Guru Purnima

Today’s full moon marks Guru Purnima, known to ashtangis the world over as the day commemorating the auspicious 1915 birth of K. Pattabhi Jois. With each passing year, this day feels more and more like a celebration to me — the kind of celebration you don’t get dressed up for, and one you probably aren’t talking to your co-workers and neighbors about. Instead, it’s the kind of celebration marked quietly, internally, and honored outwardly in different ways by the ashtanga diaspora — perhaps over Facebook shares and blog posts and, if you’re in New York City, attending the evening puja, changin (and surprise) at Eddie Stern’s Ashtanga Yoga New York.

  • The incredibly prolific Grimmly has, not surprisingly, provided a wealth of information about Pattabhi Jois in a new post that includes old interviews, videos, photos and student reflections. (And as my next meeting is about to start and I am about to hit “publish,” Grimmly has just announced that he has already updated this post to include interviews with early students.)
  • Here is a photo slideshow by Barry Silver that’s making the rounds.
  • Ashtanga Yoga Library’s Elise Espat posted this “Weekend Edition #15” post on Guru purnima.
  • The Confluence Countdown has been posting videos leading up to today.

Barry Silver tribute to Guruji

I’m sure there’s a ton more out there, but that’s all I’ve got time for on this lunch break. All I will say is that if you haven’t read Guruji yet, I highly recommend it. I was lucky enough to be in a led class once in Montreal with Pattabhi Jois, but what resonates most with me is how much this larger-than-life spirit inspired the teachers who are today inspiring a new generation of ashtangis — helping them find transformation in their lives in ways that go far beyond the mat.

Back to work I go, with Guruji and parampara on my mind.

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When a full moon is more than just a full moon

Today is fast coming to a close, so I better post this before midnight strikes! July 25, 2010 is a full moon day – one of the traditional days of rest observed by Ashtanga practitioners. Read why here.

But it’s not just any full moon. I learned from Tim Miller that the full moon of July is an occasion in Indian to celebrate the spiritual teacher — Guru Purnima. The late Pattabhi Jois was born on this day in 1915, and out west in California, Tim held a Guru Purnima satsang this evening at the Ashtanga Yoga Center. I would have loved to have been there physically, but I was there in spirit for what was surely a joyous event.

So no matter when you happen to be reading this post, and no matter if you practice Ashtanga or not, why not take a moment to honor those who have helped you discover something — about yourself, yoga, life, love, or anything else that has made a difference to you. Especially in our moments of darkness, simply remembering those who have shared light and lightness can become a valuable lesson in and of itself.