Here are the full details on the next Namarupa Yatra

This looks great.

As we’ve said.

And, sure, it might seem like we are over-selling the next Namarupa Yatra — Yatra Divine — but it is only because our experience was so significant.

The full trip for summer of 2014 to the northern parts of India is up and available. The link, which includes how to reserve your spot (hint: it involves $108), is right here. A few highlights:

Sunday June 29 ~ Puri – Lord Jagannath Rath Yatra

Witness the largest chariot festival in all of India. Lord Jagannath, his brother Lord Baladeva and their sister Goddess Subhadra are seated on massive colorful chariots that thunder along the street pulled by thousands of devotees.

Thursday July 3 ~ Varanasi

We will perform the Panchatirthi Pilgrimage. Beginning at the southern end where Asi River meets the Ganga before dawn we will walk all along the Ganga Chats to the northernmost end where Varana River flows into the Ganga and then enter the heart of the city for darshan of Lord Vishvanath, Annapurna Devi and Sakshi Binayaka. We will perform sankalpa and worship at Five Tirthas.

Tuesday July 8 ~ via Gupta Kashi to Gaurikund

After morning class we will continnue higher via Gupta Kashi where Lord Siva his from the Pandavas. Halt for the night at Gaurikund where Parvati did tapas to win the heart of Lord Siva. Here there are hot sulphur baths and temples to Gauri Devi and Sirkata Ganesha, the place where Ganesha got his elephant’s head.

That’s just a taste. There also will be an opportunity to meditate at the samadhi shrine of H.H. Sri Swami Sivananda, witness the abhishekam of one of the 12 Jyotirlingams and, of course, plenty of asana. (“Morning class” starts most days.)

As Bobbie said to me over the weekend when we got word of the full itinerary: “Well, it looks like we’re going back to India.”

Yes it does.

Posted by Steve

A little more detail on the next Namarupa Yatra

We already provided some details about the next Namarupa Yatra: Yatra Divine. We’ve now got our hands, virtually anyway, on an early map-based itinerary — you know, just to prove what we said before: This is a can’t miss trip.

I know there was some concern about the heat during the late June to mid-July time frame for this trip (reminder: June 14 to July 16, 2014). But a good chunk of it will be in the north and in the Himalayas. Yes, Kolkotta might be a bit close.

(Click to enlarge.)

Yatra Divine 2014

A bit close shouldn’t stop you, right?

Posted by Steve

Namarupa Yatra Divine: This is a cannot miss trip to India

Over the weekend, we received an email with information we’d been awaiting anxiously: Word of the next Namarupa Yatra.

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Robert Moses, co-founder of the magazine with Eddie Stern, had dropped a few hints our way about when and where the trip might be: Summer of 2014, the Himalayas. That was about all we needed to know to be on board.

The details about the trip, the Yatra Divine that “will honor the three main strains of devotion in India,” turned out to be even better.

I asked Robert if we could share the broad outlines, and he said yes. So here they are:

Saivites, Vaishnavites and Shaktas.
Bathe in Ganga at Ganga Sagar, Varanasi, Haridwar and Devaprayag
Yatris can venture on the whole Yatra or choose section One or Two.
Brief itinerary preview.
First Section: 24 June 2014
We will start in Kolkotta, spend a few days in the Kolkotta area having darshan of Kali and sacred places connected to the great saint Ramakrishna.
We will then head down to Puri to witness the very largest most awesome Chariot Festival of all – Lord Jaganath, Lord Balaram and Devi Subhadra summer vacation procession! We will also visit Konark and other temples in Puri area.
Then it is on to Varanasi by air to worship Lord Viswanath, Devi Annapurna, boat along the Ganga and just be in this most ancient of all cities.
And on to Delhi.
Second Section: July 4, 2014
Delhi to Haridwar and darshan of Ganga at Hari-Ki-Puri, great bazaar and visit surrounding area temples.
Then we will head on up into the Himalayas – Bathe at the confluence of the Bhagirathi and Alaknanda rivers at Devaprayag, visit Gaurikund, darshan of Lord Siva at Kedarnath, Rudraprayag, darshan of Lord Vishnu at Badrinath and back down to Rishikesh.
We will return to Delhi on July 16 for flights home.
If you followed our Yatra tip over the winter holiday, you already should know just how fantastic this trip will be. There was the head shaving. There were the images, the looking. There was the best Mysore room ever. There was touching the Siva linga. All of it can be summed up in this video (which we have posted before):
I want to stress a few other things:
  • Our trip was remarkably smooth and worry-free (given it is India!), thanks in no small part to Robert and the inimitable Radhakunda Das. I won’t lie. Probably 18% of the pull to return is the opportunity to be with Radhakun again. He’s one of those people you just have to meet in this life. (Robert happens to be another.)
  • You’re an Ashtangi? Worried about your practice suffering? No worries! You likely can count on having two authorized teachers along: Kate O’Donnell and Barry Silver.
  • We’re bringing it to your attention now so you can begin planning and saving, just as we are.

If you are interested, I am sure you can get more information from Robert at the Namarupa contact page. You also can read up there about other, past Yatras.

