice that cultivates clarity of mind, longevity and pratyahara (the inward turning of attention). Tim will introduce pranayama techniques to explore aspects of the pranamaya kosha (subtle body) such as the chakras and the pancha vayus (the five pranas) and to serve as the vital link between external methodology and internal experience.

11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. – Flying, Floating and Handstanding taught by David 
(asana with partner)
Flying, Floating and Handstanding: In this fun-filled exploration of vinyasa and arm balances, we’ll break down the vinyasa into its components and explore handstands and arm balances through the avenue of partner work. All levels can attend – even if you’ve never done a handstand.

3:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m. – Panel Discussion with Tim, David, Richard, Nancy and Eddie for the entire group to attend together (lecture/discussion)
Q & A discussion, stories about Guruji, etc.

Saturday, March 3rd
7:00 a.m.-9:00 a.m. – Guided Intro Class taught by Tim (asana)

7:00 a.m.-10:00 a.m. – Mysore taught by Richard, David, Nancy and Eddie with certified and authorized teacher assistance (asana)

11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. – Intro to the Second Series taught by Nancy and assisted by Tim Miller (asana)
An introduction to Nadi Shodana (purification of the little rivers), the intermediate series of Asthanga Yoga.

11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. – Backbending on the Current of Breath taught by Richard (asana)
An energetic exploration of integrated whole-body patterns found in backbending. We’ll work with the internal alignment mirrored in the pelvic floor as it moves around the central axis of the body. Using these patterns, combined with integrated muscular patterns within the hamstrings, abdominal wall, shoulders and arms, we’ll construct a series of deep backbends that are grounded, open and free of pain.

3:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m. –The Symbolic Meaning of the Hindu Deities: Ganesh & Hanuman taught by Eddie and Tim for the entire group to attend together (lecture/discussion)
Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra II.44 states “Swadyaya Ishta Devata Samprayogaha – Union with the chosen deity comes from the study of self through the sacred texts”. Eddie and Tim will shed light on their chosen deities Ganesha, the remover of obstacles and Hanuman, the dispeller of afflictions.

7:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. – Music by M.C. Yogi

Sunday, March 4th
7:00 a.m.-9:00 a.m. – Guided Intro to Ashtanga taught by Nancy followed by Loving Kindness Meditation (asana)

7:00 a.m.-10:00 a.m. – Mysore taught by Tim, David, Richard and Eddie with certified and authorized teacher assistance (asana)

11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. – The Eight Limbs of Ashtanga Yoga with Tim, David, Richard, Nancy and Eddie for the entire group to attend together (lecture/discussion)
The first five limbs of Ashtanga Yoga are known as the external limbs. Pattabhi Jois said “The first five limbs of yoga are very difficult-the last three are easy!” Each teacher will illuminate a yama and a niyama, as well as discuss the the lager context of the first five limbs, or even all eight if time permits.

3:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m. – Ashtanga Yoga and Daily Life with Tim, David, Richard, Nancy and Eddie for the entire group to attend together (lecture/discussion)
All of the teachers will reflect on what it means to be a yogi in the modern world, as a westerner and a householder and how one’s practice changes over time in relation to the aging process. Questions submitted in advance will be answered.

The toughest decision for me was the Friday 11 a.m. classes. I knew “Working In” meant Tim; I’ve seen him call his teaching that, before. And I don’t lightly miss an opportunity to sit with him. (Side note: Two weeks from now we’ll be in Mt. Shasta with Timji; we’ll see how the blog posting goes from there. At worst, we will try to have lots of pictures. Shasta is wonderful if you ever get the chance.) But I’ve also done pranayama with him, so I chose — reluctantly — the other course. And while I’ve had a weekend course from David Swenson before, I think his jumping and handstanding lessons will come at a perfect time in the Spring. I’ll be much more ready.

I also assumed Tim would be involved in the Second Series intro; again, something I’ve done though Second is a bit beyond these stiff bones. So it was hard to go against that current, too. But I’m very excited to get a chance to have some teachings from Richard Freeman, whose books and thinking on Astanga and yoga are very interesting to me — and I think, very different from the strand from Guruji I’ve received so far.

So that will be one of many highlights, even though right now my backbends are more “backthings.”

— Posted by Steve