Highlights from my studio visit with Aaron Taylor Kuffner aka Zemi 17 creator of the Gamelatron. Taylor made me lunch, we talked art/process and I followed him around his magical workshop with my camera.
Recently I have been praying to Hanuman for fortitude and strength.
Hanuman has the body of both a human and a monkey. He possesses supernatural physical strength and agility given to him by birth and as a blessing from Lord Rama for his selfless service and devotion. He was actually a god who incarnated as a monkey to serve Lord Rama.
Hanuman exposing his true heart, revealing his beloved Ram and Sita seated together.
Om Sri Hanumate Namah
Lord Hanuman by Manjari Sharma courtesy of Clamp Art
Because of his bravery, perseverance, strength and devoted service, Hanuman is regarded as a perfect symbol of selflessness and loyalty. Worship of Hanuman helps the individual to counter the bad karma borne out of selfish action, and grants the believer fortitude and strength in his or her own trials during the journey of life. source
When you undertake Yoga practice to awaken the healing energies that can guide you forward the only direction to go is inward. To be alone with your self. Yet the path seems so impossible to tread without help. And that is the necessity and appeal of Hanuman, the egoless servant who exists to serve the bent of the Spirit within. To access such an ally within ourselves is vital to our progress. Intimacy with breath and reflection can play a significant role in that connection, in realizing you are compelled to find your unique and original heart and Spirit. When you learn to focus with stamina and access your breath, when you feel fully plugged in to your body by the flow of breath, where breath is the center, where you feel breathed by the breath, then you become Hanuman, born to serve Ram; you become the unswerving, loyal servant and ally whose sole mission is to reconnect your intelligence with your Spirit.Â – More on Befriending Hanuman
Here is a video of Alanna Kaivalya exploring the asanas of Hanuman. Alanna is an incredible yoga teacher and I love the way she incorporates her vast knowledge of mythology into her teachings. She has taught me so much.
Hanuman, is a legendary character from yoga mythology. He has three poses, or asanas, attributed to him: hanumanasana (splits pose), anjaneyasana (lunge pose), and virasana (hero pose). This video illustrates the mythology behind all three and introduces a sequence that incorporates these three hanuman poses.
The story of Hanuman comes from the Ramayana, an epic poem and tale. In this tale, Ram and Hanuman are best friends. Hanuman was a demigod sent to live in the forest with a band of monkeys. When he was young, his name was Anjaneya, named after his mother. That is why we call this kneeling lunge pose Anjaneyasana. This pose named for the baby Hanuman is all about finding an even stretch. Virasana is another name for Hanuman. Ramâ€™s girlfriend, Sita, was stolen by an evil demon so he sent Hanuman to save her. He prayed for the faith to do a seemingly impossible task. He prayed to be filled with confidence and love. The last Hanuman pose is (you guessed it!) Hanumanasana. This video shows how to get into this challenging splits pose through multiple variations and sequences. In this challenging pose, it is super helpful to remember that Hanuman is the embodiment of friendship and happiness â€“ not suffering!
What do these poses have in common? They are all hip openers and involve the stretching of the psoas, the muscle that is most involved in moving through fear. And moving through fear is exactly what this monkey demigod does and what we can do through practicing these asanas. As we start to open these muscles, we begin to relieve our fear and our stress. When we do that, we can do anything.Â source
I met these lovely ladies at the market in Vrindavan, India.Â They make garlands all day for the deities at the temples. As sweet as their flowers, they smiled for my camera while they worked. I guess it is a good business since there are 5,000 temples in Vrindavan!
This year marks the twentieth anniversary ofÂ my yoga practice.Â It is a sacred gift I carry with me wherever I go.Â My mother introduced me to the benefits of yoga when I was a senior in high school, and we would go together every week.Â We loved the teachers at Jivamukti YogaÂ in the heart of the East Village, when it was still a small studio.
I was very excited to finally take a class in India, the true birthplace of yoga.Â Sadly, Jes’ favorite teacher Vijay left town so it was not the class we were expecting. Â Even an average yoga class is better than no practice at all, right? It is a total treat to do yoga outside on a rooftop with gorgeous views of coconut tress and crazy crows spiraling around the sky.Â It made me forget about the hustle bustle of motorbikes and tourists and pushy shopkeepers downstairs.
I also rarely get to have a nice long class in New York, this one was over 2 hours!Â Most of the deep stretching (my favorite part) happens in the last part of class, and this often left out because of time constraints.Â It made me miss practicing with Dharma Mittra, whose 2 1/2 hour master classes helped me survive photo grad school.
After the long flight and the stress that comes before a long voyage it made my body and mind feel heavenly.Â Â I never met a practicing yogi that complained about having trouble falling asleep at night. Somehow I managed to completely avoid getting jet lagged too!
The lovely view from the rooftop of the yoga studio.
Artist Kiki Smith and architect Deborah Gans talk about their stained glass window in the Museum at Eldridge Street. Their new design is the culminating piece of the 20-plus-year restoration of this national historic landmark, an 1887 synagogue. Smith and Gansâ€™s design features a celestial motif â€“ illuminated stars in a swirling pattern that evokes the Big Bang. Listen to the story here
Stained-glass window by artist Kiki Smith and architect Deborah Gans
in the 1887 Eldridge Street Synagogue
Courtesy Museum at Eldridge Street
I finally got around to listening to my copy of the beautiful and haunting compilation Dark Was The Night.Â Maybe I was waiting for just the right day to really appreciate it.Â Buy your copy today, and all the revenue goes to AIDS charities.
Bryan and I were invited to Colorado to play and document the Communikey Festival. I had a fabulous time catching up with old friends, visiting a gorgeous part of the country, eating yummy food, and hearing really good music.