My last 200 hr TT program in Vinyasakrama in US starts on 20th of July 2015 at LMU, and there are large open spaces available to spread the yoga mats on. Here is the link to register
I hope to be able to do some shorter programs at LMU in the future.
The Eye Does Not See
My friend Jaijot Kaur Jennie Eldridge-Benjamin Humans of New York's photo.and wrote in a facebook page
"What's something about the eye that most people don't realize?"
"The eye doesn't see. The brain sees. The eye just transmits. So what we see isn't only determined by what comes through the eyes. What we see is affected by our memories, our feelings, and by what we've seen before."
Workshop Review: 70 hour sloka by sloka, Bhagavad Gita... as taught by Srivatsa Ramaswami (Guest post)
Ramaswami will be teaching another (shorter) 25 hour intensive on the Gita in Santa Monica July/August
from Chiara Ghiron. Siena, Italy
I studied with Srivatsa Ramaswami last year, attended the Core Vinyasa Krama week in London followed by a weekend on the subject of building a personal practice. I loved him, the way he explained the matter interspersed by small stories and his way of conveying an incredible amount of information in such a simple and understandable way.
So as soon as I heard of the Bhagavad Gita course organised by Steve Brandon at Harmony Yoga in Wells, I booked my place there.
It was going to be a real marathon, 13 days non stop, no āsana practice, no prānāyāma, nothing else but the full Bhagavad Gita śloka by śloka.
I wanted to attend mainly to be able to study more with Ramaswami and also because I was hoping he would make all possible connections with the Yoga Sutra and with Samkhya, since I had missed the opportunity to study these two texts with him the previous years.
I had read the Bhagavad Gita before, as it was a required text for my initial teacher training. We had to read a very simple and poetic version, the one by Stephen Mitchell, which was for me a real discovery. Ramaswami recommended the Annie Besant version for the course, which can bedownloaded free from the internet.
The basic story of this old text (400-300 BCE?) is the dilemma the prince-warrior Arjuna finds himself in, having to face the battle against his cousins and teachers to reconquer the kingdom which has been unjustly taken through deceit.
His charioteer reveals himself to be Krśna and he leads the reluctant Arjuna through the many reasons why he should fight the just war.
At the end of 18 chapters, having heard argumentation's based on Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga and Jñana Yoga, having seen the immense power of Krśna in an almost Bollywoodian parade of lives and deaths, Arjuna is finally convinced that he should fight.
While following Krśna patiently persuading Arjuna, we learn something about the underlying Samkhya philosophy, particularly how the qualities of matter influence our behaviours. We are explained that each should keep a behaviour in line to one's own inclination and law, and how Yoga practice can support us throughout our lives.
The course was not packed but I must say that there was a good number of people, 13 attendants for the full course length and a few additional ones for the initial weekend. People came especially from Brazil, the USA, Italy, Spain, plus of course from the UK. 'Foreigners' made up almost half of the participants. I must admit I was a bit perplexed at not seeing more people from the UK for such an important and unique event, but there you go.
Ramaswami kept a very tight schedule, 5 and a half hours a day, a couple of short breaks in the morning and the afternoon and a long-ish lunch break.
Every morning I had to re-tune my brain to sentences which were half Sanskrit and half English, but after 10 minutes words were starting to flow fluidly and were easy to follow. Ramaswami used a Bhagavad Gita text with just the Sanskrit ślokas and a transliteration, translating and commenting all along.
He first sang each śloka then translated it, then commented it.
I had the recently published translation by Georg and Brenda Feuerstein with me, which has a word-by-word translation at the end. It proved very useful in saving me from taking too many notes on the translation, allowing to focus on Ramaswami's comments.
I felt that the Vedantic influence of Ramaswami's background showed quite strongly in his reading, although he was very open to other interpretations and actually also recommended other commentaries, including Ramanuja's.
But he said that 'the best commentary of the Gita is the Gita itself' and I also appreciated the exhortation to always read a text with an open mind.
First read, try to see what the author has to say, do not let your preconceived ideas veil the original text.
Then, at a second reading, perhaps bring in your experience, your ideas.
This was very important advice for me, given the bad habit I have of already interpreting, forming an opinion, often before even completing the reading.
One aspect which Ramaswami stressed over and over, was that there is a time for everything.
We should prepare our passage towards a more introverted and speculative life after we havecompleted our duties.
We should restrain from always starting new things, otherwise we'll find we never have time to stop and contemplate and prepare for our last days.
And given that our preponderant samskaras are the ones which will inevitably reappear at the time of death, better starting to work on them as soon as possible!
Ramaswami was incredibly accurate and very very good at timing the lectures. He always left enough time for discussion when time was needed and reined us in when we had to move faster on areas which had been covered already with different words. We finished right at the end of the last day, but we had some time to ask a few more questions.
Overall, it was an excellent course, very intense and it will take months before we can go through the whole text again and find the jewels which are hidden in the myriad of notes we all took.
It was never boring, and I could not believe how fast almost two weeks went by.
You may or may not resonate with the concept of a One and Only Underlying Reality, but the life-coaching that Krśna gives is invaluable, whichever your approach is to what is beyond this body.
It was an unforgettable experience and I think that whoever has the opportunity to study with him on the more theoretical aspects of Yoga should take it.
The Gita has three sections: first six chapters talk about myself, second six about god, and the last six the relation between myself and god.