Archive for the 'Teachings' Category

Ganga Carnaval: Kumbha Mela by Night

Wrote this way back in February… and then lost access to the Internet for a good long while… Enjoy!

The night before the massive influx of pilgrims to the Kumbha Mela, Ali, Stewart, Cathy and I snuck off campus.  Feb 1oth was going to be an “auspicious bathing day”—a very special day to take a dip in the Ganges—under a new moon, a time to let go of the past—habits, events, troubles—and inaugurate new beginnings.

In fact, ten MILLION people were expected. One million were already on site. We wanted to go into the Kumba at night, to see a different Mela.

We wanted to go before the swelling masses became impassable. Not to mention potentially hazardous. (post script: one of the makeshift pontoon bridges across the Ganges collapsed, and some pilgrims did die…)

We also wanted to escape what has come to feel like a very pleasant and highly scheduled summer camp on the HI Allahabad campus.

Night friends at Sangam

Why not? says Ali

We set off at 5pm aftert signing out at the Himalayan Institute’s main gate, knowing that we would miss dinner. We walked the mile up the Ganges over uneven goat paths and piles of trash.

For the first time, my feet did not hurt in spite of my blisters. It was exciting to be out of the herd. We reached the first and second gates into the Mela in a buoyant mood.

Night gates at sunset

First gates — advertising for holy men is everywhere

We didn’t have to go far to encounter something spectacular: a steady line of pilgrims coming across the first bridge. They were  hunched under bags of bedding striving forward with their walking sticks.

It was sunset, and the sight of all those scarved heads and sandaled feet crossing the river at dusk with such purpose was pretty impressive.

It gave us all a deep feeling for the importance of the pilgrimage, the scale of it in people’s lives. There’s no way that other huge festivals—such as Burning Man or Brazil’s Carnaval—could have such a massive feeling of sweet purpose.

Night pilgrims bridge better

Setting sun illuminates pilgrims

Past the second gate and down a side road we entered the main grounds of the Mela. People were walking, bathing, attending talks, but most were cooking over wood fires.

Those who weren’t already encamped in a tent camp, simply slept bundled up person to person on the side of the road. The sheer number of people was astounding, and the vibe—so different from a few days before, in the afternoon—was of purposeful excitement.

Night cooking by river

The air was burning with smoke

We walked pretty easily through the masses of people streaming past us, no jostling, no harassment, except for the very gentle delight of every single Indian (it seemed) to have their photos taken. Or to take photos of us, the impossibly light skinned people.

“Single photo! Single photo!” shrieked the children we passed, waving madly at us. “Tata! Tata!” (tata = goodbye)

Walking through swarms of pilgrims

Walking through swarms of pilgrims

We didn’t go into any of the makeshift palaces that lit up the main streets  like Las Vegas, but we window-shopped.

In one, an allegorical play was underway (we understood nothing, but the costumes were fab).

In another much more modest one, a man with long wooden earrings was dancing a very feminine dance on a stage lined with male  musicians.

Night Mela spectacle

KM spectacles

In yet another, a group of very pale Westerners sat around a ceremonial fire (kund) with zombie expressions on their faces throwing offerings of herbs and flowers into the flames. We looked, but we didn’t taste.

Ali was eager for snacks since we’d missed dinner back on campus. Truth be told, we were eating so much (3 very good meals a day) that I was not hungry at all.

But the snack stand was interesting. Ali bought dried and spiced chick-pea sticks mixed with dried peas, served in little cones of Indian newspaper. Yummy.

Night snacks

Night snacks

Finally, our eyes were streaming from the fire smoke and the wandering around began to be painful. We were coughing and a wee bit concerned to get back to campus not too late after our agreed-on time.

For a disorienting 1o minutes we argued about directions and took a few wrong turns (to some dark and smelly corners of the Mela)—but then Stewart expertly guided us back to the road we needed.

We arrived back—smokey and tired, but exhilerated—just before 10pm. And it seemed that back in the Mela many of the more energetic and vocal camps were just getting their kirtans started.

The chanting, singing, preaching, and “swa-ha”s went on all night, as usual. They were loud and fervent and clashing and wonderfully chaotic.

Ah, KM, so much to offer, so hard to decipher.

Night sunset fishing nets

Sunset downstream from the Mela

From the Sublime to the Ridiculous

2011 Yoga Journal Conference, NYC
Part Une

This weekend in is the second Yoga Journal conference in New York (the first was in 2009), and through a stroke of good fortune I was able to attend. Not wanting to waste a single drop of my precious pass, I chose to do the Friday all-day intensive with Rod Stryker, creator of Para Yoga.

