I hope this email finds you healthy and active, and eating well, staying connected, staying calm and well rested. I know you have heard it before, these are all important things to do while we continue social distancing and monitoring the state of the world in whatever way you have chosen to.
In this newsletter I have included some articles that you might be interested in reading, so please scroll down for the links.
I have also included some notice for upcoming online workshops that I hope will support your emotional and physical health in the weeks to come. The workshop that is ready for registration has a live button that will take you to the registration. You will see a few different options the cost of the workshops, please pay what you are able to comfortably afford. I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to serve the community by offering these practices that have sustained mankind for generations. Those of us who have received such teachings are obligated (with the blessings of our teachers) to make them available to those who want to learn them and who will practice them.
Because you will see varying price points in the workshops, (and for drop-in classes) I thought this would be a good time to introduce the concept of Guru Dakshina. This is the exchange made between the person giving a teaching and the person receiving the teaching. We readily understand the exchange when we buy something that has a price tag on it- we pay and then we have the object. We also understand the exchange when someone offers a simple greeting- if they say hello, we usually say something back. These exchanges maintain an appropriate energetic flow and a harmony between the people involved in the interaction, and it upholds the integrity of what has been given. I have never shoplifted anything, but I can imagine if I did, I probably could not enjoy the object that I had taken, as the exchange was inappropriate.
Similarly there is an exchange required when someone offers something like a teaching or a practice. The greatest return is to do the practice with regularity, dedication and devotion! Whether it is an asana sequence to help strengthen your knees, or a mantra that can help with healing and boosting the immune system. In modern societies we put a monetary cost to the exchange because that is how we best understand transactions, and that is how most societies are run. Sometimes people may not think they got what they paid for because they haven't invested in the practices, or teachings, by working with them, or they believe that since they paid for a teaching they can co-opt the information they received without doing the practice consistently. This way of thinking degrades the energy of what was given, so it does actually lose it's value. If we were asked to offer for the exchange what we considered as our most precious thing, it might actually be the same for all of us. It is what we value the most and never have enough of- time. Patience, practice and the recognition of value all require an appropriate amount of time invested.
People who offer free workshops and classes often find that attendance and or follow through is poor- many people may make a commitment and don't show up, or they don't make the investment of time that is required to understand what they have received. And just as often people may skip a class or workshop because its cost is beyond their means, or beyond what they consider to be the value of the offering. And that consideration of value is important, and is probably why many people stay away from free offerings- they may perceive there is no value to it if the producer has offered it at no charge.
It is because of the perception of value that I wanted to write about this today. I think it is vital that as many people as possible practice yoga, or something like yoga, right now. I am more than confident that this will make a difference as to how we emerge from this health and economic crises. Many yoga studios are offering classes for free or by donation. Many are asking for donations to help pay their bills. If you are out of work, and want to practice yoga, now is the time to do it, and fortunately several yoga studios and centers are making it possible to do just that. All you have to do is just find the place you are comfortable with give it the time and diligence the offering deserves. Don't be shy about taking a class that you are not paying for (or paying full price for), your exchange will be the attention that you give it.
Teachers who have been initiated into a lineage have an obligation to teach now. We are put a huge value on our own practice and what we are offering to the communities we serve. We continue to fulfill the Guru Dakshina to our teachers and our teachers teachers. The people who "practice what they preach" and are engaged in the full spectrum yoga practices recognize them as "life changers", and I wont even try to put words to how valuable that is.
Those who have the means to pay for classes right now can feel confident that whatever studio they are supporting with their attendance and membership is helping that studio get the teachings to the people who want/need them. I want to pass on a beautiful definition of a yogi from my main teacher, Parvathi- "A yogi is a person who gives more than they receive". How different the world would be if we all adhered to that even 25% of the time! What would our society look like If we could leave a room a better place than we found it? We would certainly upgrade our own energy level and consciousness, and that no doubt would spill over onto the people who will eventually walk into that room (even if it is not for a long time yet.) Now that things have slowed down for most of us, we can try this practice. If you take it on, let me know what happens for you! And please spread the word to your neighbors, friends and family about online classes, especially if they need the discount. It is time to get everyone practicing.