Archive for the ‘yoga’ tag
The latest study published by Yoga Journal shows that over 16 million Americans now practice yoga and spend almost $6 billion a year on yoga classes and products. As yoga has grown into a big business, it has entered the mainstream media and injuries, regulation, taxation and ethics are being openly discussed. As a result, the legal risks to studio owners and teachers have dramatically increased. This workshop will provide an inviting forum to discuss the legal issues now affecting owners and teachers, and strategies to help you build a thriving yoga business and avoid becoming ensnared in legal problems.
(Eligible as Continuing Education for the Yoga Alliance 500 certification program)
We will explore the key agreements among studio owners, teachers and students, strategies for protecting studios and teachers from liability, how to trademark and protect your brand and website, how to copyright and protect your teacher training materials, work for hire agreements for yoga designs, agreements for workshops, retreats and studio rentals, bartering and trading services, the new law that imposes fines of up to $15,000 if you misclassify a teacher as an independent contractor, the top five tax issues, how to use lawyers and ethical considerations.
Key points covered in this workshop:
• The three key agreements
• Protecting yourself from liability
• Independent contractors and employees
• Trademarks, branding and websites
• Top five tax issues
This workshop will be informal and interactive. We will provide a safe, open and fun environment to explore your legal questions. As a student of the Yoga Sutras, Gary weaves Patanjali’s wisdom into the conversation as much as possible! We invite you to submit your legal questions in advance so that we can respond to the issues that are most important to you. Please send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gary Kissiah has practiced corporate and business law for over twenty years. He has been a partner in the corporate and technology practice group of Akin Gump which is a global law firm. Gary then became a Senior Attorney with Microsoft where he practiced corporate and technology law and served on the Microsoft Ethics Committee. Gary has been practicing yoga since 2000, and has a Certificate of Yoga Philosophy from the California Institute of Integral Studies. He has also studied at Esalen Institute, Parmarth Niketan Ashram and Satchidananda Ashram-Yogaville. Gary has taken inspiration from the workshops and writings of such teachers as Sri Swami Satchidananda, Sally Kempton, Ana Forrest, Dharma Mittra, Eric Schiffman, Gary Kraftsow and Thich Nhat Hanh. Gary recently published his first book entitled: “The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali- Illuminations Through Image, Commentary and Design.”
“Because I have the somewhat unusual combination of legal expertise and a yoga practice, I hope to serve the yoga community by bringing a unique perspective to this workshop. My experience will enable me to discuss the legal and business issues that are important to the yoga community in a way that is sensitive and responsive to the participants in the workshop.” Gary Kissiah
Date: July 1, 2012
Location: Yoga Tree Stanyan Studio (780 Stanyan Street San Francisco CA)
Schedule: 1 – 4pm
$35 in advance, $40 at the door
Here is the link to the Yoga Tree Website for signup:
What is OM?
OM is the beginning of the universe
In the beginning there was only Brahman.
Brahman is infinite.
Brahman is the absolute.
Brahman is the Supreme Self.
Brahman is beyond space, time and causation.
Brahman is satchidananda: being, consciousness and bliss.
Brahman is our individual true Self.
All is Brahman.
Brahman brought forth the universe and everything in it.
From Brahman came the many.
This is beautifully described in the words of the Chandogya Upanishad:
“In the beginning was only Being, One without a second. Out of himself he brought forth the cosmos and entered into everything in it. There is nothing that does not come from him. Of everything he is the inmost Self. He is the truth; he is the Self Supreme. You are that, Svetaketu, you are that.”
OM is the sound of the beginning of creation.
OM is the first vibration that came from Brahman.
OM is the primal sound.
With OM Brahman created the universe and everything in it.
The name of Brahman and everything in creation is OM.
We do not create OM by chanting the name, but our chants produce a vibration that is in harmony with the cosmic sound that has been vibrating from the beginning. That is the secret of the power of OM.
