Category: Yoga Philosophy


For those planning ahead for Autumn, here is our flyer announcing the next retreat at Turtle Haven with Ravi.We’re especially excited for this theme! There will as always also be a public talk on Friday of the retreat. Let me know if you have any questions; other announcements will be forthcoming.

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In another posting, I mentioned a forthcoming series of classes this summer that will follow the 6:15 Wednesday night Turtle Haven class, from 8 to 9 pm. In his book Inner Yoga, Sri Anirvan a great yoga teacher of the last century, says “To create an atmosphere conducive to meditation, a few things are necessary. You must make your lifestyle simple and disciplined, so that there is no unneccessary cause for restlessness or dispersion of the mind. You must develop the habit of remaining satisfied with whatever comes to you, so that your mind remains filled with a radiant gladness. You must keep a watchful eye on what happens in your mind when it comes into contact with external objects, so that this awareness of objects may be transformed into an awareness of self. And always you must cultivate a continuous stream of meditativeness, so the mind never never forgets its chosen object of seeking. To these disciplines, one more may be added— control of speech…..

During these Wednesday night explorations of meditation, we will consider our own personal lives, and our alignment, as well as lack of that, in relation to Sri Anirvan’s ideas of what is necessary in “creating an atmosphere conducive to meditation.”  The subjects for each class will follow the theme presented in the passage above:

July 16: Simplifying Lifestyle and Discipline for Practice

July 23: Contentment with Whatever Comes: Acceptance

July 30: Relationship of External Objects/Perceptions with My Own Inner Self

August 6th: Remembering the the Chosen Object of Seeking: Spiritual Life Woven into Daily Life

August 13th: What is the Control of Speech? How Do I Practice?

 

In our time together, we will engage in some discussion, supportive of establishing a practice of meditation, as well as engage with breathing practices useful in bringing a deeper state of inwardness. And of course we will practice sitting meditation with various methods!

$45 for all five classes; otherwise, $12 per individual class

Note: Please inquire if your financial situation is such that a reduced tuition is needed; no one turned away for lack of funds!

 

 

P1040486namaste tileSummer yoga classes will be on the same schedule as usual, except for Wednesday nights! Wednesdays will be taught with one asana class, and then during certain weeks, there will be offerings in meditation, breathing practices and  suggested short readings, with group contemplation and reflection. This direction reflects my ongoing interest in considering the fullness of yoga practice as a life path. The Wednesday class will be at 6:15 pm  for a mixed level asana class, and details to be announced for the additional study/practice classes.

Please know that I am willing to work out trades/alternate arrangements if you are truly not able to afford coming.
Any 9 classes for $115
Any 8 Classes for $108
Any 7 Classes for $98

Drop Ins $16

Please know that I am willing to work out trades/alternate arrangements if you are truly not able to afford coming.

Summer Quarter will span from June 16th through August 14th, with no class for Tuesday morning the 24th! You may view the schedule also on my Google Calendar, through my website.

Prayer is not asking. It is a longing of the soul. It is daily admission of one’s weakness. It is better in prayer to have a heart without words than words without a heart.

Mahatma Gandhi

Yoga for easing symptoms of anxiety and depression

Yoga for easing symptoms of anxiety and depression

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Dear Friends,
 
I write to you from the National Iyengar Convention, where I have been deeply moved by the classes, the community and cultural events, and the sense of depth and longevity in our tradition. A special guest teacher, Birjoo Mehta, who is a Senior Iyengar teacher from Mumbai has come from India for this Convention. I am struck by the combination of stucture and continuity in our form, and the wisdom, maturity and new flowering I experience within this trustworthy vessel over time—  especially as experienced through Birjoo’s teaching.  I look forward to the seeds of these current teachings I am experiencing sifting through my body and being in my own practice, and finding their way into my teaching as well.
 
On May 18th, THIS COMING SATURDAY, I will offer the last opportunity of the season for gathering with others in community to explore deeper aspects of yoga, this time at Turtle Haven! Please come and join in for any, or all of the following:
 

9:30 to 11 am:  Gait of Freedom: Hips that Hike, Dance, Garden and Meditate! Hip openers for all our two legged activities! Sliding Fee: $10 to $20

 
11:15 to 12:30 pm:  Sitting Meditation followed by Community Reading of the Yoga Sutras. This will be a wonderful moment to simply read aloud this profound text, and let it flow through us without analysis, but to have exposure to the work as a whole. I will present a very brief orientation, and we will read taking turns.   No Charge!
 
12:45 pm until 2:30 pm:  Community Potluck Lunch and Meanderings
 
It will be possible to walk the trails, visit the Patanjali shrine, and any other shrine areas which call to you. You may also draw nourishment from the river, and peaceful atmosphere of Turtle Haven… 
 
Please do let me know by Tuesday the 14th if you plan to attend, so I may organize accordingly, with the hopes of organizing some carpooling! 

