Thoughts on Samadhi, crazy Russian yoga bans and Big Wednesday

Back from our first blog Moon Day, and not that we found Samadhi there, but maybe this can help you get there:

The very opposite of that, I think, is this story, which as these stories always do is getting a ton of coverage because… crazy:

Officials in the central Russian city of Nizhnevartovsk have called off all yoga classes held in both private and municipal facilities as part of a crackdown on “religious cults.”

According to the Moscow Times, which cited a report in the RussianKommersant daily, the owners of two of the city’s main hatha-yoga studios received letters from government officials telling them to immediately cease their classes because the practice of yoga could “spread new religious cults and movements.”

Yoga classes have also been taking place at a stadium and public meeting hall in Nizhnevartovsk. However, the heads of the local departments for physical culture and education received letters as well, the Moscow Timessays, describing yoga as “inextricably linked to religious practices” and having a distinct “occult character.”

I have not yet seen a response from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

But here’s a tacit response from not-NBA MVP but clearly the world’s best basketball player:

As’s Ken Berger broke down during the NBA Finals, LeBron James may be a well-oiled machine but his body still needs to be taken care of appropriately. Which is why James took the time to teach attendees at the Nike Basketball Academy how to properly stretch using the ancient art of yoga.

The quick little story includes this oh-so-wonderful line: “Of course James is not a certified yoga instructor but like anyone that has taken a class before, he probably knows the basics.” And that qualifies you!

Finally, we’re a day late in pointing you to Tim Miller’s latest blog post, which was on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning’s confluence of Venus and Jupiter:

At 00:51amPDT Venus and Jupiter make their long awaited conjunction at 28 degrees Cancer, in Ashlesha nakshatra.  Asuraguru (Venus) and Devaguru (Jupiter) assemble their forces for the churning of the Kshirasagara—the Ocean of Milk—to bring the prized Amrita, the nectar of immortality, to the surface.


In the great churning of the Ocean of Milk on “Big Wednesday”, the waves will be huge, and many things will surface, including the Amrita.  Whether we get barreled or wipeout depends entirely on us—we won’t have the luxury of a stand-in to do our surfing for us.

What Tim’s referring to there is, of course:

And I’ll be taking that blog post as tacit approval of my spending more time in the water in Encinitas than at the shala while all those Third Series people are training.

Posted by Steve

An intense weekend ahead and cultivating healthy attachments

Bobbie and I finally are getting back down to Tim Miller’s this weekend — fingers crossed — for his Sunday Led class. We figure it will be a good kick-in-the-pants ahead of going back east for Eddie Stern and Robert Moses weekend workshop.

Our timing, though, may be less than ideal, according to Tim himself:

Currently Venus is close to perigee—the part of its orbit that comes closest to the Earth.  As Venus gets closer to the Earth, it exerts a very powerful effect on us and we may find ourselves obsessed with the desire for connection.  With the Sun heating things up even more, it may get a little intense this weekend.  This is an energetic alignment and we will probably want to be around people and receive lots of attention.  We could even be more charming and magnetic than usual and able to attract the attention that we so desperately desire.  The one thing to be on guard against is feeling that you are the most charming and beautiful person in the Universe, and assuming that everyone else feels the same way, when they are just seeing you as a vain, conceited, and pompous fool.

Clearly I will be demanding a lot of adjustments.

You can read on for more about Venus’ influence at the link above.

To counter what sounds like a clear over-attachment to our own worth and wonderfulness, Guy Donahaye is back with a new blog post on healthy attachments:

If the foregoing three aspects of life are in healthy balance, then liberation is also possible. Being healthily established in one’s dharma, one’s means of earning and spending and one’s pleasures, a healthy human being has the capacity for realization.

In fact, the healthy relationship between these three leads directly to the fourth. Being healthily established in the body, having performed one’s duties to one’s self (such as yoga practice) and to others, one is then well prepared for suitable work, from which one may derive appropriate pleasure.

It is possible that the happiness derived from harmonious and healthy living naturally starts to merge our minds in samadhi. Samadhi is a birthright and dis-harmony, ill health and distress prevents its appearance.

I’ve fast-forwarded you to the end. Read on to get learn about all the aims of life.

Posted by Steve

Tim Miller on the rare Venus Retrograde, and why it’s time to start meditating

Tim Miller is back to what I think of as the core feature of his Tuesdays with Timji blog: making sense of the night sky for us.

As I’ve heard it, Tim got interested in Vedic Astrology as he was struggling to figure out why his Ashtanga practice could vary so much from day to day. As is clear from hearing him talk or reading his blog, he’s expanded his knowledge of the skies beyond just the Vedic perspective.

Earlier this week, we had a rare occurrence: Venus going retrograde — and something even rarer on the figurative horizon (or is it literal in this case?). Here’s Tim explaining it:

This phenomenon occurs approximately every 18 months for about six weeks at a time, so, in relation to the other planets, which turn retrograde more often and stay that way longer, this is a relatively rare occurrence. … On June 5th the Sun and Venus will be conjunct, and from some vantage points, Venus will appear as a small black dot moving across the face of the sun for about seven hours. This phenomenon (such a close conjunction of Venus and the Sun) has not occurred since 1882 and will not happen again in our lifetime. Venus will then gradually shift to the other side of the Sun, reappearing on June 13th as the “Morning Star” just above the eastern horizon before sunrise. In the Mayan culture, this transition of Venus from an “Evening Star” to a “Morning Star” symbolizes the rebirth of Venus after spending some time in the underworld.

Tim goes on to explain what you might want to avoid and what to expect during the next six weeks. He also lays forth the meaning of this weekend’s new moon:

The New Moon on Sunday May 20th occurs at 4:47pm PDT in the Nakshatra known as Krittika. Krittika means “the one who cuts”, and is related to the English word “critical”. Krittika has a piercing quality which seeks to get to the root of any situation and which can sometimes come across as perfectionism or fault finding, but is very effective in cutting through the bullshit and getting the job done.

What this means in the Confluence household, I think, is this: We need to quit dawdling and get to meditating as yet another part of our preparation for our end of the year Yatra.

In other words, it is time to cut through the bullshit reasons we have not to sit our asses down and quiet our mind. To which I say: Crap.

Posted by Steve