Category Archives: new york

Day Seven: Exploring Evenness


The Life of a Yogi
          I can’t even explain the insane amount of bliss that results from a Maha Sadhana with Sri Dharma Mittra. I had a little bit of a roller coaster sort of day, but after that workshop, everything is just erased. All I feel right now is devotion and ecstasy.
          My roomie and I overslept a little bit this morning, but it didn’t really phase me. That’s the main thing I’m noticing about myself lately, is that I just accept situations more readily and adjust myself according to the circumstances rather than fighting things. As Kim said last module, “Some things just aren’t worth getting upset over.” I think that’s going to become my personal mantra for the rest of my life, actually. It probably would have helped me to remember that later in the day when I was getting ruffled about some silly thing.
          The day started with pranayama and dhyana with Melissa, followed by a Dharma Shakti practice, which was a very basic class consisting of sun salutations, the main poses, relaxation, and some meditation. It was probably the deepest savasana of the training, actually – I think I’m finally beginning to understand the power of the simplest practices. We’ve been talking a lot this module about how we want to strive, as teachers, to be simple, clear, and direct. I think that’s why I love all the Dharma Yoga teachers (the mentors especially) – they all make difficult and/or complex asanas quite straightforward.
          We had Maha Shakti and Yoga Nidra afterwards with Sri Dharma, which were both awesome as usual. I just laugh so much in his classes… The element of joy is contagious. Then we had lunch, followed by a small group session where we practiced teaching the pranayama and dharana for Dharma III. Then we had our last small group session, and I got to teach. I felt pretty good about it, but I’m still trying to reconcile some of the feedback I got. Sometimes I feel like there’s nothing else I’m meant to do on this earth but teach yoga (and I feel like I’m starting to become a pretty decent teacher), and other times I feel like I’m a little kid and I just have no idea what I’m doing… It doesn’t help that I tend to take “constructive criticism” personally sometimes. Anyway, I’m thankful for the feedback, and it’s all just part of the process. I can’t expect myself to be perfect right off the bat! I certainly don’t expect it of others, so why should I hold myself to that kind of standard?
          After that we had Maha Sadhana, for which I only have a few pictures because the camera died partway through! There were a lot of people taking pictures, though, so I’m sure they’ll be posted on the other Dharma Yoga social media pages soon. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves…
~Danielle

Day Six: Flux


The Life of a Yogi
          Another day gone… This morning I could hardly believe it was the beginning of day six, and even though the morning seems like a really long time ago, I’m still having trouble grasping the fact that there are only two days left of the training. It makes me think of what Sri Dharma says about the Supreme Self: “No notions of time…” and all of that. But then again, I’m pretty sure the fact that I have no notion of time right now is more related to exhaustion than enlightenment.
          I was really tired this morning for some reason – not too sore or anything, just a general fatigue. I was a little agitated at myself, because I had really wanted to be totally alert for pranayama/dhyana and discourse with Sri Dharma (this is only the third time we’ve had him for discourse this module, so I wanted to absorb as much as possible). Even though I was tired most of the morning, I stopped being so serious and agitated at myself once Baxter started barking at Sri Dharma while he was demonstrating lion pose; it was hilarious and SO adorable.
          We had another small group teaching session after discourse (the last one of those is tomorrow, and I’ll be teaching), followed by Master Sadhana – with Yoshio today. Both of those were really fun; Yoshio’s class is just so full of love, and I’m a big fan of his sequencing and general style.
          After lunch we had a lecture with Eric on yogic scripture, which was really interesting. I started becoming more fascinated with scripture while I was reading the Atmabodha in between modules, so I appreciated the clarification he offered on some subjects, and his recommendations for further reading. I already have a bunch of books about yoga at home, and I feel like all I’m going to want to do once I go home is sit in my room and read!
          Then we had a session with Andrew regarding teaching Dharma Raja Yoga Basics, which is a course that concerns itself with the last three limbs of yoga – dharana, dhyana, and samadhi. It was cool to have a structural outline for teaching a class without asana, because that’s something I’m really interested in doing in the near future. We had Andrew for the rest of the evening as well – Maha Shakti and Yoga Nidra. The Maha Shakti was really nice; I ended up practicing near most of my small group members, so I felt really safe and supported throughout the class. That’s been one of the coolest things about this program – developing relationships with my group and a lot of the other trainees as well. I think that’s one of the things that feels different this module, actually: we are all just really comfortable with each other now, so it feels like home even more so than last time.
          Unfortunately I fell asleep during Yoga Nidra. I was CONVINCED that I wouldn’t, because I had stayed awake through the savasana at the end of Maha Shakti… But then I made the mistake of letting my attention wander just a little bit at one point, and I was so tired today that that was all it took… I was asleep before I even knew it. Oh well, I’ll have another chance at it tomorrow with Sri Dharma!
          Tonight I think it’s going to be straight to bed – there’s not enough time left to waste any of it being tired!
~Danielle

Day Four: Presence


The Life of a Yogi
          Today I feel like I found my groove again. I almost wish today could be the first day all over again! I felt like I finally became truly receptive again, and I learned more than I would ever expect to learn in just one day.
          We started the day with pranayama and dhyana with Adam. I always look forward to sessions with Adam because I know we’ll start with really awesome chanting… And I was not disappointed this morning; we did a chant that I have only heard once or twice before, and then it was stuck in my head all day long. The second session was a review of some of the required reading from between the modules – the Gheranda Samhita mainly, but Adam also read from a book by Swami Sivananda, which was great; it really inspired me for the day.
          We then had our second small group teaching session, which was quite lovely, although I had expected it to be somewhat grueling (first practice of the day, the thought of noon class looming over us, etc.). I’m starting to feel like Dharma III will be an accessible practice for me to do every day after this module, whereas a few days ago I was pretty overwhelmed by that idea. The practice was beautiful; the trainee from our group that taught really set up a safe, sattvic environment, and by the end of the practice I was so calm.
          I was pretty ready, physically and mentally, for Master Sadhana, but then about ten minutes into the asanas, my arms were basically ready to collapse beneath me. I got a second wind and felt excellent by the end of the class, for which I was grateful, but I still felt like it was the hardest Master Sadhana of the training thus far. Lunch came and went quickly; I ventured outside to search for some pineapple (to get rid of some of the inflammation in my body), and it was snowing!
          By the time the first afternoon session began, it was snowing sideways… The wind must have been crazy! You sort of lose track with what’s going on outside, though, during these intensives. It’s impossible to remain concerned with things other than the action you are engaged in – it’s just too much for the brain and the body to cope with if you’re existing someplace else simultaneously. In my experience, anyway.
          After lunch we had a session on assisting and adjusting for Dharma III, and then another small group teaching session, which was equally lovely as the morning – except that we were all so much more exhausted and starting to lose steam… But that was in no way related to the teacher, more the general feeling of the room – by the third asana practice of the day, things get a little hard, ya know?
          To finish the day we had Maha Shakti and Psychic Development with Sri Dharma, which I felt like I just floated through – I didn’t even think very much about it (a pretty amazing thing, for me), but I just found myself totally present in my body and in the room… Surrendered to the task at hand. During savasana I stayed completely alert the entire time, and I started to feel some energy opening up in different areas along my spine – it was pretty cool to experience.
          Four days done… Now it’s come to the point where I don’t want it to end.
~Danielle
Sri Dharma plays with Baxter (Swami Dogananda)