May 2009

Events&General&Sutra Talk30 May 2009 08:24 pm
Posted by Anne

Hey folks,

So over the past few days a large stream of people have been streaming from all over to Mysore in S. India. They are going to pay their respects to Guruji, who’s Vaikunta Samaradhane is scheduled for 1:30 pm tomorrow, Sunday the 31st of May. The Vaikunta Samaradhane is a ceremony to mark the end of the funeral and the 12 or so auspicious days immediately after his passing on.

I have found myself atypically quiet about Guruji. Many eulogies have spread their way over the web, facebook and twitter have been teaming with tributes to Guruji and all he’s done for us.

I’m really good at eulogies. The chance to say nice things about people, and something about standing back and pronouncing the highlights of a person’s life and being, it all fits with a sense of the world I like, the sense of all that is good being celebrated.

So why am I so quiet here?

Part of it is that it seems antithetical to all he has taught me to talk a lot. I came away from the first three months I spent with him with little to say. Little ability to explain or verbalize what he did with me. In some sense the longer I’ve been away from him, the more I, like everyone else have developed more and more words to explain his method. The reminder he always gave me, every time I returned, was how simple it really is. Not easy, but simple.

“You do.”

No treatise, not explanation, no props, just…

And the other part is that eulogy seems violently insufficient to encompass who he was. To just talk about the good with Guruji is something that leaves me feeling as if I am standing on one foot and not using the other.

To further explain:

One of the few things that Aurora truly dislikes in her little world is car rides. We have our better days, and one of the things that Aurora has decided makes them more tolerable is Johnny Cash. She rocks out to Johnny Cash. Its a good thing I really like Johnny Cash, because we hear a lot of him when we have to drive in the car.

I realized the other day as we are exploring the outer bounds of his music in the interest of not becoming immune to his charms, that I couldn’t tell you why I really like him so much. I just knew that I really liked Johnny Cash, and I knew I wasn’t the only one. Something about the music and attitude make me really happy to be alive. And I have to admit, there is something about him that is dark. He is, in the way Guruji would use the word, a Bad Man.

With all the eulogies of Guruji floating around, I was very happy to see one report on Facebook of Guruji, talking about how Guruij ripped her a new ___ in his office one day. It reminds me of many stories, too countless to numerate here, of how hard he was on us, constantly. As I wrote about earlier, most of the stories of him when told out of context wouldn’t exactly encourage someone to study with him or Sharath.

Guruji like Johnny Cash was a Bad Man. I mean this in the best of all possible ways, but its true. To not talk about him in that light is not to say the truth. Not his only side, or only self, but Guruji was a Bad Man.

So many people from so many other yoga disciplines find much to fault. How can we be practicing steadiness or ease in a posture that’s so hard, strung together with vinyasas that make it harder still? How can he give us the impossible, and allow us to strive so hard to achieve it, and give us so little in the way of explanation of what it is we are doing? Is this really yoga?
I can’t speak for all of his students, but I can tell you that for me, he taught me a great deal about yoga.

He taught me to focus when its hard to focus.

He taught me to find steadiness and ease in the places where it was the most difficult to find anything like steadiness or ease.

He taught me to be strong when I didn’t feel very strong.

He took me, us, apart time and time again. He was a human teacher, he loved money and his bad man ways were out there for everyone to see. I know that there are people out there who got hurt. And I’m sure there are people that he hurt. But personally, I found that when I stuck around through my own hurts, through all the hard times, through all the times he and the family were human, I learned a lot. I grew a lot. And I released a lot of what I previously carried in my body and in my heart. Somehow it was exactly what I needed to grow.

There is a Sutra for this.

After 2:46, sthira sukham asanam, in which Patanjali says asana is a steady comfortable posture, and 47, where he talks about how to find it, in 2:48 he says:

Tato Dvandvaanabhighaatah – Thereafter one is undisturbed by the dualities….

Thank you Guruji, for not making it all sweet.

Thank you Guruji for taking us apart again and again.

Thank you for being a bad man.

While I am far from being undisturbed by dualities, at least you have given me a start.

General22 May 2009 12:39 pm
Posted by Anne

Hi there,

I just wanted to let everyone know that meditation in honor of Guruji’s passing will continue every morning for the 1/2 hour before morning Mysore class through and including Sunday May 31st, when we will also have a potluck in the park next to the studio at 1030 am after class, to reflect the end of the 12 day mourning period and sending Guruji on his way.

