Here’s the schedule for the MLK weekend retreat with Eddie Stern and Robert Moses

If you are within traveling distance of New York City, I’d strongly urge you to check out the full schedule for Eddie Stern and Robert Moses’ weekend retreat at Ashtanga Yoga New York, happening the weekend of Martin Luther King Day. It looks to be fabulous. From the AYNY website:


Mysore class 6-11am
The Fulfillment of Martin Luther King’s Dream: Lecture by Pastor Tillman, 12:30-2pm
Vedanta 101, a Philosophical Viewpoint: Lecture by Robert Moses, 2:30-4:30 pm
Q&A: Robert Moses and Eddie Stern, 5-6pm

Mysore class 6-11am
Our Three Bodies: Lecture by Robert Moses, 12-2pm
Integrating Yoga and Meditation in Inner City Environments: Erica Ford and Pastor Tillman 2:30-3:30pm
Karma and Reincarnation: Lecture by Robert Moses
Closing talk and Q&A: Robert Moses and Eddie Stern, 5-6pm

And a little more:

Please join us for annual MLK Weekend retreat at Ashtanga Yoga New York. This is one of the most important times of the year for us, as it is the only retreat that we run, and is a time for creating a stronger community, deepening our knowledge, and contemplating the realities of the world as a spiritual journey.

This year Robert Moses will lead discussions on Vedanta, Eddie Stern will lead the Mysore classes along with all of the AYNY assistants, and Pastor Tillman will be with us again to speak on the Fulfillment of Martin Luther King’s Dream in light of the recent tragedies in Ferguson and Staten Island. Erica Ford, of LIFE Camp, and the Urban Yogis, will also join into lead a discussion on Sunday about the work they do in Queens to reduce violence through mediation, yoga and meditation.

I can attest that Pastor Tillman was dynamic during last year’s retreat. Unfortunately, he has plenty to discuss this year.

A few important facts. In other words, cost: Full weekend is $190, a single day is $105 and half a day is $55.

For any number of reasons, Bobbie and I couldn’t make the cross-country trek to attend this time. If you can make it — you should. Email to register is at the AYNY site.

Posted by Steve

Ahimsa: the most important element in yoga

Let’s let the Martin Luther King holiday continue. Freedom, and Moksha, were the themes of our weekend in New York, and not Tim Miller this week has also focused on MLK, Gandhi and … ahimsa:

Listing ahimsa first indicates that it is the most important of all the yamas. The yamas are also the first limb of ashtanga yoga, suggesting that of all of the eight limbs, it is the most important. Since it is the first principle mentioned in the first limb of yoga, one could reasonably say that ahimsa is the single most important practice in yoga.


I like Patanjali’s approach. Rather than saying “Thou Shall Not” and giving us a list of rules that, if broken, will result in your eternal damnation in the fires of Hell, Patanjali says, “Hey check it out. You want to live a life of love, truth, prosperity, vitality, and clarity of purpose? This is what you need to do.” We are presented with choices, and to some extent at least, we are in control of our own destiny.

As Bobbie pointed out in her initial thoughts on our weekend in New York, we practice in order to be able to make the best choices and, perhaps, have the most control over our destiny.

Speaking of New York, I simply can’t help but link to this piece at the Daily Caller, a very conservative online publication. It’s about the New York City naked yoga studio that now will be holding coed classes:

Only in New York City, a modern-day Sodom or Gomorrah, can you take totally naked, coed yoga classes.

Bold & Naked is a new yoga studio in Chelsea that offers completely nude yoga classes that are either all male, all female or male and female, Outside magazine reports. The studio also offers some clothed classes.

Imagine doing happy baby pose. Completely. Naked. (Hopefully you’re not eating lunch right now.)

I love that New York is either Sodom or Gomorrah, not both. I also bet it isn’t the only pace you can get naked, coed yoga classes.

This really doesn’t follow all that well from Tim’s nice post, but I link to this because I need the laugh; we’ll probably be able to post about what’s got me down in the coming days.

Finally, one more from New York, in the form of Guy Donahaye’s latest post, which is more in line with what Tim’s writing about.

Posted by Steve

Stern on one year of blogging and Dr. King

Eddie Stern picked an auspicious date to begin his Asthanga Yoga New York blog: a year ago, on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday. He reflects on the past 12 months today:

But what is peace, exactly? Peace is not an idea, it is not something that by wishing, or even praying for, will occur. We can see by looking at the lives of Dr. King, and of Gandhi, that peace is hard work; it is a major struggle, it requires absolute commitment, faith and sacrifice – and even then, the results of the work can be tragic.


In the Yoga Sutras, when Patanjali describes ahimsa, or, non-violence, he does not say precisely what we should do to practice non-violence, he only says what will happen if we become established in it: those who come in our presence will relinquish enmity. That is the test of our ahimsa – do people who are hostile become peaceful in our presence? Can we turn an angry situation to a peaceful resolution based on the strength of our inner calm, that has been cultivated through mindful behavior, through years of breathing in a smooth and even manner? We have opportunities to do this almost every day in our own lives, in our practice, and in our interpersonal relationships. If we each work on ourselves, and our small circles of relations, it will be enough to have a larger, collective impact.

Stern touches here on something I struggle with in the “practice” in its larger, off the mat, not just asana sense. What else does it mean? What impact does it have? What do small actions, or non-actions, of mine add up to, if anything?

I also don’t know near enough to understand how and why we should take our practice “into the world,” as the phrase goes. Hopefully I’m getting there. (A different path of the “practice, practice and all is coming.”) This section from Patanjali is one I need to hold more closely and remember more readily.

So thanks to Stern for posting it and for his blogging over the past year. I find it a great, albeit little, window into him.

It’s also a wonderful reminder of the importance of this day.

Posted by Steve