Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Manju Jois week

Haven't written much lately, perhaps because this week is focused on practice... not just asana practice, but meditation, pranayama, chanting, and svadhyaya (self-study).

The early practice is at 7 AM (includes about 12 or 13 people), after which we meet at 8:45 for pranayama and chanting.  The later practice (12-14 people; this is the asana practice I'm participating in) begins around 9:15 or so.

Most people are staying in places away from Stillpoint, though many of them hang around after practice/etc. to have chai tea and talk - and to just enjoy breathing the fresh air and scenery here.

Afternoons are for study, reading, resting, and preparing dinner, though yesterday, Vayu and I also drove in toward Nelson to see Sabine.  She went to stay at a hotel for a few days after the other part of the training was over, before she her trip back to Germany.  It was great to have time to talk in a relaxed atmosphere.

Today, I spent most of the study time reading Seeing Yoga, by Swami Nityamuktananda.  It is "a contemplation of Patanjali's Yoga Sutras."  The Swami is German by birth, and naturalized British.  She has a varied background, including university studies (M.A. Theology/Education; Ph.D. Philosophy), and she has also studied ceramics, psychology, art, design, and various complementary medicines, including Shiatsu and Zen.  

Unfortunately, her books are difficult, if not impossible to find in the U.S.  

She comes to New Zealand to teach the philosophy part of the Level 2 training at Stillpoint.

From reading just this book (she has another book on The Five Elements), she has quite a way of relating deep information intelligently and accessibly.

Back to more mundane, but fun things... Tonight, Takako (here from Japan - she was also here last year when Tim and I were here, and she asked specifically how Tim is doing : )  ) cooked a wonderful tofu and vegetable curry.  Takako is a wonderfully bright, pure-loving person.  She LOVES chocolate (milk chocolate, that is), and often leaves a couple of pieces in the shala for Manju (or for John and Lucy when they're teaching).

Walking back to my room tonight, I saw the waxing moon just hovering over the horizon to the west - so bright that it blocked out many stars in its vicinity.  On the opposite side of the sky, the stars were much more clear, including the southern cross.  

It's amazing how easily we get "separated" from the sky when we live in or near big cities, and the stars aren't as visible.  Takako says she can't see the stars at all in Tokyo.  It's sad, really.  They're up there every night, wanting to be seen.

Better get some sleep...

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