Our chanting of OM resonates with the eternal vibration of Brahman. Om is like a divine tuning fork vibrating into eternity.
Why do we chant OM?
We chant OM to connect with our true Self. Since our true Self is the same as the Supreme Self, when we connect with our true Self we connect with the Supreme Self.
When we chant OM it produces a vibration in us which resonates with the universal vibration of OM, and we are elevated from our everyday minds to relationship with our true Self. We chant OM to be in tune with the true Self.
When we chant OM it puts us in a meditative mood. When we chant OM our minds become calm and we can rest in our true Self.
OM is the supreme mantra
All mantras begin with OM. OM is the supreme mantra.
Chanting OM calms and purifies our minds and helps us rest in our true Self.
If we chant OM we become filled with divine energy. It is like taking divine medicine.
In Yoga Sutra 1.28, Patanjali said “Let there by chanting of OM with meditation on its meaning.” By chanting OM our minds become still, and our true Self shines forth.
Chanting OM is the path of bhakti yoga or the path of devotion. Chanting OM helps us unite with the Supreme Being.
OM is a trilogy of meaning meanings
OM is comprised of three sounds: “A”, “U” and “M”. There is also a fourth sound which is a universal vibration and is the essence of all other sounds. This fourth sound is known as the un-struck sound.
OM is comprised of three letters and represents many trilogies of meanings.
Here are some examples:
A U M
Brahma Vishnu Shiva
Creation Preservation Destruction
Body Mind Soul
Rajas Sattva Tamas
Sat Chit Ananda
Past Present Future
Birth Life Death
Jagrat Svapna Sushupti
Father Mother Sun
Fire Sun Wind
OM is consciousness
OM is the four states of consciousness.
OM is the waking state or jagrat.
OM is the dreaming state or svapna
OM is the deep sleep state or sushupti.
Om is the transcendental state or turiya.
The three curves of the OM symbol represent jagrat, svapna and sushupti.
The large curve at the bottom represents jagrat. It is the largest curve because we spend most of our time in the waking state.
The smaller curve above it represents the deep, dreamless state or sushupti.
The curve in the middle represents the dreaming state or svapna because it is an intermediate state between the waking state and the dreamless state.
The dot (or bindu) signifies the fourth state of consciousness or turiya. In this state consciousness looks neither outward nor inward. This peaceful and blissful state is the ultimate aim of all spiritual activity. This state illuminates the other three states.
Finally, the semi-circle symbolizes maya and separates the dot from the other three curves. It is the illusion of maya that prevents us from the realization of this highest state of bliss. The semi-circle is open at the top and does not touch the dot. This means that this highest state is not affected by maya. Maya only affects the manifested phenomenon.
Chanting OM causes our mind to become still, sets up harmonious vibrations in our mind and subtle body, elevates our mind to divinity, and raises our consciousness to the transcendental state of turiya. We unite with the Supreme Self.
One of the best resources on OM is the Mandukya Upanishad. It is quite short- only 12 stanzas- but is considered one of the deepest and most important of the Upanishads. Swami Krishnananda has published a free book in PDF form which contains the Mandukya Upanishad and his commentary. Here is the link to the book:
The Yoga Sutras contain two Sutras on OM: Sutra 1.27 and Sutra 1.28.
Sutra 1.27 states that the sacred word representing Isvara (the Supreme Being) is OM (pranava).
In Sutra 1.28 Patanjali gives us an important teaching for our practice: “Let there be the chanting of OM with meditation on its meaning.” If we read the two together we learn that meditation on the Supreme Being is an important path to realizing our true Self. It is the path of bhakti yoga or the yoga of devotion.
I sat alone on a block of stone
On the banks of the Ganges.
Mother Ganges blessed me.
I meditated on OM and its meaning–
The Word that is the symbol of Brahman.
The little personality was lost.
The mortal limit of the self was loosened.
But there was infinite extension.
