Category Archives: Yoga in Life

Shooting in Yoga Studio

Nirmalananda seriousBy Swami Nirmalananda Saraswati

Friday night, a man entered Hot Yoga Tallahassee and shot several of their students.  Two have died.  The students resisted and even fought back, consistent with yoga’s warrior tradition.  The shooter killed himself.

At DYMC, we are going to be increasing our security measures and doing staff trainings to protect ourselves and our students in case of any threat.  The Board will spearhead this essential initiative, for which funding is likely to be needed.

In Tallahassee, one of the yogis was a student at Florida State University.  The other was a faculty member.  The President of the University has issued a statement along with several officials from local police and government.  More information is available on CNN.

FL yoga studio shooting 181102The city tweeted, on their verified account, “As we process the gut-wrenching act of violence that took place this evening in a place of peace in our community…”  This clearly speaks to the value that yoga offers to our modern-day world and the official acknowledgement of it.  But it doesn’t protect the yoga studios from the growing violence in these turbulent times.

On Friday evening, the mayor of Tallahassee met the victims when he returned home from a Shabbat service in South Florida, honoring the 11 people killed in a Pittsburgh synagogue last weekend.  This means that Jews are mobilizing to honor their dead as well as protect the living.  Such a religious service does both.

Please consider doing something to honor the victims.  That includes those who were attacked, including the ones injured and killed.  Include the police and community officials and even the shooter in whatever you do.  He was obviously a person in great pain, not to mention the terrible karma he’s created for himself.  Let your compassion and caring reach out to the families and the whole community.  This will not only help them, it will create an energy field of protection for all the yogis in all the yoga studios.

What do you do?

  • Swamiji japa mala croppedHold a special program in their honor.  I will be dedicating our satsang to them on Tuesday night.
  • Read this letter to others (at the end of a yoga class, satsang or a gathering of family or friends).
  • Send the blog link to everyone you know.
  • Light a candle in honor of everyone affected, including you.
  • Dedicate a round (or several) of mantra repetition to the victims.
  • Talk to others about what yoga means to you.

Don’t take on their pain.  Offer blessings.

I’m reaching out to yoga teachers of other styles, both in my area as well as nationally and internationally. I would like to contribute to a wave of yoga studios and yogis honoring the victims, creating solidarity in a yoga world too often factionalized.  Can you help me do this by reaching out to the other yoga teachers in your area?

You might use this blog as a resource in your outreach.  Can you post one as well?  Or put something on your Facebook page?  Tweet.  Make phone calls.  March down Main Street with posters saying, “Yogis for Peace.”  Or use some other inspiring and short phrases, like “Remember Tallahassee.”

These actions invoke the blessings of Vishnu, whose help is needed in these turbulent times.  To learn more about what’s fueling the violence, listen to my October 7 satsang audio, Turbulent Times.

Do not let this violence go unmarked.  Fight back even when you are not personally under attack.  Fight back by opening your heart and being a vocal proponent of peace.  Remember Emma Gonzalez.  Be a visible member of the yoga community in your area and in the world.

OM svaroopa svasvabhavah namo namah

To your Inherent Divinity, again and again I bow.

 

False Alarm – by Swami Nirmalananda

Lokananda, January 10 2016, 5:00 am

Students were awakened by carbon monoxide detectors sounding off.  They evacuated into the early morning rain, saw smoke coming out of the street and called 911.  The fire engines came.  It took them a few hours to figure out that it was caused by an underground fire in the PECO utility lines.

20160110_060511A student phoned us, so Kusuma, Heather and I went right over.  They were holed up in the coffeshop across across the street.  They ended up camping there for almost 3 hours, drinking way too much coffee, which didn’t improve their state.

Once the Fire Chief determined that it seemed to be caused by the underground fire, they got PECO on the way, and had the ambulance crew test all the yogis for carbon monoxide poisoning.  They were all clear, hooray!  Another reason I love technology – carbon monoxide alarms.

 

Ashram meditation hall 3

 

As soon as they were declared clean, we took them to the Ashram. and had their breakfast delivered there.  We led them through a yoga class and then assembled in the meditation hall for debriefing.  It took them only a few minutes to uncover the fear of death, so appropriate after the discourse on the kleshas the day before.  We did an amazing 90 minutes on this invaluable line of inquiry.  Then we did japa and meditated.

Due to the efforts of our admin staff, along with the Fire Dept, PECO, and our heating contractor, the building was cleared of carbon monoxide and opened up again by noon!  Amazing.   The yogis went back there for lunch and the rest of the teaching day.  Kusuma went with them to seal the building energetically.

What does all this mean?

First – being spiritual doesn’t free you from surprises.  Events still transpire, but you deal with them differently because you are different inside.

Secondly – even though it was our carbon monoxide detectors that went off, it was not our building that was emitting the carbon monoxide.  In fact, our Grand Old Dame of a campus did exactly what she should have done, which was to keep everyone safe by kicking them out.  It wasn’t a false alarm, but it was, sort of…

And most importantly – life isn’t about what happens, but it is about who you are while you are handling it.  DSC_0054I was first surprised by the wide range of yogis’ reactions.  They were all going through the same events, but they had very different experiences of them.  Thus, the vichara was so important – not only for them to sort out their feelings but for me to learn from them about the majesty of individuality.  Shiva has become so many fascinating selves – even you.

In our various campus locations over the decades, we were burglarized twice, flooded out, burnt to the ground and now there’s been a poisoning attempt!  It’s not easy bringing these teachings into the world.  But it is essential.

FUN-raiser: “Yoga in Life” Photo Contest

Yoga in Life_logoDoing yoga in your everyday life is both a survival technique and more. It’s a way to hit your reset button so your inner light shines into the world. Show us how you weave yoga into your life by posting a photo in our Fall FUN-raiser, the “Yoga in Life” Photo Contest.

Inspire others with how you do yoga while juggling family, career and everyday tasks. Snap a picture while reading a book in Sukhasana, doing Konasana while fixing a leaky sink, or keep it seasonal while baking a pumpkin pie in Vrkshasana. Maybe your cat lays on your sacrum when you’re in Half Frog? Or your dog does Downward Facing Dog with you? Click here to post your photo as well as to vote on your favorite.

As soon as your shot posted, share it with family and friends and have them vote. Votes are $1 each, with a minimum of $5, all of which are tax deductible donations. This will raise funds for the Ashram as well as FUN for our whole yoga family, while leading up to our annual Thanksgiving donation campaign. Help us build a library of yogis sharing their love and gratitude for yoga.

Winners will be announced on December 10th and featured in our communications in 2015 & 2016. We’ll share their yoga stories with the world! Join in sharing the bliss and the profound healing power that Svaroopa® yoga provides. Support Svaroopa® yoga and meditation as well as the Ashram with the gift of you doing yoga.