In other words, I would spend the entire day with a Tantric teacher instead of at my day job. You can imagine that my choice was not difficult: reviewing manuscript for a remedial English textbook, or learning about how to overcome my limitations by becoming a living embodiment of the divine. Hmm. I put in for a personal day, rolled up my blue piling yoga mat, and packed off to the Hilton Hotel in mid-town.

I had another agenda, too. Stryker is a long-time student of Panditji Rajmani Tigunait, the spiritual head of the Himalayan Institute where I’ve been doing the Living Tantra series since July 2010. I wanted to see how Stryker interpreted the teachings of Panditji—and Panditji’s teacher, Swami Rama—for American yoga people. Truth be told, I was having some trouble with the mysterious and magical stories of Tantra’s history and practices. How exactly was I supposed to conduct a fire ceremony, or the secret rituals? How did my urban Brooklyn life fit in with Tantra’s esoteric take on reality?

So here they all were again, Tantra’s basic ideas, but presented in the low-lit conference room of a corporate hotel, rather than in a vegetarian ashram in northeastern Pennsylvania. In Tantra, Styrker reminded us, we don’t make the self go away in order to have a spiritual practice. Rather, we alchemize ourselves so that the divine works through us. How do we attract divinity? Not by giving up worldly things, but by becoming more like the divine in our daily lives. Tantric asana practice is a discipline to refine your energy so that the alchemy can happen.

What about sex and death, you ask? Well, in the left-handed path, which is all about enjoyment, no desire is denied because all desires are expressions of the divine. In the left-handed path, you can have all the sex you want, but you might also meditate in a cremation ground by sitting on a corpse. Ewww.

Since many people are not always comfortable with corpses—and truthfully probably not so much with hedonistic sex either—they have to practice asana, pranayama, mantra and ritual to clear out their misconceptions of the Source and limitated conceptions of the Self. In other words, on the right-handed path, which emphasizes liberation, people have to work to align their desires with the divine, to know that there IS a source behind everything. And this source is beyond what we can conceive of with the rational mind. In the right-handed path, no ecstatic copulation—and no visits to graveyards—is required.

Stryker talked for most of the morning session, introducing the subject of “god” and all its forms at about the half an hour mark. “We have all these choices but they are not related, not integrated. It’s like going to several specialists and getting several opinions–it almost paralyzes you. In Tantra we integrate them.”

Then we practiced. Gentle asana—that reminded me very much of ViniYoga asana practices—with the emphasis on the breathing pattern. On the inhale bring the breath down the spine and relax the bandhas, on the exhale bring the breath up the spine and contract the lower two locks. We were trying to build fire in the belly, the fire of manipura chakra, where our issues get burned up and purified, and where our sense of agency originates.

We did this in standing poses, back bends, and forward extensions, even adding in the mantra, Om Agni Namaha—the mantra to stimulate and propitiate the fire at our navel center.

Then we sat for meditation.

By the time we broke for lunch—and again after the afternoon session—I was high as a kite, floating on a pulsing current that eliminated every thought and even the need to breathe. When I asked Stryker a question in person afterward, my eyes felt dilated like I’d become a wide-eyed alien who had just visited the optometrist. It seemed like light and energy were pouring through them, but Rod answered my question without seeming to notice. No matter, I will bathe everyone I meet with my Tantric-generated fire, I thought, walking unsteadily out into the glaring hallway of the enormous hotel.

Clearly that wasn’t going to last long. In the evening I was signed up for David Romanelli’s “Yoga & Chocolate” class. While “yoga & chocolate” might seem to qualify for the left-handed path, it wasn’t hedonistic at all. In fact, going from Stryker to Romanelli was like falling from the breathless heights of Kilimanjaro and landing with a thump in a Starbucks.

Not that the chocolates weren’t good—the Vosges chocolates were complex and intriguing, especially the vegan one with Oaxaca chilis. It was the yoga that was prosaic. Your basic sun salutation, your basic back bend, your basic forward fold. And the sprinkling of interesting factoids throughout the class felt calculated to deliver a message to a demographic to which Romanelli, a self-proclaimed “major Gemini,” assumed we belonged—the too busy, too distracted crowd who was out of touch with our emotions and our five senses.

