Any yoga highlights this year?

We’re beginning to ramp things down, approaching the end of the year in the traditional way. There are family get-togethers on the horizon. There are a few meet-ups with friends in town for the holidays. The usual.

Plus there’s the usual look back at 2014 (before beginning to look ahead to 2015). I suppose highlights for us include:

  • Practicing along the Ganges river a bunch of times during our Yatra.
  • Getting up to the source of the Ganges, not surprisingly on that same Yatra.
  • Bobbie’s signing up for Tim Miller’s Third Series Teacher Training next summer. (That includes a look ahead, admittedly.)
  • We got a chance to practice at Ashtanga Yoga New York.
  • We probably had the usual three steps forward, two steps back, two steps forward, three steps back year in asana practice. Poses come, others go. Breathing becomes more regulated, but maybe drishti fails a little. It’s why we call it practice, after all.

Anyone have any highlights they feel like sharing? Keep in mind, the what are you planning for 2015 post is probably around the corner.

Posted by Steve

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Views down the Ganges, and, oh — yoga ‘allows evil’ into your body

A nice two-fer for you on this Tuesday.

First, the good: a National Geographic photo essay along the Ganges:

The idea was simple. Follow the holy waters of this river source to sea. Climb to the top of the Ganges watershed and follow its flow through the Himalaya, across the Gangetic plain and through the delta to where it kisses the ocean. It would be the classic, age-old river trip down India’s lifeline—a window into the country’s culture, religion, industry, birth, ritual, and love, even death. The goal would be to document the river and the world around it and even measure water quality en route.

Sort of the opposite our our Yatra, which started at the Bay of Bengal and went up tot he Ganges’ source. A shout-out to Yatri Matt Goldhill, who posted this on Facebook. Check out the handful or so of photos — both the good and bad along the way.

Second item: the bad. From the Telegraph in the U.K.:

A Jehovah’s Witness who was sacked as a fitness coach after telling a gym member that yoga would “allow evil” into her body has won a payout for unfair dismissal.

Maciej Grochowski lost his job at a Virgin Active gym after staff and clients complained his rants about religion were making them uncomfortable.

He was finally dismissed after writing a series of emails to senior staff spelling out his religious opinions on issues including Halloween and satanism.

The way it is written makes it sound like complaining about yoga was bad, but talking smack about Halloween was going too far.

Posted by Steve

The luck of our Yatra

I’m sure we’ll get to regular postings — Tim Miller’s last blog post, for instance, deserved to be highlighted — but here’s one more Yatra-related piece. And it demonstrates how lucky we were.

Necessary background: We came down from Gangotri on Sunday and from Uttarkashi on Tuesday. Which means we barely made it out:

As heavy rains lashed Uttarakhand forcing a halt to the Char Dham yatra and with more rains forecast, the authorities have decided not to allow tourists and pilgrims to Gaurikund, Badrinath, Kedarnath and Gangotri. As a precautionary measure, two heavy-duty Mi-17 helicopters will be stationed in Dharchula and Gauchar till July 25.

These were among the decisions which were taken on Thursday at a meeting, chaired by cabinet secretary Ajith Seth, on preparedness for any crisis in the hill state.

Namarupa’s Robert Moses sent that around on Friday. And then I found this:

UTTARKASHI, Uttarakhand: Thirteen Russian nationals were killed on Tuesday as the bus ferrying them to Gangotri fell off the road and plunged into Bhagirathi river in Uttarkashi district.

That happened a few weeks before we went through. And that’s not to mention that many of us flew near the route of the Malaysian airline that was shot down the same day we were traveling.

Jai Siva, Jai Ganesha, Jai Narasimha, Jai Hanuman.

But… wow. Scary.

Posted by Steve

The source of the Ganges and, if you missed it, Sharath in the U.S.

While we were on our Yatra, we heard about the two weeks that Sharath will be teaching in the U.S. The first out in Los Angeles, the latter in New York City.

Details — notably at this point that there are single classes available for those who can’t commit to a full week — are here. (You may have to move around the dates to find them all.) Sharath also will be leading a pranayama series of classes at the Broome Street Temple and in LA. One does have to register for the full series of Intermediate classes and have completed the Intermediate series with him.

No word on whether having bathed at the source of the Ganges, about 13,000 feet up in the Himalayas at Gomukh, gets you dispensation. If it does, most of our fellow Yatris and us can say, “Yeah, we’ve done that,” and sign up with impunity. Here are some photo pieces of evidence:

Bobbie after bathing int he Ganges.
Bobbie in the back after bathing in the Ganges.
The glacier from which flows the Ganges.
The glacier from which flows the Ganges.
Closer up on the glacier.
Closer up on the glacier. 

The water was so cold, you pretty much didn’t notice it after the first dunk. I think I mildly blacked out during my second and third immersion.

Posted by Steve