My teacher, Parvathi Nanda Nath Saraswati, will be coming to Yoga Loka Frenchtown November 7th. Besides the fact that she rarely gives public teachings, and the fact that she is a wonderful, funny, insightful, generous and very wise teacher, you should come meet her.
If you are a student at Yoga Loka and the teachings resonate with you and touch you in some way, even if you don’t come often, you are a student of Parvathi’s.
I met Parvathi about 18 years ago when she was running the yoga program at the Center Club. then in Buckingham and Newtown, PA, and later expanding to Lambertville NJ. I had moved to the area a year or so before and was desperately seeking yoga that was similar to where I began my practice in NYC. A woman who I hired to work for me told me about yoga at the gym.
I knew I was home the first class I attended. That was it- I became a groupie. I didn't have any children at that time and so went to as many classes as I could. You might say I stalked Parvathi, but I don't think it counts as stalking really as she invited me in. I became part of her first teacher training. She told us she was going to have a 6 person max group and we ended up with 16-18 participants. I was already teaching for her by then, she had asked me to teach classes about 6 months earlier. How could I say no? I mean, I tried, but she didn't accept that answer.
After our teacher training was done I gave birth to my first child. My devotion to the practices did not waiver, although the time I had to devote to classes did. Then child #2. I continued to teach when I could and took whatever workshops were available. My husband was very cooperative, and even the babies allowed me a small amount of time to practice and study.
Parvathi has supported me through two babies, a couple of residence changes, one divorce, two yoga studios, and a slew of practices and awakenings. She allowed me to make many mistakes, watching lovingly the whole time. She has watched me struggle to recognize what I needed to recognize, gave me every permission to follow my unique path, and patiently watched and guided me with kindness and delight. I have had the pleasure of watching her children grow into beautiful and accomplished adults, and her own life situations change shape and structure, as well her method of teaching, practicing and guiding.
When I first met her at the gym, I thought to myself “I could teach her some mantras to open class with” because it was obvious to me she didn't know any. What wasn't obvious was that she knew the group was not quite ready for chanting. I still laugh to myself when I remember that, especially when I hear her chant entire texts at a rapid fire pace by memory, and when she displays her intimate and vast knowledge of sanskrit and philosophy. She has an exquisite way of revealing what is needed at exactly the right time. She does not give what cannot be digested, however she is totally generous and open with the tools she has for awakening.
I could not begin to describe, or understand, how my life shifted when I met Parvathi and took up the path she laid before me. Part of that path was to show the paths for others. I can still remember where I was standing when she told me I was going to sub her Saturday morning class years ago (and how far down my jaw dropped). I remember what music I played (Dead can Dance!) and even what lotion I used to give people final relaxation massages (not worth revealing). Parvathi's lineage continues in many places around the world as she reaches a wide, and now somewhat select, audience. There is no real ending to this writing, as the ending to the story has not been revealed. I just wanted to give some history, so thanks for reading.