Romanelli was a clever marketer, but his delivery was flat—and in fact, he read from his factoids from a script. He seemed happiest when he was embracing beautiful women—of whom he seemed to know a great many (I saw him embracing them all over the Hilton).

Still, the 100 or so women—and 8 or so men—in attendance thought that “Yoga & Chocolate” was the way to go, and who am I to question how people approach meaning in their lives? I’d just dropped in from Mars, after all.

Costa Rica Yoga Bliss…. part 2

Part 2: Some Impressions from our Costa Rica Yoga Retreat, Feb 26 – March 5.

Here in the jungle, we’re constantly adjusting to the temperature, the abundance of oxygen, to being in yet another yoga class. With a class at 6:30 am and another at 4 pm, muscles are lengthening, joints lubricating, breath coming more an more easily.

Pre total relaxation

When we arrived, people’s faces were tight and drawn, tired from travel but also tired from the responsibilities of work and daily life.

After a few days people’s faces begin to look relaxed and then something magical starts to happen. Their faces start to glow, they start to look younger, more open, and more enthusiastic about the smallest things–a delicious taste, a warm breeze, an interesting thought.

To me, this is evidence of prana, the life force that gives vitality, rising and flourishing, bringing clarity to the skin, friendliness to dispositions and peace to people’s minds.

Chill-axing

As the stress of city life washes off it’s easy to see the toll it takes—bad sleep, rough digestion, low energy and poor mental functioning.

In the jungle, we’re just a short walk from balmy tropical waters. We lounge in a luxurious lodge built from local materials and staffed by local characters, some of whom have been walking this jungle their whole lives.

Slowed down, with relaxation a part of our daily routine, we begin to feel the spark of life pulsing again, that unexstinguished flame flare up more brightly.

And at the same time, immersed in teeming wilderness, we see ourselves in the context of all life, the constant movement and change of all natural forms.

Our hikes in the jungle show us snakes, spiders, monkeys, pixotes (a racoon-like animal wiht a long tail), pecaries (stinky wild pigs), and huge gloriously blue morpho butterflies.

Life is all around whether or not we check our email, return phone calls, ride subways, acquire or lose status or money, no matter who we know or are related to.

This is a visceral yoga lesson. Prana has many expressions—animal, vegetable, mineral, cognating, non-cognating—and a fierce intelligence. Nature, the material world, is more than just how much we weigh, how we style our hair, how we look in our yoga pants, how flexible we are, what we do, what we own.

Consciousness is sometimes valued higher than nature, but here it’s impossible to ignore nature’s power. Aside from the annoyance of bug bites (mosquitoes, black flies, no-see-ums etc) this nature is marvelous:  fecund, generous, majestic, strong, eye-opening.

It makes us revel in our own nature. And as Mr. Iyengar says, we notice, attend to, and love the body, as we would care for a child. It is a vehicle to all knowledge.

At the end of morning yoga practice, we have a sweet final relaxation serenaded by the tide going out, cooing mourning doves, seeds dropping on the clear roof over the deck, the low rumbling of nearby howler monkeys.

Back at the lodge, we breakfast on eggs, pancakes, fruit sauce, fresh juices (mango, sour-sop, tamarind, orange, pineapple etc), tortillas, tomato slices with fresh cheese, and of course lots of fruit.

Then it’s time to decide on the rest of the morning’s activities—a quick sweaty hike up to a platform that overlooks our cove? A cooling swim? Both? A tour of the botanical garden a short kayak away? A knowledgeable guide will take us and tell us more and more and more interesting things about this incredible place we have landed in.

We can also just take an hour or two on the seaside lounge chair under the almond tree chatting with whoever happens to be there–hanging out can also feel like a real indulgence.

We’re here for a week. No electricity, no phone, no money, no shops, no roads, nothing but yoga, the lodge, the jungle, the sea and the elements, the staff and each other. The rhythm of our days is simple and sweet, a luxury we all need.

This is what I wish I could give all my students–not to mention friends and family. Life pared down to extremely simple is what we’re dying for.  Beauty mixed with simplicity–and relaxation mixed with asana, meditation, and breathing–helps connect us to ourselves, see us in context of the greater life. It helps us remember who we truly are, and what it is that really matters.

Costa Rica Yoga Bliss….mmmmm….part 1

Back in late February, during the last terrible snow storm, I ran off to Costa Rica with Stephanie (my cohort in yoga teaching) and 7 yoga students to luxuriate and practice yoga in the tropics. It seems like a while ago now though I still have the tan-lines to prove it.

