Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Shraddha: The Garden of Faith

All spiritual traditions emphasize the importance of faith.  Often they are even referred to as "faith traditions".

When using the word, they generally refer to a sense of trust, loyalty, and love. 

Yogis differentiate between two kinds of faith: 

  1. Blind faith.
  2. Faith cultivated through personal experience. 

And they definitely prefer the latter.

Shraddha is difficult to define.  There is no direct equivalent in English. 

Shraddha includes the qualities above but also confidence, awareness, and proof aquired through our own direct inner and outer experiences. 

Shraddha is one of the personal committments required on the path of Yoga or Self-Realization. (See Yoga Sutra 1.20)

Think of a garden.  We can grow beautiful flowers like these California Poppies from seed. 

Suppose someone gives us a few.  We plant them, water them, hope, wait and wonder.

What if that person isn't a good gardener and gave us bad advice?  What if the conditions in my soil aren't the same as theirs?  What if the seeds were for some other plant?  What if they're weeds instead?

We have acted on faith, but it was blind faith.

If conditions permit, we will be rewarded with a colorful field of bright blossoms bobbing their heads in the breeze as if to agree, even blind faith was a good start.

As the petals drop, they leave little seed heads which dry in sun.

Inside we discover more seeds!

Next year we will plant them with a different kind of faith, cultivated in us as confidence through personal experience.

The yogis say, don't believe everything you hear. 

They suggest, we use our own minds and lives as laboratories to test and evaluate what we learn and discover for ourselves how it applies to our practice. 

Employ both your intellect and your intuition to assess and apply the teachings of yoga and the result will be a firmly grounded faith that is mindful, tenacious and sustaining: 

The highest form of faith - faith in the Self!

Friday, 25 May 2012

Essential Yoga Sutra: Ancient Wisdom for Your Yoga

The Essential Yoga Sutra: Ancient Wisdom for Your Yoga
Wow!  Have I got a great new Yoga Sutras link to share with you today!

The Essential Yoga Sutra by Geshe Michael Roach and Christie McNally is now available here for free in PDF form! 

This translation is one of my personal favorites! 

It features the transliterated Sanskrit for each sutra plus translations and commentary on this classic text from the perspective of Tibetan Buddhism.

For those of you in my Intermediate Hatha Yoga classes at Yoga for Today in the past week, I especially recommend you check out page 32 for Sutra 1.20 which we were chanting together so beautifully!

Thank you to all who have helped make this sacred text available to us!  Your generosity is an inspiration and a blessing!

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Sattvic Movie Saturday: The Story of India, Part 2

The Story of IndiaSorry about the lack of posts lately, my one and only computer crashed!  :-(

Fortunately, as it turns out it was only "mostly dead" and my dear friend "Miracle Brian" was able to bring it back to life!  Henceforth, my faithful little computer shall be known as "Westley" ;-)

Thanks to Miracle Brian, I'm back just in time for Sattvic Movie Saturday and oh so tempted to post The Princess Bride!

But instead we will continue with Part Two of Michael Wood's six part BBC series:  The Story of India.  Source:  Top Documentary Films, The Story of India

The Story of India, Part Two: 

Click here to watch: The Power of Ideas. "The second episode of Michael Wood’s journey through Indian history covers the last centuries BCE – the age of the Buddha, the coming of the Greeks and the rule of the emperor Ashoka, one of the greatest figures in world history."

A million thanks, Brian!  Jai!

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Sattvic Movie Saturday: The Story of India, Part 1

The Story of India"In this landmark six-part series for PBS and the BBC, Michael Wood embarked on a dazzling and exciting journey through today’s India, seeking in the present for clues to her past, and in the past for clues to her future.

The world’s largest democracy and a rising economic giant, India is now as well known across the globe for its mastery of computer technology as it is for its many-armed gods and its famous spiritual traditions. But India is also the world’s most ancient surviving civilization, with unbroken continuity back into prehistory.

Like other great civilizations – Greece or Egypt, for example – over the millennia it has enjoyed not just one but several brilliant golden ages in art and culture. Its great thinkers and religious leaders have permanently changed the face of the globe. But while the glories of Rome, Egypt, and Greece, have all been the subject of TV portraits, as yet there has been no television story of India on our screens.

This series sets out for the first time to do that: to show a world audience the wonders of India; the incredible richness and diversity of its peoples, cultures and landscapes; and the intense drama of its past, including some of the most momentous, exciting and moving events in world history."

- Source:  Top Documentary Films, The Story of India

The Story of India, Part One: 

Click here to watch Part One: Beginnings. "The first episode looks at identity and the roots of India’s famous “unity in diversity”. Using all the tools available to the historical detective – from DNA to climate science, oral survivals, ancient manuscripts, archaeology, and exploration of the living cultures of the subcontinent."

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Intermediate Hatha Yoga Starts This Week

Please join me at Yoga for Today for the Spring/Summer Session starting May 7th, 2012:

NEW! Intermediate Hatha Yoga on Wednesday Evenings from 7 - 8:30 pm 

Intermediate Hatha Yoga on Sunday Mornings from 9 - 10:30 am

Put some SPRING IN YOUR STEP with asana, pranayama, mudras and more!

Friday, 4 May 2012

Prayers for Diamond Mountain

It is with deep dismay that I share this open letter from Geshe Michael Roach.

Please click here to go to the Diamond Mountain University website.

I offer these prayers for Ian and his family, Lama Christie, Geshe Michael, Diamond Mountain's Three Year Retreatants, Board of Directors, staff, volunteers, students, sponsors, and the worldwide Sangha.

May all beings be happy.  May all beings be peaceful.  May all beings be free from suffering and the causes of suffering.

Om Mani Padme Hum

Om Trayambakam x 108