Posts Tagged With: jivamukti yoga nyc

To New Beginnings in 2020

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.

With Love and appreciation, April

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#MythMonday : Ramayana Series Part 2 – The Education and Childhood of Rama and Sita

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.

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#MythMonday :Narasiṃha

So far we’ve heard stories of 4 of Vishnu’s avatars – Matsya the Fish( 1), Kūrma the Tortoise (2), Rāma (7), and Kṛṣṇa (8). This week’s story is about Vishnu’s 4th avatar Narasiṃha, a part man part lion, with mention of his 3rd avatar Varāha, the Boar.

The story of Narasiṃha is also the reason for the Indian celebration of Holi – a celebration of good triumphing over evil.

The āsana associated with this story is siṃhāsana – lion’s seat.

Eyes crossed a la Iyengar 😉
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UPDATE #MythMonday : The Goddess Ganga (Viparita Karani)

Sorry for the delay! I’m back from Aloha-land and back to regularly scheduled programming! Here is the Myths of the Asanas video about how the Goddess Ganga came down to Earth as the Ganges River.

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#MythMonday : Goddess Ganga

Hey everyone! I’m currently in Maui on vacation, but filmed a special Myths of the Asanas video on location! The intro was filmed at Waimoku Falls on the Pipiwai Trail in Haleakalā National Park, and the story was filmed on the top of the Waihe’e Trail. For right now you’ll have to watch the video via the Jivamukti NYC IGTV channel (link below), until I’m back on the mainland…

https://www.instagram.com/tv/B4L8Ra4DLDE/?igshid=1drh2aar3zfs0

The asana (or mudra) associated with this story is Viparita Karani (because it looks like a waterfall, but also see below…)

Viparita Karani translates to “reversed attitude”. In the story you will hear how the urge to obtain more and more land and take over the Earth causes King Sagara’s sons to be burnt to ashes. Unless the human race reversed their attitude, we will also all be burnt to a crisp! Global warming is a real threat, but we can do something about it!⁣

Viparita Karani
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#MythMonday : Nataraja

Shiva in the form of Nataraja is the Lord of Dance. His Tandava dance is said to represent the universe being created, maintained, and dissolved, and for those watching it a veil of ignorance and arrogance is lifted. So find your Atman and get your dance on!

Naṭarājāsana
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#MythMonday : Arjuna

Arjuna was the greatest archer in the world, but not always! It took a lot of hard work, persistence, deep listening, reflection. Overall he was a really great student! (And a little bit annoying – he was always underfoot! But if he weren’t then he wouldn’t have been able to save Drona!)

Dhanurasana (Bow pose) and Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward facing bow – sometimes incorrectly called full wheel) are meant to be the shape of an archer’s bow.

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#MythMonday : Kurma

I went to to turtle pond in Central Park just to film Kūrma with Kūrma!!!

Vishnu, the sustainer of the earth, appears in various forms to save the planet when necessary. There are 10 avatars of Vishnu, whose appearances seem to coincide with evolution. Kurma, the tortoise, was the 2nd avatar.

  1. Matsya (The Fish)
  2. Kurma (The Tortoise)
  3. Varaha (The Boar)
  4. Narasimha (The Lion Man)
  5. Vamana (The Dwarf)
  6. Parashurama (A Warrior/Saint, bound by codes of honor)
  7. Rama (The Perfect Man)
  8. Krishna
  9. Buddha
  10. Kalki (The Horseman – has not yet appeared)
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#MythMonday : Tittibhasana

I learned recently while doing research for #mythmonday that in the etymology for Ṭiṭṭibhāsana, Ṭiṭṭibha actually means “small insect” and has nothing to do with a firefly other than that it happens to be a small insect, and is the one the yoga world chose (I’m guessing because they are pretty.) In fact this asana could very well be called “gnat pose!”⁣

An alternative etymology is from the story of a pair of Tittibha birds that nested by the sea; the ocean swept away their eggs, and the birds complained to Vishnu, asking for the eggs to be returned. The god gave the order, and the sea gave the eggs back.

According to the Ashtanga Yoga website: “The story is often used as a symbol of yoga. The sea with its might and power represents the power of illusion, ignorance and prejudice or the general Chitta (चित्त, Citta), i.e. all aspects of human existence subject to change. The small Tittibha (टिट्टिभ, Ṭiṭṭibha)-bird stands for the effort of the yogi, an effort which seems ineffectual when compared with the challenge. But just as the little Tittibha (टिट्टिभ, Ṭiṭṭibha)-bird succeeds in spite of seeming superiority, the yogi can calm Chitta (चित्त, Citta) through practice and shatter illusion.”

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Walking Meditation

I often practice walking meditation, and there is always one as part of the retreats I lead!

Here are some simple instructions for a walking meditation. This can be done anywhere – even the crazy streets of NYC- but ideally you are surrounded by the beautiful sounds of nature:⁣

– if possible, leave your phone at home⁣

– if you are somewhere you can walk barefoot, like on sand or grass, leave your shoes at home too!⁣

– if this is a group walking meditation, walk in one straight line, each person a few steps behind. Try as much as possible to follow the pace of the person ahead of you.

– pick a mantra to match with your steps. I like to use lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu. As you walk silently repeat each word with each step – right foot lokah, left foot samastah, right foot sukhino, left foot bhavantu…⁣

– walk deliberately and slowly, heel, ball, toe; silently repeating the mantra. If you are barefoot, feel the different textures of the earth as you walk.⁣

– keep your chin parallel to the earth, gazing forward as you walk, allowing your peripheral vision to take in your surroundings. Notice what you may see, but without labeling or judging. Just take it all in. Continuing to repeat the mantra.⁣

– hear the sounds around you – waves crashing, birds chirping, insects, leaves rustling- but without labeling or judging in anyway – just notice⁣

– if you pass any other humans along the way, just nod and smile 😊 ⁣

– when you come to the end of however far you are walking, stop for a few moments – 3 to 5 minutes – and just gaze outwards at your beautiful surroundings ⁣

– continue to repeat these steps on the way back. Just before you finish pause again for a moment and close your eyes. After a few moments, Om 3x out loud.⁣

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