If you would like to meditate on his memory later in the day Mojdeh’s Sunday 6 pm meditation class will be dedicated to that end this Sunday, May 24th.

And yes, there is a moon day on Monday.

Best and see you all soon,


Moon Days21 May 2009 12:57 pm
Posted by Philippe

The next two moon days officially fall on Sundays, but since a lot of students can only practice on Sundays, we decided to move them to the following Mondays.

So the next two moon days will be Monday May 25 and Monday June 8.

Announcements&Events19 May 2009 04:20 pm
Posted by Anne

Dear all,
I’m sure most of you have already heard that Guruji passed away Monday afternoon in India, May 18th, around 2:45 in the afternoon.

I could say many things about Guruji, suffice to say he was a great many things to many people, and whatever he was to each of us, without him its very unlikely this yoga would have reached the west. He had quite a life, and he will be missed.

To honor him during this auspicious time, we are planning a few events at YIY, and we hope you can join us if you feel so moved.

For the next three days in the morning before class I will be at the studio at six am to sit for a half hour before class. We will have a card to send to the family, which you can sign, and if you want to you are welcome to bring any flowers or sweets for our picture of Guruji.

For those of you who would like to come at another hour, Mojdeh will be leading an hour’s silent meditation class this Sunday, May 24th, at 6 pm and you are welcome to join us there.

Announcements&Events18 May 2009 07:10 pm
Posted by Anne

There will be another post up in two hours regarding Guruji’s passing today, which is currently in draft purgatory, but for the moment please note we will be at the studio at six tomorrow to meditate in his honor for a 1/2 hour before class. Please feel free to join is at that time, we will keep this up for three days, and also Mojdeh will lead a meditation Sunday evening at six pm if you want to join then.  Starting tomorrow and finishing Sunday, we will have a card to send to the family in Mysore, you are also welcome to bring sweets or flowers for our picture/shrine of Guruji.

Announcements18 May 2009 11:31 am
Posted by Philippe

“Do your practice and all is coming.”

Interesting Reading13 May 2009 02:36 pm
Posted by Philippe

I recently read “The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar”, a short story by Roal Dahl (author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, Matilda ).

It was written in the 1950’s and is not that long. It’s a very nice story which makes some surprisingly astute points about yoga.

I don’t want to give it away so read it for yourselves!

Announcements&Subbing&YiY Scheduling11 May 2009 11:25 am
Posted by Anne

I first wanted to thank you on behalf of myself, Beata, Leigha, Joseph and Sabina, for turning out in such numbers and with such joy to celebrate with us Saturday night. Thank you for coming, and I hope you all know what it means to us that you are each a part of this community.

As Beata said last week, while we are “officially” starting the new schedule, Sharath’s tour cancelation has changed things about a bit. We decided we’d like to stay as close to what will be normal going forward as possible, so Beata is teaching Today, Monday, through Wednesday, and as I am in New York for a wedding this weekend, Leigha has graciously agreed to return Thursday and Friday this week. If you haven’t already noticed, and/or your alarm doesn’t go off Tuesday or Thursday mornings, Beata and I are alternating the evening Tuesday/Thursday mysore classes. Starting this week, I will be there Tuesday night at 715, Beata will be there Thursday night, and you can always pop in to practice and say hi to us then.

Finally, despite a small blip in the scheduling, we will have chai going forward on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays.

I think that covers it for now. Take care of yourselves and I’ll see what I can report to you all from New York…. :-)

Moon Days07 May 2009 08:46 am
Posted by Philippe

There won’t be class in the morning at YiY on Friday – but Anne is planning to drive up to take Johnny’s class in SF so let her know if you want to join her.

Announcements05 May 2009 02:23 pm
Posted by Anne


May 5, 2009: We are sad to announce that Guruji has been admitted to the ICU. Sharath must return to Mysore immediately to be with his family at this critical time. He has asked certified teacher John Smith to finish the rest of week one in San Francisco in his absence. We invite registered and drop-in students to finish the week of led primary in support of Guruji, Sharath and family. If you prefer a three-day refund, please let us know:

The second week in San Francisco and the Toronto workshop will unfortunately be cancelled. Full refunds will be given. For information about San Francisco, please email: For information about Toronto, email

Thank you for your understanding during this difficult time. Please do not contact the family directly and check this website for updates on Guruji’s health.

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