Upliftment through Immersion

By Deepa Maria Mazzi, Kelly Sullivan & Soraya Pereira
Interviewed by Matrikaa Gast

“Three of us local Svaroopis were invited to teach early morning classes at the San Diego Svaroopa® Yoga Conference in 2015.  Before it, we had a planning call with Swami Nirmalananda. Swamiji asked, ‘Well, what do you want to teach?’  I said, ‘People will just be leaving their beds, so I’m thinking sweet floor poses.’ To which Swamiji replied, ‘I’m thinking poses to wake them up for meditation.  I’m thinking Yoga Sit-ups!’”

Looking back, Soraya says, “At the Conference, I felt that each and everyone one of us participating was 100% present — ‘there’.  I was drinking in every moment, and I could tell that was true for everyone.  Our time with Swamiji, in her Keynote Address and Satsangs, was beautiful.  Her presence with us wove an extended, joyful intimacy among us San Diegans and all who came from across the US and Australia.  Personally, I remember the power of a profound deep vichara (self-guided inquiry) led by Vidyadevi Stillman.

“The hotel venue was not an Ashram environment.  In fact, motorcyclists had also convened there.  Yet they were not a distraction.  Crossing paths with them affirmed the strength of our inner state as well as reciprocal adaptation.  At the end, sharing elevator rides with us,they would cordially ask ‘How was your meditation?’”

Kelly Sullivan’s word for her experience is “heartwarming.”  She says that connecting and talking with the Aussies was “a kick.”  She enjoyed being able to assist Vidyadevi in one of her asana sessions and to help fine-tune alignments.  She describes, “The Conference overall gave me a sense of coming home, immersing in the same kind of familiarity that you experience in Shavasana. It loops back to being in the moment, being in your Self.  In a way it reminded me of the ‘good old days’ in La Jolla when we San Diego Svaroopis had classes together in one location.  Yet this feeling was not a nostalgia tinged with sadness.  The energy was bubbly.  Everyone was happy to see each other.  This reunion was truly a bliss trigger.  It reminded me of the bliss that Vij~nana Bhairava:

Anytime a great delight arises, like the delight of reunion with someone after a long time,meditate on the delight and become absorbed in it, so your mind will become identified with that delight.  — verse 71

Months before the Conference, Deepa Mazzi had had surgery to repair a broken kneecap.  At the Conference, she was aware of the flow of Grace from our lineage as she taught in one of the sessions.  Teaching teachers — her peers— was daunting at first.  Yet she says,“It became fun after a while.  As always,I felt the Grace of our lineage supporting my teaching.”

Given the condition of her knee, Deepa was surprised at being able to do so much asana, and to teach. She adapted some alignments to protect her knee, and remembers Teacher Trainer Kusuma Sachs commenting “interesting modification.”  Overall, she experienced the Conference as a reunion of extended family.  She says,“It was like meeting third-cousins for the first time, and you discover a deep basis for relationship.  In this case, it was our mutual love of Svaroopa®yoga.  There was great camaraderie.”A Conference immersion is relatively short.  Yet Deepa found that the experience still“stays with you.”  She explains, “I took a deep dive and felt that I floated home on a cloud.”

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