It's almost Thanksgiving! I have a couple things to tell you on this moon day!
You may have noticed a few pictures and statues perched on the altar at the front of the room. The big picture is of Somaskanda, one of the names of Śhiva, one that arose in south India. Somaskanda can mean “sa uma skanda” — "Skanda who is with Uma." Fittingly for a Mysore room, Uma is the goddess as breath, and She nurses Skanda, their youngest son. The picture will also often have Skanda's brother Ganesh, or Pillaiyar, as he is called in Tamil.
The Shiva who comes from the north of India is often portrayed in one of three ways: the lord of the dark cave, where he is depicted as a formless linga. Or he's lord of the cremation ground, with wild dreadlocks and body covered in ash. Or else he has retired to a mountaintop to meditate.
As he made his way south, however, Shiva took on new understandings and names, such as Daksinamurti, Nataraj, and Somaskanda. The darkness of the cave has become the privacy of the household, which stands in sharp contrast to the withdrawal of the ascetic. The formless linga has given way to the family portrait. Somaskanda is an archetype of yogis in the everyday world. He is fully engaged in everyday life, hiding in plain sight, as it were.
If anyone's interested, we could move into Somaskanda's bija mantra practice, though that will be taught one-to-one.
It's ironic that I "dropped out" a bit (e.g. quit job, bailed apartment, abandoned car) in order to go to India to practice with Pattabhi Jois, a man who absolutely never "dropped out," who had a long-term "love" marriage, owned a home, raised children, and had a professional career from which he ultimately retired. Jois was — as are many of us — a yogi hiding in plain sight.
+++ANNUAL HOLIDAY MEMBERSHIP DRIVE
The time is nigh! $1,499 for Unlimited yoga! Save $520 and get free mat storage, which will save you another $120. Also I am working on book number two, which you will receive for free sometime in 2018! Please bring cash or check December 1–15.
+++THANKSGIVING MYSORE SCHEDULE + BLACK FRIDAY LED PRIMARY
Something a little different this year: We are open on Thanksgiving! Come stoke your digestive fire with practice!
November Holiday Schedule
Thursday, November 23: Mysore, 8–10 a.m. only.
Black Friday, November 24: Special Led Primary Series class, 7–9 a.m.*
*Open to all, free to members, all levels welcome. No Mysore following, though we will grab coffee downstairs.
+++DAVID GARRIGUES IN BEND!
A couple people are heading down from Portland to Bend — David Garrigues will be teaching at Bend Ashtanga Yoga from November 30 to December 3. He will conduct semi-private Mysore classes on November 30 and December 1 (space limited), and hold an Ashtanga Weekend December 1–3. If you're interested in finding out about an Airbnb, reply to this email and I'll connect you. Sign up now.
+++STRENGTH AND GRACE: A COLLECTION OF ESSAYS BY WOMEN OF ASHTANGA In the latest edition of "I am late to the party": I just saw this Strength and Grace book online! I haven't yet read it, but the essay topics look incredibly compelling, and the book itself looks exquisite. I want 250 words on my desk Monday from each you. Find it here.
+++CHRISTMAS COOKIE SWAP
Do you love cookies? Of course you love cookies. What are you, some kind of monster?! Katie E. and Tara (my wife) are hosting a Christmas cookie swap Sunday, December 17, 2–4pm. Bake some cookies, bring some cookies, leave with some cookies. Location details are on Facebook, so email my wife: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I just spent 20 minutes looking for an R. Kelly Cookie gif, but could not find one G-rated. This means it is time to wrap up this newsletter.
Well, the temperature has dropped sharply and the holidays are almost upon us. As the days grow shorter and the nights colder, we move closer together, instinctively and following ancient rhythms, for warmth, comfort, strength, and support. We gather with our friends and family, to be sure — and we also do it in like-minded company on our yoga mats. So hold fast! It's going to be a hell of a ride!
Jason owns and directs Portland Ashtanga Yoga.