5 years, 25 countries, and shot on 70mm film, Samsara illuminates the world and invites audiences to be both moved and awed by it. Deceptively complex and wholly compelling–not to mention easily the most visually stunning film you’ll see this year. From the makers of Baraka.

Samsara is a Sanskrit word that means “the ever turning wheel of life” and the themes of the movie will be of interest to yogis. For all info, see Elizabeth’s Facebook book here.

 

Ravi Ravindra, physicist, theologist, philosopher and seeker will be leading a retreat on “The Heart and Purpose of Yoga” the weekend of October 12-14, kicking off with a public talk in Bellingham on Friday, October 12 and followed by two days featuring discussion, meditation, chanting and optional yoga asanas at Turtle Haven in Deming. To introduce people to Ravi, below is the beginning of an essay he wrote on the topic of “Yoga in Daily Life”, followed by a link for a pdf of the complete essay. If this speaks to you, you might consider coming to the retreat for which there are some spaces still available. For complete details about the retreat go here or talk to Elizabeth.

Yoga in Daily Life

            Renouncing all actions on Me, Mindful of your inner self,

            Without expectation and selfishness, Fight, without agitation. (BG 3:30)

                         Here Krishna invites us and enjoins us to make our daily life into a spiritual practice, a yoga.  No one can be without action.  Even if we simply lie down, doing nothing visible, we are still engaged in action. “Because no one can remain actionless even for a moment. Everyone is driven to action, helplessly indeed, by the forces of nature” (BG 3.05).  Even if the body is still, the mind is in action, associating  this with that, dreaming, desiring something, fearing something else. The question is not whether to act but how to act. Similarly, no one can avoid daily life; the question is not whether we should participate in daily life, but rather how to participate in this life we live daily.

To download the complete essay in pdf form go here.

 

 

 

The Usefulness of Contemplation

 

Thomas Merton on what may be the true usefulness of contemplative activities like yoga, the non-doing of Zen Buddhism or Christian monasticism.

“The monk is not defined by his task, his usefulness. In a certain sense he is supposed to be ‘useless’…He does not live in order to exercise a specific function: his business is life itself…The monk seeks to be free from what William Faulkner called ‘the same frantic steeplechase toward nothing’ which is the essence of ‘worldliness everywhere…Poverty and work are, it is true, essential to the monastic life: but so too is a certain authentic solitude and isolation from the world, a certain protest against the organized and dehumanizing routines of a worldly life built around gains for its own sake.”
from Contemplation in a World of Action

The Heart and Purpose of Yoga in the Bhagavad Gita and the Yoga Sutras

The Yoga Sutras attributed to Patañjali and the Bhagavad Gita are the two classical texts of yoga, but their approaches to yoga are very different, even though both of them aim at freedom from what one calls oneself.

The Yoga Sutras aims at attaining samadhi, which is defined by Patañjali as emptying of oneself,  by working at diminishing all the obstructions to it. It is mainly devoted to the mental discipline of cultivating a counter-flow to all the usual tendencies of the mind, thereby gradually leading to deeper and deeper meditation.

The yoga taught in the Bhagavad Gita is aimed at fulfilling dharma, that is to say responsibility for the maintenance of order, at all levels—within oneself, in the family, in the society, on the planet and in the cosmos. Therefore, there is naturally much attention given to right action, sacred knowledge and love in this book, perhaps the single most important text to originate from India.

Although the main focus will be on the Yoga Sutras and the Bhagavad Gita, occasionally attention will be drawn to the many similarities and differences in the other spiritual traditions, especially in the Gospel of John, long considered the spiritual gospel among the canonical gospels, and the non-canonical gospels of Thomas and Philip.

There will be optional asana and pranayama classes (paid for separately) with Elizabeth Kerwin, as well as self reflection exercises and some singing and chanting, as a part of the workshop.  The participants are welcome to attend the optional yoga classes with some asanas and pranayama before the formal workshop on Saturday and Sunday mornings.

For more information about Ravi go here: Ravi

Questions? Contact Elizabeth at elizabethkerwinyoga@gmail.com or 360-303-3892

Inner Yoga: Selected Writings of Sri Anirvan

This book explores the meditative aspects of yoga. It might be of particular interest if you are experimenting with or beginning to think about sitting meditation. Written by Sri Anirvan, who was a monk, scholar and philosopher, this book includes the meditation: breathing the vastness of the sky in on the in-breath and breathing oneself out into that vast sky on the out-breath. This book is not at the Bellingham Public Library unfortunately, but you can order it through Village Books here.