It’s easy to forget what was so worthwhile about being away. Especially in New York, where the vibe is “life is less-than incredible elsewhere.” But a retreat deep in the Costa Rican lushness is pretty incredible.

This year, I wrote some impressions to help me remember the sweetness of going on retreat. Below is part one and later this week, part two. Here goes…

Most mornings, around 6am when we stumble from our cabins into the lodge, we can see the scarlet macaws dancing and squawking in the almond tree 100 meters down at the beach.

We listen to a flock of toucans call. Just waking up, I have a sense of the jungle as a great big force with dizzying power, constantly growing, changing, demanding, expressing itself and requiring our full presence. Pay attention! It seems to say.

On moonlit nights the banana palms leaves and dewy paths are bright and silvery–and seem to quiver with life. It feels magical.

In the lodge, we lean over the balcony, or sit on the polished floor as we sip steaming tea and coffee, nibble a piece of ripe banana,  pineapple or papaya, trying to wake up.

From the nearby kitchen, comes the low sound of a radio and rhythmic chopping of the cook prepping the day’s food. A shy woman with her glistening hair pulled neatly back, in tidy cut offs and a grey T-shirt finishes mopping the almond-wood floors.

Yoga is at 630 down at the yoga deck near the beach. At 625 we gather our rolled up sticky mats and walk down through the reedy marsh over a wooden planked walkway (turtles, tadpoles, and toads underneath) over the lagoon with small red-winged black birds swooping by. The sky is flawless.

Everything is damp–from the planks on the yoga deck, damp from heavy afternoon rains, to the straps and blocks, kept in big plastic tubs, to the thriving jungle. Here in the south west of Costa Rica on the Pacific near Panama the humidity feels like it’s about 7000%.

Our clothes are never dry nor our hair. Long hair is always wet. Fine hair curls. Paper musts. Passports peel open like blooming laminated flowers. At night, the sheets begin damp and only get steamier with body heat, tossing under the draped canopy of mosquito netting.

But this is good news in class. For yoga this means that we don’t need to do many sun salutations to warm up. We can begin  with a quarter the number of lunges and warrior ones and twos before our bodies build the necessary heat to move on to variations.

Within a few minutes, the night’s stiffness–from active sleep, from yesterday’s hike to the waterfall or kayak trip to the snorkeling spot down the gulf–soon begins to shift and change, and even in these cool morning hours people sweat.

Costa Rica Bliss, Part 2 coming on Wednesday… stay tuned…

Meditation & “True Love”: Musings for V-Day

I’m delighted to have a personal essay up today on the online magazine YourTango.com, “smart talk about love.” It’s a new venue for me—and a new genre. Soul baring!

Well, soul baring with a purpose. I use a story of my own heartache to talk about a powerful meditation practice. For me, this is also a writerly experiment: the personal essay is a form I’ve long admired.

Also, I’ve been trying to reveal more of myself in my teaching as a way to engage students and avoid setting myself up as an untouchable authority. After all, I am very human.

Your Tango is a relationship-focused magazine, so while you’re there you can also read why bad relationships are a waste of time, or watch a video of Valentine’s Day cards we wished existed.

My piece is How Meditation Lead Me to True Love, on the home page, and in it I tell you how, for me, meditation and love are related.

Let me know what you think!

Had any similar experiences?

TimeOut NY Reviews My Basics Class!

It’s payback: after writing about other people’s classes and techniques I’ve been reviewed in TimeOut NY’s Fitness Issue, 2010. It’s a nice little write up.

Jonathan, the shy English reporter, had no context at all to understand what he was getting into, because…

…he had NEVER done yoga before. The word “vinaysa” was just a bunch of letters to him. Oy! Putting me to the test.

But he did well. In a class of 17, he selected a spot at the very back corner of the room where I slid him props and—a good student—he took child’s pose as needed. We all had a good time. Thanks for coming, Jonathan.

And thanks GO Yoga for having me as a teacher these past 7 years. (Come to GO’s 10-year anniversary party, Saturday, January 16, from 6pm on.)

