Angel Yoga Class notes from January 6, 2020

Namaste Angel Yogis of St. Ds!

Here are my notes from last week’s class. Last night, Barbara and I did compassion meditation and a stretchy floor flow. Beyond the B.K.S. Iyengar Light on Life notes is the savasana reading from The Heartbeat of God: Finding the Sacred in the Middle of Everything by former Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori.

NYC Public Library

Window on the park.

Tadasana, mountain pose. There’s a lot in this pose.

The body is nature, made up of 5 elements –earth, water, fire, air, and space. Our bodies are nature and therefore constantly changing and so we are a “little piece of continual change looking at an infinite quantity of continual change.”

“Soul is unchanging, eternal, and constant; it always remains as witness, rooted in divine origin and oneness. The whole practice of yoga is concerned with exploring the relationship between Nature and Soul.”

This is intention setting I borrowed (with permission) from one of my mentor teachers, Leigh Anne Neal, owner of Nirvana Yoga in Atlanta where I did my 200-hour teacher training and often practice. It comes from the book “Light on Life,” by B.K.S. Iyengar, one of the Indian teachers who popularized yoga.

I selected this ultimately for a New Year class because it seems like habits that are repetitive, easy to remember, and useful in terms of mental/emotional well-being so perhaps likely to translate to overall well-being. For instance, I seem to make healthier choices the more grounded I am in my practice but the choices seem to make themselves without any effort on my part.

Iyengar writes: “Through yoga we are able to lessen the six emotional disturbances that cause us so much anguish: lust, pride and obsession, anger, hatred, and greed.”

Based on a loose interpretation of Pantanjali, the Indian sage credited with writing the Yoga Sutras–1,700-year-old classical yoga text, Iyengar writes that the antidotes to these disturbances (i.e. lust, pride and obsession, anger, hatred, and greed) are basically friendliness, compassion, joy, and non-judgment.

  1. Cultivation of friendliness toward those who are happy.
  2. Cultivation of compassion toward those who are in sorrow.
  3. Cultivation of joy toward those who are virtuous.
  4. Cultivation of indifference or neutrality (nonjudgement, equanimity) toward those who are full of vices.

I offer these four intentions for the class—please select the intention that speaks to you and feel free to change intentions as we move through class.

Savasana

 “The Heartbeat of God: Finding the Sacred in the Middle of Everything” by former Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori.
“This is the meaning of life, in twenty-five words or less: We’re here to do justice and love mercy, to walk humbly with God and bring good news to the poor. We’re here to proclaim the ancient visions of the commonweal of God, where everyone has enough to eat and no one goes thirsty or homeless, where all have access to meaningful employment and health care, where the wealthy and powerful do not exploit the weak, and where no one studies war anymore. We’re here to bring the good news of justice, which includes the work of building  and caring for the earth, which are essential to the health of a spiritually rooted person, in right relationship with God and neighbor.”
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