Sunday, August 19, 2012

LOAY 800-Hour, Day 7

The Life of a Yogi

“You ever see Krishna eating a hamburger? No. You ever see these Yogis at McDonald’s? No.”

~Sri Dharma (regarding compassion, health, and diet)

Day 7. Tomorrow is the last day, but time doesn’t seem to exist when you are living like this. I wouldn’t have any idea what day it was if I didn’t have to look at the schedule. I wouldn’t know what time it was, what season it was, if it weren’t for the fact that this is just a teacher training. Or is it? The name of the program, “Life of a Yogi” could not be more accurate. What happens when you devote your every breath during the day to the Highest and practice all these divinely realized ancient techniques over and over, imagining that “the best of the best is taking place” as Dharma says? What results is a glimpse of the Ultimate Reality...a little taste of the spiritual bliss that comes with such depth, and a genuine teacher.

This evening during the hugely-attended (85 bodies!) Maha Sadhana, Dharma explained what happens when you get all of your happiness from external things. It goes away eventually, and leaves suffering in its place. He explained that when you start practicing, you start to get more and more of your happiness from inside your own heart. I love this idea, and I love that he emphasizes that “practice” doesn’t have to mean being proficient at crazy poses.  It means that you sit and meditate for five minutes a day, that you renounce all the fruits of your actions to the Lord, be nice to people, think of God when you get up, and when you go to sleep. I always tell students this. They say, “I am sorry I haven’t come to practice.” I always tell them that practice happens constantly, all day, every day. This is perhaps the most important thing I have ever learned from Dharma.

Earlier in the day, we had the last of our small group teaching sessions. I taught the full length Dharma IV class in my small group, and was amazed at the effect the Psychic Development and Yoga Nidra has had on my teaching. I felt very subtle energies coming from each student, and was able to intuitively perceive their subtle needs and desires. I have taught this class once a week for a year and a half at Dharma Yoga Missouri, and I definitely noticed a difference.

As part of my Karma Yoga duties, I often stand at the entrance of the Temple and greet people coming in for classes. Earlier, Baxter the doggy was running in front of Dharma, and got distracted. He slipped and crashed into the door and Dharma yelled, “Watch out!” But it was too late. We looked at each other and laughed because Baxter went right about his business, hardly noticing. During the Maha Shakti this morning, when Baxter jumped up on the little wooden stage, Dharma went to gesture him away, but Baxter had so much momentum that he skidded right off the other side and into the lamp table, and yelped. Immediately Dharma went over to him and said with so much emotion, “Oh, I am so sorry!” He stroked Baxter until he calmed down, then said, “Maybe you should cut your nails sometimes!”

One of the highlights of my day today was Dharma’s 90-minute Deep Healing Relaxation class after the Maha Shakti. I highly recommend this class for anyone, regardless of your experience, or lack thereof, with Yoga. You don’t do any postures, you just do some breathing exercises, some meditations, lie down and have a guided relaxation. If you are ever in NYC, come do it! There is nothing better than being blissed out on a Saturday morning. Just make sure you remain silent for a long time afterwards, otherwise the effects wear off too quickly.

When I see Dharma in the morning light (or any time for that matter), I have a rush of unconditional Divine Love. I have only felt that towards a couple people in my life, mainly my children. The woman who is my roommate feels the same way, and I realized that part of coming to this kind of program is to reconnect with your spiritual brothers and sisters. I feel like twins with her sometimes. We share our days like this:

Every morning we wake up to her alarm at 5 AM. We get up, get dressed. She takes a shower while I put on the kettle to do the kriyas jala dhauti and jala neti (AKA drink hot lemon water and then use salt water to wash the sinuses). She cuts up some fruit for the day, gets a little bag of sprouted almonds for us to share at lunch, then we walk to the center at 6 a.m. It is good for us to be together while walking because we can support each other through the craziness of NYC streets.

We get to the center around 6:25 or so, and get our materials ready for the day. Then she sits and meditates until 7 a.m. when the program starts, I do mantra with my mala beads. Throughout the day, we observe silence, unless we need to ask someone a question. The other day she said, “I don’t know how anybody can talk or eat with what we are going through!” It was true. I didn’t know either. I often find myself next to her when we do our classes, because I feel very comfortable with her pure, humble vibration. I make her laugh a lot. Too much I think, sometimes. We often sit alone, in silence and eat our lunch of sprouted almonds and fruit next to each other, not needing to say much.

By 9 PM or so when the daily program ends, we go into the Temple and clean, put stuff away, and leave around 10:30 or so every night. After we walk home, I bathe, she makes a sprouted almond shake or another little bit of light food. We both sleep on the floor in the living room of the apartment we are staying at with two of our other spiritual brothers. Just a rug, a pillow, and a blanket to lie on. And then we go again the next morning.

The photo that is included was a little piece of paper she wrote to me and slipped under my leg at lunch (she was observing silence). It says, “Just overwhelmed by the beauty of it all. Dharmaji. The Science of Yoga. Everything is true. I know it from the depths of my soul.” I took a picture of it, because it was so simple and profound, like Dharma himself. I told her I was going to keep that piece of paper so we could look at it when we are old ladies. I am glad that we finally found each other again, and I want to make sure that I find her in the next life.

~Olivia Foss


“Only children are allowed in the kingdom of God. So, you are going to have to give up diplomacy and become the child”
~Sri Dharma Mittra

Kim beautifully prepared us for the day, leading the pranayama, dhyana, and Surya Namaskar. The daily morning practice led us into Dharma Gentle. The trainees were profusely thanking Kim for teaching the much-needed class…

The scheduling of sessions for this training couldn’t have been more perfect. The Gentle and Yoga Nidra classes were strategically and compassionately placed to aid in the recovery and healing of our bodies. Sri Dharma’s regularly scheduled Maha Shakti and especially Yoga Nidra on Saturday was much anticipated! Following lunch, the small groups still had to practice teaching Dharma IV, Yoga Nidra, or Psychic Development.

Our group was seated near Andrew’s group, and as much as I was trying to concentrate, I couldn’t help but hear laughter that, with time, increasingly became louder. Following our sessions, I had asked one of the trainees from Andrew’s group. They had completed four consecutive Psychic Development classes that clearly charged them to almost delirium.

Dharma mentioned today how important it is to laugh, be cheerful. They all displayed cheerful dispositions, to say the least! Maha Sadhana concluded our day. The power of collective consciousness and moving together as if we are in “a parade”. Eighty- five people participated in Maha Sadhana tonight. There were many opportunities to make an offering and to chant. Dharma played several songs and sometimes during Maha Sadhana , it’s just been one song . People didn’t want to leave but we know Sri Dharma is with us wherever we go.

~Cindy Ley-Sepe

Baxter is ready to go home after the morning’s Maha Shakti

The aforementioned Maha Shakti

 Baxter preparing for Yoga Nidra

Kim’s much-appreciated Dharma Gentle class

The start of Maha Sadhana

Maha Sadhana: “You have two minutes, do whatever you want.”

One of Sri Dharma’s offerings during the asana jam

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