The Review: Go Yoga

Types of yoga offered: Vinyasa, plus a creative interpretation of different schools.
Name of class: Basics with Joelle Hann
Length: 90 minutes
What to expect: A brisk yet beginner-friendly session, capped off with a Maya Angelou poem and a group om
Level: Yoga newbies can do it.
The verdict: Joelle Hann used the dimmable lighting and music to good effect, controlling the mood of the room. She also watches over her students with a sharp eye, supplying blocks and straps and correcting alignment. You’ll sweat during the more active part of the class, but you’ll leave feeling limber and relaxed, rather than fatigued.—Jonathan Shannon

Considering a New Year: 10 Resolutions

I haven’t been able to stop thinking about new year’s resolutions. Maybe because last years’ were unexpectedly potent. Over Christmas dinner last week (at a table surrounded by friends), I remembered one of them: “Be better friends with the friends I already have.” Huh, it worked. I also made some new friends. How great is that? (I raise a toast.)

The other was to start a meditation practice. After 20 years of attempts, I finally did it. Sitting every day! (Thanks for the method, Alan. Thanks for the prodding, Vanessa. Thanks for the company, Tim.)

So, here’s what I’ve been thinking about this week for the coming year. Take it or leave it—it’s free. Here’s to a happy new year—and an inspired decade.

1. Keep a small notebook-–a small one that fits in my pocket. Write down ideas, events and thoughts of the moment, lists, words overheard, sights overseen. I started this in November at the suggestion of a writing teacher (thank you, Victoria) and it has blazed some interesting new trails. How much was I censoring myself? A lot.

2. Break out of the routine for one hour every week—even if it means walking down a new block (which in fact I love to do). In 2010, I’d like to shake things up; keep the brain and spirit fresh. Visit new parks, museums, bookstores etc. Cheaper than a ticket to Rio de Janeiro, too.

3. Use a key phrase for comfort.  Sometimes I have a mantra from my meditation teacher and then I forget to say it. But it could also be a phrase someone—anyone—has said that was moving. Health psychologist Kelly McGonigal, for new year’s 2006, said, “one of the most moving experiences I have had was when one of my teachers said it to me – “Whatever happens, you can handle it.” Another good one is from ad exec, Paul Arden: “Start being wrong and suddenly anything is possible. You’re no longer trying to be infallible.”

4. Take on a reasonable amount—and no more. This week I set out to do a reasonable number of tasks each day instead of a superhuman number. It’s been fantastic. Lo-and-behold, I’ve been getting more done and feeling friendlier, too. (It sure helps to get to work at noon.)

5. Check in weekly to see where I am and what’s ahead. My own personal 1:1 staff meeting. I’ve set Friday afternoons for this weekly accounting. It’s actually pretty fun, and it helps manage the overwhelm. Another good idea from Victoria.

6. Use iCal on my laptop and on my iPhone. Getting my schedule out of my head and onto “paper” clears some space…. for all those thoughts that I need to get down in my notebook! (See #1.)

7. … also it’s *really* interesting to see how much junk I’m carrying around in my head. I would like that junk to stop jabbing me in meditation, so I’m excited to put it down somewhere. (The creative company Behance has all kinds of strategies, apps, and stationary to help with this very thing—thank you, Jocelyn Glei!)

8. Inbox zero! Again: inbox zero!

9. Annoying people and situations (hello, crowded subway) offer a chance to learn and grown—I know, I know, SUCH a cliche! But there’s a catch: they are opportunities only if I can stay vulnerable. It is challenging not go into habit—and so, interesting. Heart forward!

10. Open your eyes. For one minute every day, see who and what is around you. This summer I noticed an overgrown corner lot at S1 and Driggs. I’ve lived one block from it for probably 10 years: in July it was lush vines, weeds, morning glories, and leafy tree branches spilling over the fence. It was wonderful to walk past. I found myself taking detours to stroke the cat-tails, smell the flowers, inhale the green. Even if you’ve seen your local spot or your trusted people a 1,000,000 times, see them again. Recall the native greeting in Avatar, “I see you.”

It’s great to open your eyes.

Enlighten Up! The Quest for a Story

“At teacher preview screenings so far there’s always someone who gets angry,” says Kate Churchill, writer, director, and producer of Enlighten Up! A Skeptic’s Journey into the World of Yoga, a yoga documentary that premieres in New York on April 1, 2009.

By teachers, she means yoga teachers.

In 2004, Churchill, a die-hard yogini, chose yoga-skeptic Nick Rosen to go in search of answers to the questions many people ask about yoga: what is yoga? and what can yoga do for me? Kate directs Nick’s quest, selecting places to visit, books to read. The journey becomes an accelerated initiation that progresses from first yoga classes in Manhattan to the homes and ashrams of sages worldwide. Both Kate and Nick wonder: will Nick shed his skepticism?

