June 2015 Newsletter from Srivatsa Ramaswami—Events
I was in UK for 3 weeks doing three different programs organized by Steve Brandon of Harmony Yoga. The first was a 6 hr workshop on “Yoga for Internal Organs” at Jivamukti in London. It was well attended. It was based on my studies with m Guru on the six physical kosas. The human body is known as “Shat kaushika Sarira” or “six bags body”. These six kosas contain six vital organs which in turn sustain six subsystems to maintain vital functions. They are the heart and the circulatory system (hridaya losa and rakta sanchara). The lungs and the respiratory system (svasa kosa and the prana sanchara), the stomach and the digestive system (annakosa), uterus and the reproductive system (garha kosa ), bladder/kidneys and the urinary system (mutra kosa), the elimination bag (malakosa). Yoga has some very extraordinary procedures something unique to the yoga system like Kapalahati, the inversions, different pranayamas like ujjayi and nadisodhana all have very salutary effects on these systems. The workshop was to identify these yogic procedures and relate to these systems and the benefits these confer to the six kosas and the subsystems and also on the brain and the nervous system. I thought the program went well
I taught a five day 25 hour “Core Vinyasakrama Asanas” program for Harmony Yoga at the spacious Mahatma Gandhi Hall at Indian YMCA in London. All the 10 major vinyasa sequences were covered with hundreds of vinyasas and scores of asanas in each of the major groups. The participants were taught and they also practised many rounds of different pranayamas several times. The importance of breath oriented vinyasas was stressed. It was a well attended program with many coming from other parts of UK and especially also from Europe, like Sweden, Norway Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Ireland and then from the US.
Then at Wells, Somerset in UK was this 13 day Gita marathon. 13 participated fully in the program and a few attended the program for a few days. Bhagavatgita was one of the subjects taught by Sri Krishnamacharya which I studied from him. I had taught the Gita to a few individuals, but this was the first time I attempted to do this at one stretch the entire text. We did not follow any particular well known commentaries like those of Sankara or Ramanuja nor the contemporary interpreters. I based it on the teachings of my Guru and my notes. It was 5 ½ hrs everyday for 13 consecutive days. We went through every word of all the slokas/verses (700) in all the chapters (18). All stayed to the end. The reactions were somewhat mixed. Some were clearly uncomfortable with some of the teachings of the Gita but many on many occasions were happy and appeared astonished at the unique teachings of Lord Krishna to Arjuna. . The Gita is a Brahma Vidya and aims to educate ordinary people like Arjuna and us, the non-scholars about Brahman the ultimate reality as per the Upanishads. It is perhaps the most widely read works from India and has scores of commentaries, ancient and modern. But as many believe , the best commentary of Bhagavatgita is the Bhagavatgita itself, The Lord comes down to the level of non scholar like Arjuna so that one can understand the complexities of life, about oneself and the ultimate reality which is Brahman. The Gita is Brahmavidya and is also a Yoga Sastra or a treatise on Yoga. It was part of Krishnmacharya's teaching of Yoga. He would point out the several similarities of Yoga sutras of Patanali and Krishna's Gita. It harmonizes all yogas as Bhakti, Karma and Gnana and thus becomes a wholesome teaching of Yoga, this Krishna's Bhagavatgita..
Steve Brandon from UK underwent the 200 hr TT program several years ago at LMU. He also attended my programs in Chicago and then in New Delhi India. He has been teaching Yoga for several years and his Harmony Yoga has been successfully functioning for 10 years now. He judiciously combines his yoga knowledge with a his Ayurveda background and makes himself doubly useful to his students/patients. He has arranged programs for me in UK for several years. He was keen that I should teach in UK several of the subjects taught by my Guru. I have been able to teach Hatayogapradipika, Samkhya Karika, Yoga Sutras and the Bhagavatgita. As this would be my last trip to UK for doing long extended progras, I wish to thank Steve for affording me the opportunity to teach these subjects for his Harmony Yoga. He not only organized these programs meticulously but also brought in very dedicated and keen participants Thank you Steve and Sally.
I intend teaching an abbreviated program (25 hrs) of Gita in July/ August in LA for a few weekends during the time I will be teaching the 200 hr TT program in Vinyaskrsma at LMU. I intend to go through the entire text, verse by verse, if possible. Here are the details of the program contained in the brochure.
