It’s National Poetry Month! Each week a different poem will be featured as the dharma talk in my 90-minute classes! Along with this week’s schedule below, you’ll also find a poem by Rumi called The Guest House.
Log-in for Zoom classes is available by email only. If you are not currently on my mailing list, but would like to attend class, please send me a message!
The guest house ~~ Rumi
This being human is a guest house. Every morning a new arrival. A joy, a depression, a meanness, Some momentary awareness comes As an unexpected visitor. Welcome and entertain them all! Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows, Who violently sweep your house Empty of its furniture, Still, treat each guest honorably. He may be clearing you out For some new delight. The dark thought, the shame, the malice, Meet them at the door laughing, And invite them in. Be grateful for whoever comes, Because each has been sent, As a guide from beyond
As much as I love personal connection with friends/families/students and miss it A LOT, I am extremely grateful for the technology we have today that allows us to still stay close, even though we are apart. Zoom yoga has been a surprising blessing.
Some changes for this week – I will not be holding class on Thursday this week. It is my 40th birthday, and I am taking the day off! By request, I am also adding a 7 am class back on to my teaching schedule. For those of you who need to get practice in before you work from home.
Schedule for the week is below. From now on Zoom log-in information will be sent via email only. If you would like to take class and are not currently on my email list, please contact me with your email address!
NYC and most parts of the world are currently in social distancing mode to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Unfortunately this means no in-person yoga classes (and honestly, also no income for self-employed yoga teachers.)
I will be offering live-stream yoga classes and guided meditations (schedule below) via Zoom.US until we are no longer in lock-down. Sign-in details will be posted on social media outlets, so if you don’t follow me already, you can on Instagram @aprildechagas and my FaceBook yoga page April Dechagas Yoga.
Recommended donation for yoga asana classes is $10 via Venmo @April-Dechagas or PayPal email@example.com. Meditation sliding scale $5-10. Class is free for those of you who do not currently have income due to COVID-19 closures – but please be honest about this, as I mentioned above, I also do not have any incoming $.
Schedule (log-in details change for each class – so be sure to check Insta or FB):
Monday 6:00 p.m. EST; 90 Min
Wednesday 12:00 p.m. EST; 90 Min
Thursday 9:00 a.m. EST ; 30 Min Guided Visualization Meditation
Saturday 5:00 p.m. EST; 90 Min
Coming soon – 60 Min asana classes
This poem by Fr. Richard Hendrick was shared with me by a student today:
Yes there is fear. Yes there is isolation. Yes there is panic buying. Yes there is sickness. Yes there is even death. But, They say that in Wuhan after so many years of noise You can hear the birds again. They say that after just a few weeks of quiet The sky is no longer thick with fumes But blue and grey and clear. They say that in the streets of Assisi People are singing to each other across the empty squares, keeping their windows open so that those who are alone may hear the sounds of family around them. They say that a hotel in the West of Ireland Is offering free meals and delivery to the housebound. Today a young woman I know is busy spreading fliers with her number through the neighbourhood So that the elders may have someone to call on. Today Churches, Synagogues, Mosques and Temples are preparing to welcome and shelter the homeless, the sick, the weary All over the world people are slowing down and reflecting All over the world people are looking at their neighbours in a new way All over the world people are waking up to a new reality To how big we really are. To how little control we really have. To what really matters. To Love. So we pray and we remember that Yes there is fear. But there does not have to be hate. Yes there is isolation. But there does not have to be loneliness. Yes there is panic buying. But there does not have to be meanness. Yes there is sickness. But there does not have to be disease of the soul Yes there is even death. But there can always be a rebirth of love. Wake to the choices you make as to how to live now. Today, breathe. Listen, behind the factory noises of your panic The birds are singing again The sky is clearing, Spring is coming, And we are always encompassed by Love. Open the windows of your soul And though you may not be able to touch across the empty square, Sing.
This week #mythmonday became #epictalestuesday when it was posted by Jivamukti, but I just received the video, so now it’s a #flashbackfriday lol
The word “utsav” in Sanskrit means ‘spontaneous celebration” which is what happened throughout Ayodhya when Rama and Sita were declared king and queen. This declaration lasted just a few hours before Kaikeyi cashed in on her boons, and then an instantaneous depression fell upon the kingdom, just as quickly as the celebration was started.
