I hope that this email finds you well and you are having an enjoyable summer. Just a few reminders for the August schedule:
On Tuesday, August 16th, I will be co-teaching a strength, mobility, and yoga class in the temple with guest teacher Shereena Master who is visiting from Mumbai. She'll be guiding us through
practices for the wrists, shoulders, and stabilizing exercises, and I'll close the practice with a few cool down postures and pranayama. This is a really fun class, and all are welcome. It will be in-person only, 6:30-7:30pm, and you can register here.
We will be closed for the Ganesha Festival from Sunday, August 28th, until Labor Day, September 5th. The Ganesh Festival starts on Friday, August 26th, and the schedule of events can be found here.
Mysore class hours are
extended this month from 7am until 10:30am Tuesday thru Friday, and this will continue in September. Online class schedule remains Sunday, Wednesday and Friday, and registration for those classes are on our website here.
Something scholarly to read
My friend Jens Bache has written a paper called The Stories of Modern Yoga— History
or Myth? which includes a discussion on the differences in cultural interpretations of time, timelines, occurrences of events, and other topics between the West and India. Part of the presentation of his paper included a discussion between him, Raghu Anantanarayan (a student of Krishnamacharya, J. Krishnamurti, and TKV Desikachar), and me. You can read his full paper here, and an excerpt below. It's a deep investigation into how culture shapes perception, and how those perceptions can be projected onto other cultures that leads to misinterpretations. I'll be happy to pass feedback along to him!
"In the West, yoga of today is practiced with a strong focus on the physical exercises; whilst in India yoga is generally understood to be a mainstream ancient
spiritual philosophy (Joshi 2018). This difference is at the core of a rigorous ongoing debate of historical arguments between Indian scholars and secular gurus; and Western researchers and yoga experts about what yoga, its practices and origins really are. The process of documenting history is always an attempt to frame events and actions within the context of time with man as the essential component. But both elements are culturally conceptualized; in Europe time is perceived as of an
essential quality, but in India an illusion where reality is of “timeless nature” (Saha 1990:113). This cultural disparity has compelled me to analyze the arguments as to how man and time as social and cultural constructs are expressed in these opposing understandings of Yoga. The arguments with implied assertions form fundamental presumptions in which there appears to be an incompatibility between a fundamental Indian belief in the eternal truth in comparison with Western faith with its reality
of documented facts. The starting point for my analysis was Agamben's statement about time, history and culture: “Every conception of history is invariably accompanied by a certain experience of time which is implicit in it, conditions it, and thereby has to be elucidated. Similarly, every culture is first and foremost a particular experience of time, and no new culture is possible without an alteration in this experience.” (Agamben 2007:91). I have first discussed temporality; how the cultural
understandings of time create the framework of logic in these arguments and how this affects the conclusion arrived upon. Thereafter the interpretations of modern yoga as cultural and social narratives for the archetypal meanings they espouse, and lastly how they are related to history, myth, legend and the understanding thereof."
I look forward to seeing you in class, online or in-person, and as well at the Ganesha festival!