Friday’s Full Moon – Guru Purnima


From the archives.

As we look forward to another Guru Purnima on Tuesday, July 19, may we look also toward what in the wake of the Anusara crisis yoga teacher Sianna Sherman called “accelerated interior learning.” I do not counsel navel–gazing, but the sort of contemplation that leads to right action.

The Considered Kula

As I begin to write, a large salmon-colored moon is rising in the southeastern sky. It is Guru Purnima.

Guru Purnima is referred to in the Indian epic, the Mahabharata and other texts as the day to worship our Guru, especially “Sat Gurus”, those who teach us about the deeper, spiritual lessons in life. It is said to the most auspicious day to be with your Guru. It was originally called Vyasa Purnima, after the sage and author Veda Vyasa, but with th passage of time has been changed to Guru Purnima.

It occurs on the Full Moon day in the Indian month of Ashada (July – August in the Gregorian calendar system). This is the day when our mind (Moon) can most easily “feel” the Guru, and greater imbibe their wisdom.

via Friday’s Full Moon – Guru Purnima and Vedic Astrology | elephant journal.

Today I played Krishna…

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“The Useless Tree” – Chuang Tzu – Inspiration Pointe


From the archives! But first, a case in point:

https://instagram.com/p/BH7qYgzh0kQ/

The Considered Kula

Last week I was making small talk with a student about another class in which I had seen her taking a test. “Social psychology. It’s very practical.” she quipped. I tried not to take this as a comment upon the subject matter I dearly love, namely, that sociology is impractical. Later, however, as the discussion revolved around exchange theory, and the possible advantage of doing someone a favor, she suggested that social psych had ready the concept of equity. They really aren’t the same because in equity theory, relationships seek balance, but in exchange theory, doing someone a favor creates an imbalance of power, which establishes reciprocity.

I don’t fault the student here, but rather, the whole context in which we operate, one in which the views and findings of sociology are undervalued, especially as impractical, particularly by psychology. It reminds me of Thomas Merton’s interpretation of Chuang Tzu’s parable…

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Yoga philosophy, race, and ‘colorblindness’ — Tantrik Studies


Chris Wallis (Hareesh) provides an insightful and challenging reflection on yoga philosophy and the Black Lives Matter movement that is worth a full read. But here for me is an especially powerful core to his reflection.

[B]efore I try to give anyone a teaching about their innermost Spirit—that within them which is unborn and undying—I had better be ready to see and accept and love the pain of their embodiment.

via Yoga philosophy, race, and ‘colorblindness’ — Tantrik Studies

I especially love its consonance with what I teach about race in Introduction to Sociology, namely that while race is a social construct, it is one with consequences.

[T]hough the reasons we might give for systemic racism are of course mental constructs that we can argue about, the pain suffered by people of color in connection with systemic racism is real, not a story, and it needs to be compassionately witnessed before it can be transcended. [emphasis in original]

I also like how the piece opens with brutal honesty about how his earlier attempts to reconcile yoga philosophy and the challenge of a personal experience of racism had caused another pain and cost him a friendship.

Lastly, he laments that the path of embodiment and awakening has in our culture been reserved for the privileged, and how this was not the original intent of these teachings, which are supposed to be open to all.

In general, Wallis’s work on illuminating Tantra, locating modern postural yoga within Tantric philosophy, and bringing esoteric traditions to modern audiences is of great service to the yoga community. This effort to grapple with a compelling issue of contemporary concern simply enhances his offerings.

 

When Pema Chödrön and others have begun to break silence on contemporary political issues, we see a sort of “mindfulness rising,” a movement away from what Quakers encountered within their own tradition as “quietism.” When Eastern spiritual traditions as they have taken root in the US take stands on political issues, I think we see their maturity. This hearkens also to Roshi Glassman’s Instructions to the Cook, and various writings by Thich Nhat Hahn, like Love in Action, on “engaged Buddhism”in Vietnam and elsewhere. But is this really new? As Stefanie Syman indicates in The Subtle Body: The Story of Yoga in America, Ralph Waldo Emerson was first to introduce the Bhagavad Gita in the US, and Henry David Thoreau, whose essay on the duty of civil disobedience inspired Gandhi, King and others, may have been trying to practice yoga at Walden Pond.

In taking a nondual approach to embodiment and enlightenment, we see the fundamental unity of liberation of personality and community. This is one of the things this blog was supposed to be about. I keep promising a more systematic treatment of this, and current events keep telling me it’s high time.

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Consider Stillness on the Full Moon Solstice


Here’s a short, sweet post from my yoga teaching blog. Consider chilling out today.

Wholehearted Yoga

This morning we marked a full moon, and tonight, we’ll observe the Summer Solstice. The last time this happened was in 1967, during the “Summer of Love.”

So I do like the advice above from @mysore_sf to rest. The full moon in summer lends enough energy on its own, and the solstice does even more so. Our inclination, observing and sensing these energies, is to expend a lot ourselves. We can really go off the charts with that energy, and should balance it with more resting, cooling practices. Minimize those things that aggravate pitta doshacaffeine, alcohol, activity, and strenuous practices.

Remember that the sol–stice refers to the stillness or stillpoint of the sun.