Our trip truly was life-altering. We cannot urge you to go strongly enough. If you are feeling a pull to Mother India, this is a great way to answer the call.

Posted by Steve

Why you should go to India

When Steve and I returned from India, we were hard pressed to describe the trip. We were inevitably asked, “Did you spend the whole time in Mysore?”, which was a poor set up for us, because we didn’t go to Mysore at all. We would end up in long, intense conversations where we excitedly described the concept of darshan, or the inner sanctum of a Siva temple.

Our yatra leader, Robert Moses, has solved the problem for us by creating this amazing video description of our trip. Robert, you may know, is co-editor (with Eddie Stern) of the excellent journal, Namarupa, as well as a photographer, and former swami. His video has little descriptions of all the aspects of a yatra, and interviews with each of us about what the yatra meant to us. It’s also a pretty convincing argument for you to go on one. You’ll see in the video that we practiced. But practice was so integrated into the journey, so deep in a spiritual context, the way we view it was totally altered. This explains why. (Email subscribers will need to go to the Vimeo page here.)

Thanks to Robert for allowing us to post.

Posted by Bobbie

Namarupa publishes special issue in memory of Shyamdas

As we (and many others) reported back in January, bhakti guru Shyamdas passed away following a motorcycle accident in Goa. It happened on Jan. 19, just a bit before his 60th birthday.

Now, Namarupa — co-published by Eddie Stern and Robert Moses, who led our yatra — has published a special edition dedicated to Shyamdas’ memory.

The link to the issue is here. You should be able to download the PDF version. Are there are more resources, as well. (As a side note, if you haven’t taken a look around Namarupa, we’d encourage you to do so. It brings a wonderful diversity of thoughts and approaches to parts of the yoga practice.)

Included in the issue are pieces by Eddie; Mike Diamond (aka Mike D of the Beastie Boys); Shyamdas’ partner Allyson Kreim, who was injured in the motorcycle accident; and several articles Shyamdas wrote for Namarupa.

Here’s an excerpt from one of Shyamdas’ pieces:

Hari plays with thousands and somewhere along the way, I was called. The Director brought me two hours south of Delhi, to God’s playground, to the sacred lands of Vrindavan, úrà Käüóa’s làlá land. I was eighteen and determined: a dream that had become reality had brought me to Vrindavan, and I headed straight for Neem Karoli Baba’s ashram. Not finding the master at home, I wandered around the outskirts of Vrindavan and came to úyám Kuôi ashram. There, the Mahant, the ashram’s head, called out to me in Hindi, but realizing that I did not understand him, a silver-haired Gujarati man, Maïgaldás, the servant of auspiciousness, came down the stairs and greeted me in proper English. Within two minutes, he not only had invited me to live with him, but had given me a Käüóa mantra which I use to this day. My entrance into Vrindavan had begun!

On a separate topic, today is Tim Miller’s 62nd birthday. You can read about his transformation from Pisces to Aquarius at his weekly blog. Happy birthday, Timji!

Posted by Steve

Traveling to the Amazon rainforest

Well before our yatra to India, we had met our leader, co-publisher of Namarupa Robert Moses, virtually — you know how those things go. You’ve got friends on Facebook, right, that you’ve really never met. It’s 2013. Well, in this case, it all was happening in 2012.

And then we got to know him, for real (if you will), on our trip. We learned more about his years in India, and we learned about his family. A big piece to that part of the story, the most present and immediate for him, was that his son, Satya, had just returned from a trip deep into the Amazon rainforest. A month-long trip, all totaled. With another Namarupa name, advisor Dr. Robert E. Svoboda. (We all had lunch with Robert in Mumbai.)

Keep in mind, Satya is a high school senior, I think. For me, at least, that’s a key part of this.

Satya has a first cut of a video — the apple in this respect has not fallen far from the tree, as I’m sure we’ll see once Robert’s video editing work from our yatra is done — up at Vimeo. Here’s a bit of his description:

We went on a month long trip and spent over a week in the rainforest participating in the spring festival of the Yawanawa people which is open to outsiders. During our stay we experienced song, dances, brutal “games,” shamanic rituals, and the strange boundary where ancient tradition meets modern innovation.

Eddie Stern has posted it, so hat tip to Eddie. Enjoy, and all I can say is that I went to Europe for about a month at the end of high school. Not so exotic anymore.

Posted by Steve

Some photos from our Namarupa Sadhana Yatra

I’ll admit up front that we didn’t take a ton of photos on our yatra. After all, our friend, Michelle Haymoz, was along to document things. (She’s now gone on to the Himalayas, and already she has taken some remarkable shots there.)

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Bobbie and a cow

We did get a few, though. Here’s a link to the Flickr page Bobbie set up. And here are more from some fellow yatris: Here and here. They were a bit more behind the camera than we were.

We’re really waiting on Michelle to get everything together, though. The previews we’ve had are amazing.

Update: A few more flickr series (including one by our leader, Robert Moses): Here and here.

I know they say a picture is worth 1,000 words, but in this case, I have to add: Try to go on a future Namarupa yatra!

Posted by Steve