Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sri Sri Yoga Weekend 1 Ends With Smiles

Anyone who has had the pleasure of practicing yoga with Shriram Sarvotham knows that it's near impossible to walk away from a session without a smile. After three days of energizing asanas, relaxing meditation and ancient wisdom delivered in Shriram's trademark blend of gentleness, humor and concision, the current Sri Sri Yoga (SSY) class couldn't help but bear their pearly whites as they convened for the coming week. And to think—next weekend holds even more!

As an SSY repeater and aspiring yoga teacher, I watched Shriram lead the class with admiration, intrigue and excitement. Just when I'd begin to think I'd gleaned all I could on a particular posture or bit of knowledge, he'd offer something—be it as subtle as the tone of his voice, the grace of his movement or an illuminating word choice—that deepened my understanding. As I'm sure my classmates would agree, his unshakeable smile and loving commitment to his practice fill his students with a newfound appreciation and motivation for their own.

Our current, personal challenge: to maintain the SSY practice each day between now and our next session on Friday. Four days. 45 minutes each (don't forget final relaxation or Kriya/meditation!). 3 om's. Can we do it? I know we can!

But I hope we can do much more than that, too—by remembering what's brought us here together in the first place. How fortunate we are, as members of this beautiful human family, to have awoken to our connectedness and belonging; to salute the greatness in each other. Looking around the room at my SSY friends as they reveled in the bliss of their bodies' perfect spinal twists, I knew I'd become part of something much bigger than my own personal growth. We've joined hands in the common pursuit of spirit, of oneness—releasing toxins from the body, sinking deeper into that forward bend or holding that boat pose for just one more breath—well those are just perks of encouragement along the path!

As I bask in the last hours of this rejuvenating weekend, my mind quiet and peaceful, my heart full of joy and gratitude, my awareness ablaze and my body fully contented (yes, even despite a couple of sore spots!), I couldn't fight the ear-to-ear grin on my face if I wanted to.

Which, of course, I don't. Jai Gurudev!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Problems and Solutions


*One fine day*, a bus driver went to the bus garage, started his bus, and drove off along the route. No problems for the first few stops - a few people got on, a few got off, and things went generally well. At the next stop, however, a big hulk of a guy got on. Six feet eight,built like a wrestler, arms hanging down to the ground. He glared at the driver and said, *"Big John doesn't pay*!" and sat down at the back.  Did I mention that the driver was five feet three, thin, and basically meek? Well, he was.Naturally, he didn't argue with Big John, but he wasn't happy about it.

The next day the same thing happened -Big John got on again, made a show of refusing to pay, and sat down. And the next day, and the next.  This grated on the bus driver, who started losing sleep over the way Big John was taking advantage of him.

Finally he could stand it no longer. *He signed up for body building courses, karate, judo*, and all that good stuff. By the end of the summer, he had become quite strong; what's more, he felt really good about himself. So on the next Monday, when Big John once again got on the bus and said, "Big John doesn't pay!" The driver stood up, glared back at the passenger, and screamed, "*And why not?* " With a surprised look on his face, Big John replied, "*Big John has a bus pass* ."

*Management Lesson*: "Be sure there is a problem in the first place before working hard to solve one."

Monday, September 20, 2010

Experience sharing from Swami Suryapada’s visit

Here is what people had to say about swamiji’s visit to Austin and Sri Sri Ashram.

Gayatri Jayendran

“The Satsang in Ashram was phenomenal and every cell still reverberates with music and grace. Swamiji was really rocking and each one of us truly immersed ourselves in the moment. My 2 1/2 yr daughter could not really stop dancing for the entire satsang even when it was 10.30 in the night. She was bubbling with energy and joy seeing every single person dancing. The Rudra homam and following Satsang was truly heavenly. I enjoyed every bit of the second I happened to be with Swamiji. I also urge everyone to be part of these joyous and graceful moments.”

Usha Sapuram

“The whole evening with Swamiji was so magical. Felt the true meaning of "One Consciousness" when all of us kept singing and transcendng  in his divine presence. Truly was a blessing to be with him. This flawless event would not have been possible without your kind efforts, my gratitude to you all. "Lets move together".

Shyam Gannavaram

“Words can't convey the richness and celebration we have all experienced in the presence of Swamiji these last couple of days! At yesterday's satsang at the ashram, the room exploded with joy, dance and true celebration. His one-pointed devotion to the Master is so apparent. Krishnaji was telling us that Swamiji is scheduled to visit 36 cities in 26 states in a matter of ~45 days on his current tour! What dedication, its truly inspiring!”

Tina Hendley

“ A really wonderful evening.Was apprehensive about entering this room filled with people on the floor not knowing what to expect when a lady named Rochelle (maybe rocha) greeted me warmly at the door with a smile and a hug and invited me to go in with her.Swami G was such an endearing presence. He smiled the most beautiful smile throughout the event as we sang loudly while clapping, meditated, and intently listened as he offered up wisdom in the sweetest and most humorous way that we can apply to our lives here. I really did leave there feeling totally different than when I had arrived. I was extremely peaceful, happy, & centered and am still feeling this today. I am very grateful for the experience and will certainly be returning. ”

Patrick Van den Nieuwenhuysen

“ It was very nice. Certainly the most powerful "ohm" chant I ever participated in. ”

Saturday, September 18, 2010

An evening with Swami Suryapada

On Friday September 17 2010, Art of Living Austin had the pleasure of hosting Swami Suryapada, a traveling saint from India. Since he was in town for a few hours we had to be satisfied with a satsang and nothing more.