Cate Stillman says…

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Why You NEED Self-Care – You Are Your Greatest Asset


Lately I have been doing a lot of personal and professional inquiry into mindfulness in higher education. This is not just a hobby. My return to higher education grew up entwined with my journey into yoga. They are somehow inseparable. A great deal of emotional work is required in teaching, especially in an era of scarcity, in which we prepare young people for the fairly formidable challenges left behind by preceding generations, including our own. So the possibility is great for being depleted, or worse, becoming cynical. The world’s headlines alone threaten to overwhelm, not to mention the very concrete facts of those in our care. While depletion may exhaust us and drain our efficacy, to me cynicism is so much more pernicious because it actively corrodes the souls of others. I find the following observations helpful.

I know from experience that when I am not taking care of my own mental health, when I don’t have a place to process the things I hear every day, I start to think differently myself.  I start to believe that everything in the world is as twisted as the things that I hear on a day to day basis.  There are different names for this such as vicarious traumatization or compassion fatigue.

It can be difficult to recognize when these things are happening, because it isn’t some large, life-changing, traumatic event.  It is the day to day build-up of all of the things I hear.  It is like a light, almost foggy rain, it barely gets you wet, but if you stay out in it long enough you still get soaked.  So what is there to do? How do we avoid this as a profession and as people? The answer is simple, it is called self-care.

Source: Why You NEED Self-Care – You Are Your Greatest Asset | Ethical Business in the 21st century

We need practices to maintain ourselves because in work with people, such as teaching, it is ourselves we offer. If we are focused enough on self–care in support of such service, perhaps we can offer these practices to others. Perhaps these practices, once spread, can begin to help transform the very circumstances that overwhelm us, tempting us to depletion or cynicism. I am, indeed, once again, making the argument that personal and social change are inextricably linked.

I have been meaning to write some much longer pieces developing these ideas, and perhaps thinking about self–care in this light is a way back in.

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Deceptively Simple


This morning I was seized by this deceptively simple offering.

The More You Are Motivated By Love The More Fearless & Free Your Action Will Be – Dalai Lama

Thequotepedia.com | Spiritual | Forward this Picture

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Night Shift is Here


Last time I reported about the availability on the iOS App Store, of an app that would shift the temperature of one’s iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch to warmer temperatures at night, so that one could sleep. Well, I hadn’t realized that at that point the app had been pulled.

But Apple has made TimeShift available as a part of iOS 9.3, available yesterday, with the introduction of an new iPhone SE and 9.7-inch iPad Pro.

So have at it, and come in, the water’s fine.

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Apple Approves ‘FlexBright’ iOS App That Adjusts Display Temperature [Update: Pulled] – Mac Rumors


 

 

You may recall that back in December 2014, I wrote to you about f.lux, which allows one to change the temperature of your Mac screen, so that its brightness does not keep you up all night, and you can observe dina charya (the Ayurvedic daily rhythm) for better sleep.

While this is available as an app for iOS (for iPhones and iPads), one would have had to “jailbreak” the device, undoing all its security. Until now.

FlexBright, an app that allows the user to manually adjust the display temperature of an iOS device, was recently approved by Apple, marking one of the first third-party apps that’s able to function in a manner similar to the company’s own Night Shift mode, set to be released in iOS 9.3. The only catch is it must be triggered somewhat manually in response to a notification, rather than continuously, like Night Shift or f.lux.

I look forward to trying out this app, until the next point release of iOS becomes available with Night Shift.

via Apple Approves ‘FlexBright’ iOS App That Adjusts Display Temperature [Update: Pulled] – Mac Rumors.

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My very serious and deeply spiritual guide in Bikaner


I know the people who will not give money to the homeless because they will just spend it on booze, or because they see it as prolonging this “lifestyle.” I have no time for absolutes, seeing everything as dependent on context. I think this story is instructive.

Beyond that, I am impressed with the reverence for life even among the poorest people. We should be taught by this.

Essentialyogastudio's Blog

bikaner tour guide (2) (533x800).
Cow Sanctuary
We were talking about the sacred cows of Bikaner and the history behind it.  I told my guide what my friend said in Pune; that once the cows/buffalos got too old to be useful they were sold to Muslims for slaughter.

Maybe that happens in large cities like Pune and Mumbai where people have lost their faith, but that would never happen in Northern India.  Here we have veterinary hospitals and sanctuaries for them.  When they get too old they go to the sanctuaries so they won’t die alone.  Some are blind, deformed, sick, some are dying.  If they can walk, they walk the fields.  If they are blind, we put a male and female together so they can comfort each other.

Each morning I get up my wife makes chapati. The first one goes to a cow.  Every morning a large bull knocks on our door with…

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Open to Grace: Launching the Considered Kula


From the archives. Five years ago today.

The Considered Kula

You have arrived at the inaugural post of “The Considered Kula.” Breathe, and Open to Grace.

From “About” this blog

“Kula” is a Sanskrit word meaning “family” or “intentional community” that has taken on the meaning of “community” within Anusara Yoga™, which I practice. It seems to be a distinctive characteristic of the style, evoking its emphasis on “heart opening.”

The project of this blog, the sense in which kula is “considered,” is that in addition to being an eager student of this style of yoga, I am by training a sociologist. I hope to write creatively about the tension of these apparent opposites, which are both a part of who I am.

I launch this blog now, because it has been about two years since I have been on the path of Anusara Yoga. I had two key struggles in my life at the time. One was…

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