I entered into the Nameless beyond;
I realized the unity of bliss.
No words can describe the thrill of joy,
The mystic experiences,
The supreme and divine height of felicity!
The little “I” fused into the incandescent brilliance.
Two become one now,
It was all Tejomaya Ananda–
One mass of transcendental light bliss.
So you understand what is meant by citta. It is the mind-stuff, and vrttis are the waves and ripples rising in it when external causes impinge on it. These vrttis are our whole universe. The bottom of the lake we cannot see, because its surface is covered with ripples. It is only possible when the ripples have subsided, and the water is calm, for us to catch a glimpse of the bottom. If the water is muddy, the bottom will not be seen; if the water is agitated all the time, the bottom will not be seen. If the water is clear, and there are no waves, we shall see the bottom. That bottom of the lake is our own true Self, the lake is the citta, and the waves are the vrttis. Then, at last, when the waves cease, and the water of the lake becomes clear, there is the state called sattva, serenity, and calmness. This citta is always trying to get back to its natural pure state, but the organs draw it out. To restrain it, and to check this outward tendency, and to start it on the return journey to that essence of intelligence is the first step in Yoga, because only in this way can the citta get into its proper course.
Sri Swami Vivekananda
Yoga Sutra 1.12
Restriction of the fluctuations is achieved by practice and non-attachment.
(Abhyasa vairagyabhyam tan nirodhah)
In Yoga Sutra 1.2 Patanjali defines yoga as the cessation of the misidentification with the modifications of the mind. When our minds are still, we can then rest in our true Self. This state of being or resting in our true Self is the ultimate goal of yoga.
Patanjali takes an open and inclusive approach to Yoga practice and describes over twenty separate practices within the Yoga Sutras. One of the most important pathways to attain our true Self is described in Sutra 1.12: through consistent, devotional practice (abhyasa) and detachment from the results of that practice (vairagya) we can still our minds.
B.K.S. Iyengar describes this practice as follows: “Practice is the positive aspect of Yoga; detachment or renunciation the negative. The two balance each other like day and night, inhalation and exhalation.” Iyengar also equates these principles to hatha yoga. The “ha” or “sun” aspect represents practice and the “tha” or “moon” aspect represents detachment. These principles embody the two poles of our Yoga practice.
Achieving the proper balance between a dedicated and successful practice and non-attachment to the results of that practice may be difficult because we may view these goals as paradoxical. This paradox is aggravated in Western cultures because we tend to be achievement and goal oriented.
I frequently reflect upon these twin principles in Yoga class. If I allow myself to become attached to my desire to progress up the asana ladder, I become ego-centered and try to outperform myself or other students in the class. As I become more focused on my desire to “excel”, I lose awareness of my body in the asana, I forget to breathe, I tighten my muscles and I may fall out of the pose. This happened in class this week as I fell out of my handstand because I was so proud that I finally made it upside down! However, the fall in turn, triggered a cycle of self-criticism and judgment, a focus on other students who had beautiful handstands and other distractions. This attachment to achieving the “goal” only served to agitate my mind, disrupt the flow of the practice and prevent me from obtaining its benefits.
On the other hand, if I focus too much upon non-attachment, I have a tendency to become apathetic, non-attentive and to daydream. I do not push the poses to their edge or approach them with attention and concentration. Non-attachment provides me with an excuse to avoid challenging poses and to forgo practicing with the intensity that will expand my practice. In some classes I opt out of doing poses that are difficult for me to reach such as handstand. Again, the result is that I do not reap the full benefit of the practice.
A bird cannot fly with one wing; it needs two wings to fly. To reach our spiritual goals we need both wings of yoga: practice and non-attachment. They need to be coordinated in a rhythmic flow to keep the flight path on course. If we can keep both principles firmly in mind and in balance through constant awareness, we will find that our practice will tend to be far more effective. And those of us who are challenged by handstand may find that we are able to find the pose and even hold it with elegance and stability!