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!
When I was growing up, and music stores were still in existence (Sam Goody – my go-to, Toward Records, etc.) Tuesday was the day new music came out. It wasn’t always easy to convince my mom to take me, but once I had my license, that is often where you would find me – perusing the newest music releases – examining cover artwork, reading track listings, and making carefully selected purchases. I could spend hours in a music store. This was even more exciting in college where in Albany they had actual small scale record stores rather than the chain stores found in Long Island.
So in keeping with tradition, Tuesday is the day my weekly Zoom schedule will be released. I will also start creating playlists again (it’s been a few weeks since my last compilation) that you can play from Spotify (if you want) during my classes. Below you will find the full schedule, including one-click links as well as meeting ID/passwords.
Three new class times have been added to the schedule – all 60 minute classes, including Spiritual Warrior. If you are unfamiliar with the Spiritual Warrior sequence, it is a 60-min set-sequence Jivamukti class created by Sharon Gannon & David Life.
Suggested donation is $10-20 sliding scale or free if you are currently without income due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please be honest about this as teaching Zoom classes is currently my only form of income.Payments accepted via Venmo @April-Dechagas or PayPal email@example.com, or Zelle.
THIS RETREAT HAS BEEN CANCELLED DUE TO THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC. STAY WELL!!!
I had the honor of leading last year’s annual Jivamukti Memorial Day Weekend Retreat at Ananda Ashram and I am excited to continue the tradition!
Ananda Ashram in Monroe, New York, is a Yoga retreat and spiritual-educational center just over one hour from New York City, founded in 1964 by Shri Brahmananda Sarasvati. Located in the foothills of the Catskill Mountains, the Ashram provides a serene, natural environment with woods and meadows surrounding a lake.
To register: firstname.lastname@example.org
Payment accepted via Venmo, PayPal, Zelle
Early Bird Pricing (sign up by May 1):
Semi-Private Room $595
Apt w/Roomate & private bathroom $695 (sold out)
Sign-up After May 1:
Semi-Private Room $625
Apt w/Roomate & private bathroom $725 (sold out)
Drop-in Day Rate: $135 (includes all meals & activities for the day)
All meals and accommodation
2 Jivamukti classes/day with April including 1 live music class
Meditation with Bharati/Ananda Ashram staff
Evening programs (concerts/Kirtan-to be announced soon)
Access to all grounds including swimming pool, row boat and Appalachian Trail
Some photos from last year’s retreat:
Last year’s schedule (to be updated for this year):
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.
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.
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.