The Bhagavad Gita A 25 hour Immersion with Srivatsa Ramaswami Sri Krishnamacharya was a versatile teacher. In addition to yogasana`s he taught vedic chanting and several texts like the Yoga Sutras, Brahma Sutras, and of course the Bhagavat Gita. He truly lived up to his given name Krishnamacharya, meaning Krishna the teacher/preceptor. His teaching of the Gita had a unique depth and flavor as he was a practicing yogi, not just an academician. In this program the Bhagavat Gita (The teachings of the Lord) will be gone through completely chapter by chapter. It deals with the entire range of human experience and endeavors and the Lord’s guidance to everyone to go through life fruitfully and reach the ultimate spiritual state of Yoga. A young Ramaswami with Krishnamacharya
Srivatsa Ramaswami (76) was a student of the legendary yogi Sri T Krishnamacharya for over 30 years. He studied hatayoga, vinyasakrama, chanting of several chapters of the yajurveda, yoga sutra`s, and Sanskrit philosophical texts like the upanishad vidya`s from Taittiriya, Mandukya,Mundaka, Chandogya, Brihadaranyaka and others, samkhya, karika et al. He has published four book: Yoga For The Three Stages Of Life, Yoga Beneath The Surface (with David Hurwitz), Basic Tenets of Patanjala Yoga and The Complete Book of Vinyasa Yoga. Has also published more than 100 yoga related articles, released about 30 CDs on Sanskrit chants including yoga sutra`s, Surya Namaskaram. And has uploaded about 60 videos on chants, vinyasakrama talks on YouTube. Has been teaching for the last 30 years—including in India, and 10 years teaching the 200 hour Vinyasakrama Teacher Training Summer Program at Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles. Additionally, several shorter programs in Chicago, UK, Canada, Mexico, India et al. At a Private Studio in Santa Monica, CA July 25/26~August 1/2~August 9 (5 days) Saturdays: 1-6PM, Sundays: 12:30-5:30PM $550 (A light chai service will be provided during the breaks) To inquire or sign up, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org / 310-266-5177 Space is limited.
I am planning to go to Austin, Texas and Los Gatos in California. Steve Ross attended my TT program at LMU several years ago and since then started and is now running a very successful Yoga facility in Austin Texas-- Eastside Yoga. I will be teaching there for a week starting June 12th.. I will be teaching a 4 hour workshop on Yoga for Internal Organs on the lines explained earlier and another 4 hour workshop on Vinyasakrama, an introductory program on vinyasas and asanas. Then for the week following I would be teaching Yoga Sutras 20 hrs for the word by word study of the entire text and chanting the Yoga Sutras for 5 hours.
During the later part of June I am planning to teach a four day certificate program on Vinyasakrma asana program at Breathe Los Gatos in California. This will be about 18 hours. Here is the link
Of course my main program will be my 200 hr Teacher Training Program at Loyola Marymount University where I have been teaching as a visiting faculty for more than 10 years now. This will be the last time I will be offering this major program at LMU even as I hope to be able to do shorter varied programs at LMU in the future. I have written about this programs many times before Here is the link
During my visits to India and UK, many participants mentioned about the difficulty of travelling to USA to attend the 200 hr Teacher training program and would ask me if I planned to do the 200 hr TT program outside USA. I may be able to do one 200 hr TT program in Europe or India if anyone would be able to organize it.
In September I plan to teach for a week at Chicago Yoga Center where I have been teaching almost every September for about 10 years. I will be teaching the week long Certificate program in Vinyasakrama. Then there is the one day workshop on Yoga for Internal Organs. I will be offering a new program on Samkhya, Yoga and Vedanta, which form a close group of sibling philosophies subscribing to the authority of the Vedas. They are called Nivritti Sastras or those that help one to get permanent and sure relief from the threefold misery human beings undergo without an end in sight birth after birth. These bodies of knowledge beautifully and logically present these tenets. The common goal of eternal freedom and subtle differences among these will be presented; all via the classical texts of Samkhya Karika, Yoga Sutras and the well-known Upanishads in this short program.