Equinox poem: Lines Written in Early Spring

In honor of spring’s arrival. One by William Wordsworth.

***

Lines Written in Early Spring

I heard a thousand blended notes,
While in a grove I sate reclined,
In that sweet mood when pleasant thoughts
Bring sad thoughts to the mind.

To her fair works did Nature link
The human soul that through me ran;
And much it grieved my heart to think
What man has made of man.

Through primrose tufts, in that green bower,
The periwinkle trailed its wreaths;
And ’tis my faith that every flower
Enjoys the air it breathes.

The birds around me hopped and played,
Their thoughts I cannot measure:—
But the least motion which they made
It seemed a thrill of pleasure.

The budding twigs spread out their fan,
To catch the breezy air;
And I must think, do all I can,
That there was pleasure there.

If this belief from heaven be sent,
If such be Nature’s holy plan,
Have I not reason to lament
What man has made of man?

***

That question feels timely.

Posted by Steve

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Yes, the sun is warming us all back up

Tuesday of this week was Makar Sankranti, the day when Spring returns to India. As Tim Miller noted in his blog this week, it is one of the few Hindu holidays to follow the solar, not lunar, cycle. A little more from Timji:

The days are visibly getting longer now and the Sun is coming into its waxing period of strength for the next six months.  In India this is considered to be one of the most auspicious days of the year, associated with regeneration.  During the month of Makara, Surya, the Sun, is visiting his son, Shani’s (Saturn’s), house because Shani is the ruling planet of Makara.  Normally Surya and Shani don’t get along well, but for the next month there is an opportunity for fathers and sons to connect at a more harmonious and beneficial level.  In the Mahabharata, Makar Sankranti is the day that Bhishma, grandfather of the Pandavas, made his exit from the world of men and returned to the land of the Devas.

If you’re unfamiliar with that part of the story, you should remedy that! Just kidding. If you haven’t read Ramesh Menon’s re-telling, he does an amazing job of capturing Bhisma’s agony but also calm as he awaits for an auspicious time for his life to end.

I’m pretty sure I’ve relayed the story that I first read Bhisma’s passing by Menon while in Tulum for Tim’s week-long training. Talk about an auspicious time! It was made even more moving by all the hard study, heart-opening and ragged emotions of the week.

You can get the quick version from Tim this week. He even put up a Part II on Wednesday afternoon that focuses on history’s only two “real” yogis.

Posted by Steve

Which of these three yoga teachers do you suppose people find ‘crazy?’

Ashtanga teachers have popped up in two major North American newspapers over the past couple of days.

David Gellineau, from the Toronto Star

The first case is in the Toronto Star; the teacher is David Gellineau. And the headline on this post is, honestly, the first thought I had when I finished reading through the piece.

The Star ran a Q&A with what it bills as three of the city’s top yoga teachers. Here’s what made me wonder the above (I’ve edited it a bit to bring the quotes together):

MONICA VOSS

Q. What is your daily practice?

I try to practise formally for about one hour a day, but there are also all kinds of small opportunities during the day and evening, even during the night, to stretch, take a big breath, and establish the body on the ground.

DAVID GELLINEAU

Q. What is your daily practice?

I practice six times a week, for about two to three hours a day, starting at 4:30 in the morning.

The third teacher doesn’t answer the same question (or we would have had a perfect balance), so here’s a slightly similar exchange:

NANCY ANJALI WEISER 

Q. Who is your yogic mentor?

I don’t have a guru, but the yogi I admire the most is Swami Sivananda, a great saint in India who exemplified service to humanity and promoted unity amongst all beings.

OK, it’s really the daily practice question that leaps out. An hour a day versus two to three, starting at “4:30 in the morning.” Surely a few readers couldn’t hold back their, “What?!” I’m thinking this article may not have gotten Gellineau a bunch of new students… but that’s Ashtanga right?

The trio all do answer one question. Here it is (again, I’m pulling them all together; the Q&A is presented differently):

MONICA VOSS

Q. What are your favourite poses?

I like any posture that helps me feel happier living in my body.

DAVID GELLINEAU

Q. What are your favourite poses?

I don’t really have a favourite posture. I honestly just do my practice and I like doing all of it.

NANCY ANJALI WEISER

Q. What are your favourite poses?

At the moment, my favourite pose is extended side angle. It instills in me a great sense of confidence, determination, will power and strength — like I can be and accomplish anything.

Nothing too shocking there. Maybe the answers shed some particular light on different types of asana practice or those who practice them.

The second newspaper appearance is by Diana Christinson, who was one of Bobbie’s teachers along the way. We posted about her earlier column in the Orange County Register. She has another up, about Spring:

The imaginal cell inspires us to believe in transformation and to imagine.

The equinox brings vibrant colors and smells. Seeing the first caterpillar will remind me of the Einstein quote, “Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.”

What is coming? What is possible? The caterpillar’s message, what can we imagine for ourselves?

We’re privy to “what is coming,” right?

Posted by Steve