As we close 2019 and the decade of 10’s, I want to wish you a very happy new year. For many students and teachers of Jivamukti NYC, we may be thinking of the last 4 weeks rather than the last year, and are ready for something fresh. But I have to say, overall 2019 wasn’t so bad…
In the wake of Jivamukti NYC closing, I wanted to get my harmonium worked on so I could bring it to the “pop-up” Jivamukti classes I will be offering in the city. Classes wouldn’t me the same without a mantra jam session to start it off! This harmonium was a hand-me-down from another teacher, who I bought it from for only $100, about 4 years ago. It unfortunately was in no shape to bring to class – it was out of tune, some of the keys were sticking, and it was wheezing a bit. (I also realized it was SUPER HEAVY.)
I brought it to Mindra Harmoniums in Ozone Park (please go there if you are looking for a harmonium! It is a family run business, deeply connected to Jivamukti, AND they offer you home made dahl while you are there!) where Mindra told me there was a big crack in the “heart” of my instrument. He also said usually no one fixes this, but that he would look into the cost of parts. But after some investigating, it was realized that it would be too much time and effort to fix, and it was more worth it to buy a new one. So I am now the owner of a brand new Baby Bhakti, and it is much lighter and sweeter sounding than the old one.
This whole situation was a mirror image of the Jivamukti situation. My (our) heart was broken, the problem was too expensive to fix, and now we have to start new. And so off we go into 2020 with new adventures and a sweet sounding Baby Bhakti 🙂
Also in the wake of Jivamukti NYC closing, I find myself with A LOT of free time. Too much really. I have gone from 9 public classes a week, to only 3 at the moment, and although this is temporary, I am going stir crazy. But this forced “vacation” is a good thing, and I am getting back to long overdue projects, including drawing again. In the past 3 days I have created 8 drawings that are part of a larger project coming to you soon! One of which I will share with you today:
This is Nandini – a magical cow who offers to you everything you need. May 2020 offer you everything you desire.
The attempt to string Shiva’s Bow is also the beginning of Ravana’s wrath and desire to have Sita to himself. He bent down to pick up the bow, and almost succeeded! He got closer than any other before him, but then he lost balance and the bow pinned him to the ground.
Janaka and his warriors tried to help, but even together they were not strong enough to lift the bow off of Ravana. Sita was called for, and easily picked up the bow with one hand. Ravana sneered, ” If I could not pick up this bow, then no man can. Your daughter will die a lonely spinster, Janaka.” Unflustered by these words, Janaka said, “Alone maybe, but never lonely. She is not you.” (Adapted from Devdutt Pattanaik’s Ramayana)
Sita and Ram would have never met if it weren’t for an on-going feud between the sages Vishvamitra and Vasishtha!!! For full background, I’m reposting episodes 8 & 9 of the Yoga Mythology here as well. Enjoy 🙂
From Devdutt Pattanaik’s retelling of the Ramayana:
The education of Rama, Bharata, Shratrughna and Lakshman:
When Dashratha had asked the rishi Vasishtha to teach his four sons the ways of kings, Vasishtha had said, ‘I will try my best to make them brahmin.’
‘But I am a king, my sons are princes, they must be trained to be rulers, not priests,’ Dashratha responded in alarm.
‘You confuse brahmin-jati with brahmin-varna,’ Vasishtha had clarified. ‘He of brahmin-jati is a priest, transmitter of hymns and rituals of the Veda. He of brahmin-varna is one who inspires the Brahma of limited mind to move towards being brahman of limitless mind. Whether priest or warrior, farmer, herder or trader, man or woman, everyone must expand their minds, rise from the mindset of a follower to the mindset of a trader to the mindset of a master to the mindset of a seer.
‘How can a king be a servant or trader or a master of a seer?’ wondered Dashratha.
Vasishtha said, ‘A king is a servant when he mimics other kings without understanding. A king is a trader when he uses rules to get all the things that he desires. A king is a master when he uses rules to impose his thoughts on those around him. A king is a seer when he understands the thought behind the rules and so appreciates the many reasons why a rule is followed and why another rule is not. For the king with a mind of a brahmin, rules are merely functional, they are never right or wrong, and like all actions they have consequences. For him rules are not tools or power to dominate or control. For him rules are merely instruments of society that enable even the weakest to have what is otherwise cornered by the strongest.’
‘May you make my sons brahmin,’ said Dashratha on being enlightened so.
The education of Sita:
Sita’s father never knew the world that was the kitchen. Sita’s mother never knew the world that was the court. But Sita realized she knew both. This is how the mind expands, she thought to herself. This is how Brahma becomes the brahman. She was a brahmin, she realized, seeker of wisdom as well as transmitter of wisdom. And that thought made her smile.