While there is also a lot of laughter at the teacher screenings, Churchill says, some yoga teachers think the film is superficial. “They think the movie is belittles yoga.”

You just want to say, lighten up folks.

 

Personally, I found the device (skeptic against believer) effective—and probably the best way to make yoga appealing to non-enthusiasts. Still, I wondered why Churchill didn’t make a documentary of herself searching for these gurus?

Churchill, who began making documentaries for TV in 1995, is a long-time yoga practitioner (4x a week under normal conditions, every day under stress). However naively (she says herself), some time before 2004 she wanted to find a truly enlightened being. This yogi would be the last word in yoga and would put her on a direct path to samadhi, or as the Buddhists call it, nirvana: enlightenment.

When the opportunity to make a film arose, she considered it a chance to find that being. The only tiny little teensy-weensy obstacle would be shaping her own quest into a compelling story, while using something — or someone — else as a subject that everyone could relate to.

When Nick Rosen, a 29-year old journalist, agreed to be her guinea pig, and executive producers (who she had met while practicing yoga in Boston) already on board, Churchill began what became a 5-year odyssey.  It wasn’t what she’d bargained for.

I spoke to Churchill on a Friday afternoon, a few days before the April 1, 2009, premiere (see interview following).

For full disclosure, I will say that Nick’s interview with Iyengar, the Indian sage, basically sums up my feeling about yoga (you can get the spiritual benefits from the physical practice; benefits come slowly for some, quickly for others, there is no rush, keep practicing) which gave me a warm fuzzy, feeling inside.

But I also had a few problems with the film. First, why was Kate being such a bitch to Nick? He seemed willing enough and, for a skeptic, pretty reflective. “We’ve been throwing around the word ‘transformation’ a lot,” he says. A reasonable comment. (The yoga world often does toss out big concepts without defining them or even understanding them.) Still, Kate’s not pleased.

I also wondered how any newbie would deal with such a fast-track to the yoga stars. In my first six months of practice, I was just happy I could do chaturanga with a herd of other sweating yogis. Flying around the world to meet the most influential men in yoga today could set the stakes freakishly high for anyone. 

Lastly, I wanted to know more details from Nick himself about how his journey might have affected him—or not—in the long term. The film ended on a weak note. (post script, April 15 Nick writes his commentary on Huffington Post.)

Within the world of yoga documentaries and commentary, Enlighten Up! isn’t as acerbically insightful as Yoga, Inc, John Philps’ 2006 documentary on the entertaining contradictions of the yoga business. It isn’t as earnest as Gita Desai’s 2006 documentary Yoga Unveiled nor as funny as gentle mockeries from The Onion (see below), or McSweeney’s, nor as freakish as some of the stuff on YouTube such as  Kung Fu vs. Yoga.

But I enjoyed it. It was a humanizing look at a couple of impossible questions: What is yoga? We can’t really tell you. How can it work for me? You’ll have to find out for yourself.

 

The Onion Mocks Yoga

© Copyright 2009, Onion, Inc.

Culture of Kirtan

A NYTimes piece on the appeal of quasi-spiritual, sing-along kirtans.

KirtanHere seen in Montreal…. 

The Times says, “And an increasing number of Americans seem to be connecting with kirtan. At the Omega Center in Rhinebeck, N.Y., attendance to its Ecstatic Chant festival has doubled over the last five years. The numbers are also up at Integral. Jo Sgammato, 57, the center’s general manager, said the Friday-night kirtan would have about 25 participants 10 years ago; now the center will sometimes host 400 in a single weekend when kirtan stars like Krishna Das, Jai Uttal and Wah! perform. At the Jivamukti Yoga School in Manhattan, 700 people came last September to see Krishna Das, setting a record for kirtan at the center.”

kirtan2

… here in NYC. 

Metropolitan (yoga) Diary

From the NYTimes, Metropolitan Diary entry, Jan 11.

Only in New York, folks. Only in New York:

“Dear Diary:

In my yoga studio on West 72nd Street recently, the instructor reassured a newcomer, “Don’t worry, there are no Rockettes here.”

A woman in the front row piped up, a bit embarrassed but also trying to reassure in her own way, “Actually, I’m a Rockette.”

And then another called out, “So am I.”

Would any other city have forced that yoga teacher’s foot into his mouth?

Kay Harel