I had heard about swamiji earlier through some senior teachers like Rajima and Commanderji but had never met him in person.  So, needless to say I was excited that he will be coming to town. By the time we managed to reach the venue he had already entered the hall and was working on his Harmonium. In the first impression I was blown away by the simplicity of his attire and in some aspects he resembled the guru himself, the beard and the long hair added to the resemblance.

The satsang (or as I usually refer to as Sat Sang) was very different, instead of starting with random songs, he started us off with an initiation mantra which he recited in sanskrit and then we sang a song in the praise of lord Ganesh, next song was in the praise of the guru or teacher and the very next one was in praise of goddess sharada (goddess of learning). At the end of each song he would recite a few more verses in sanskrit. His voice was so captivating and his pronunciation of the mantras felt so authentic that the whole room had gone into a trance. After these three we sang for a while and by then I had lost track of time.

At around 7:45PM or 8:00PM, he said lets meditate and I was expecting we would be getting all the kids out, closing the doors and dimming the lights but to my great surprise none of it happened. He just asked us to clasp our hands above the head and start chanting “Narayani Narayani” and after the continuous chant for a while he asked us to lower our hands and guided us through a small procedure and asked us to open the eyes. I felt  lighter, more energetic, I felt I had meditated.

After the meditation, he gave a small knowledge session. He was natural, dynamic, effortless, completely in the moment, spontaneous and had an awesome sense of humor. His talk did not feel pre meditated or targeted towards anybody nor did he have any specific agenda. I felt perhaps after sri sri himself, here was one person who could translate the complicated knowledge of spirituality into a concrete, tangible, practical wisdom. He had the audience captivated. When somebody asked if this talk were recorded, he said all it matters is it being recorded up here (he was pointing to the head). He had the breadth and depth of knowledge.

I would have loved to listen to him if he had spoken the whole night, but the evening had to come to an end and we ended with the kannada song “baghyada lakshmi baramma”. Many people in the audience couldn’t understand what he was singing but his voice, music and the tune made us all enjoy the song.

It was truly a pleasure hosting him and spending the evening with him. Thanks to all who made it happen. I only wish he were here for a longer time and had conducted a course or two. If you ever get a chance to be in his presence, do not miss the chance.

The post would have been more effective if I had posted some pics from the satsang, I do not have any with me and will post them once I get them.  

Monday, September 13, 2010

Health and Happiness Series in Austin

The Health and Happiness series is a weekly 2-hour session covering a range of topics on (you guessed it) living a healthy and happy life.

Here's a picture of Jai leading a small group in a problem-solving exercise during last week's session, which was titled Freedom from Mind Games.

This series is open to all, and costs $10 per session. Upcoming topics include:

  • Understanding Emotional Intelligence
  • Stepping Into the Big Mind
  • Finding Real Communication
  • Overcoming Obstacles

Read more on the series on the registration page for HnH.

Kudos to volunteer organizers Varsha and Bimal who put together the topics and the framework for this series to happen. Varsha is now busy planning the next series, which will take place immediately after this one ends, so watch this space...

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Swami Suryapada’s visit to Texas

Swami Suryapada better known as Chayanna is coming to Texas to spend time with us, we at the Art of living Austin are hosting a satsang on Friday September 17 2010. Here are the details for the same

Date: September 17 2010
Time: 6:30PM-8:30
Venue: Art of living Austin Center (5555 N Lamar Blvd  Suite C104 Austin TX, 78751)

If you want more of Swamiji you can follow him to the Sri Sri Ashram in Uvalde and take part in the Rudra Puja conducted by Swamiji himself on Sunday September 19 2010. Here is a little secret for you, this will be the first ever Rudra Puja performed at the Sri Sri Ashram.

Please RSVP for either or both the events by registering on the secure site.

For satsang follow the link here

For Rudra Pooja at the ashram follow the link here

If you are interested in the ashram event please register asap for the accommodation is limited and the volunteers really do not like last moment surprises.

About Swami Suryapada

Swami Suryapada embodies what he teaches. His blissful, open-hearted presence and beautifully simple exposition of yogic wisdom have inspired thousands around the world. He is one of the few Art of Living teachers who give extempore commentaries on Astavakra and Bhagavad Gita. He has traveled extensively in Australia, the Caribbean's, Germany, New Zealand, South East Asia, UAE and USA and his courses and satsangs are much sought after wherever he goes.

Swamiji has been with the Art of Living Foundation since 1991 and trains all of SSRVM (Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Vidya Mandir) school teachers. He completed his master’s degree in Physics from Bangalore University and has served at the prestigious R.V College of Engineering in Bangalore as Head of the Department in Physics. He is a gifted musician and plays the harmonium and keyboard.