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Comments Posted By anandadasi

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Re: Cheaters if not teaching all 8 limbs?

Different people come to yoga for different things and Yoga practice has many different boons to offer (prabhupada said it was in t he category of fruitive activities), on the physical, mental and spiritual level, then on the soul level comes Bhakti Yoga. Familiarisation with the Yoga practice in most modern forms (even) tend to really breed respect for the Vedic Culture and familiarity with some of its spiritual practices. It does this in a notable percentage of Yoga practitioners, as we can see by the increase in OM chanting, and deity T-shirts and greetings of Namaste and the popularity of Krishna das and other kirtan leaders etc.

The Vedic literatures are divided to help different kinds of people elevate. Even in Western form, something is happening here.

Srila Prabhupada said this Krishna Consciousness was the post graduate study of spiritual life. It seems to me that going to preschool, then elementary school, high school and then college actually helps people for post graduate training.

For instance, my yogasana teacher is mentioned in that Vanity Fair article Suresh brought up earlier in the discussion. He is a real yogi, whose life reflects his long study and he is teaching all eight limbs, he has taught many of the now famous teachers or their teachers who were listed int hat article. Under his guidance we also study the Yoga Sutras and Gita (who happens to be an initiated Prabhupada disciple) in our trainings. This has been going on for some years.

Here in New York (where many of the Vanity Fair teachers mentioned have centers) there is a good number of students who are studying these earlier mentioned books, as well as the Hatha Yoga Pradipika in depth and taking the instructions seriously, also several of the prominent teachers of these books at the studios are devotees.

In my particular school, there is a picture of Prabhupada in the studio beside other well known Yogis and there is an alter with Radha Krishna and also one with Lord Shiva.
Painted on the wall as a focus of meditation is a picture of Hanuman and Ram embracing. The teacher always plays the Maha Mantra in class (because it is recommended by sastra) and in every class he says to make every movement an offering to the lord, take to a vegetarian diet, cultivate gentleness and honesty, study the Gita daily etc. He has been teaching here in the City since the early 70’s I believe and practicing longer than that.

Hare Krishna

» Posted By anandadasi On Jun 11, 2007 @ 5:55 pm

3 points, with respect:


I think that if every maturing ISKCON Devotee strained their brain to find a way to very personally, cleanly, sincerely and with love- connect even just ONE person a year who is receptive- to real KC, the world would change faster towards the Golden Age Lord Caitanya talked about and we would be pleasing Srila Prabhupada. For innovators that take a few steps 1) looking at the world and seeing who is becoming ready for KC 2) introspecting to see who you can connect to and have an exchange of genuine care and trust with out there 3) making a plan on how to help them touch their soul and cultivate Bhakti for Lord Krishna.

If that means teaching a 1000 students Yogasana, pranayama, meditation and chanting or the Basic Gita or Vegetarian Cooking or whatever as an honest Vaisnava then that seems to me that is great success,especially if people are truly touched. Even bringing one soul to the Lords lotus feet is a huge offering.

More Japa Retreats, loving relationships trainings, parenting skills classes and sweet loving and safe preschools, curriculum for Vaisnavas to help aspiring Vaisnavas handle the challenges of the material world, with grace, goodness and Krishna Consciousness, for real. This is something very attractive and draws ripe souls on its own. It does not water down the milk Prabhupada gave us, it churns the milk. Lets take the cream and then make some ghee.

Whether conservative or liberal in approach there are people we are uniquely able to reach, I would like to just see one of the main points being made here in this whole
discussion is that is important for us to reach out and help grow devotees somehow or other.

3. With respect, but to be accurate, Classical Ashtanga (Ashta-8 anga-limbed) Yoga is not what is popularly taught as Ashtanga Yoga, modern Ashtanga Yoga comes from Pattabhis Jois in the line of Krishnamacharya who mixed western physical fitness training and Ashtanga Yoga practice and in the early years (as far as I have been told by Gary Kraftsow, who was his direct student) adjusted it to teach young Brahman Boys. Apparently, real Ashtanga Yoga is taught in phases according to age and temperament and in youth the focus is asana and discipline, later the focus moves towards Pranayama and later in life towards much more Meditation. Hare Krishna. Jaya Shree Radhe!

» Posted By anandadasi On Jun 10, 2007 @ 3:19 pm

Two students of Atmananda asked for people to address Atmananda personally when discussing the Atma couples yoga question. I didn’t make it personal because Kundalini/white tantric Yoga was not invented by Atma it was simply adjusted for the devotee community by Atma Prabhu. While he did say it was a totally new technology in his early literature, he studied under Yogi Bhajans senior students and learned from them. This may have been to make it more palatable to the devotee community, in hope the benefit could be given without weakening the link to Srila Prabhupada, this is something we talked about many years back in LA before the teachers training for devotees really started. He wanted to make it a form that was unquestionably Vaisnava.

Also, I believe lengthy discussions have already happened between him and many of our leaders.

And of course, he is welcome like all of us, to post.

As far as my possibly being made a devotee by Richard Freeman, he did not bring me to KC. I am sorry if I implied that. I can say I was struck that there was something special about him and curious what that was, and in addition that, I guess the relevant point is that my attraction to Yoga was indicative of a serious spiritual calling that eventually led me to be introduced to active devotees and to be brought to the temple, and to take to the practices very quickly because I had already been practicing similar things for some time. It sure seems there are lots of other people out there who might be walking a similar road right around now and I think that is the main point.

As far as the comment about Ananda (me) being a follower of our line ‘presumably’, I can only say I took to KC in the very strict old school traditional, braminical way for some time, living and serving in the temple for 4 years, totally surrendering so to speak, and graduating from Bhakti Sastri before leaving under GBC guidance to do innovative preaching, to study and eventually marry etc. These days I am not so old school or surrendered according to the old definition and I don’t know exactly what that makes me. I know our family in many ways is very strict and traditional (mostly because my husband is very strict and traditional in a good way), but that some of old structures don’t fit me personally, and to be honest I feel too tired and worn out in that way to try to keep squeeze myself or my students into them artificially anymore. It has become a kind of allergy. That might be indicative of my lack of advancement, I don’t know. But I do know that the more contemplative wing that is growing in ISKCON (japa retreats, solid study of our basic sastras, yoga asana practice, focused morning programs that are more meditative) capture my heart, give me hope and help me find my growing edge. These events are places that I feel comfortable bringing outside people to, whereas, there are other events that we are used to as the norm now that seem too far from western peoples comfort zone, or too mechanical for me to feel comfortable sharing with most outside yogis, co workers etc. And I have heard similar things from other practicing devotees, some of them are very senior devotees.
Pls feel free to write me directly if you feel I have made some offense so I can rectify,

» Posted By anandadasi On Jun 10, 2007 @ 3:37 am

Hari bol Prabhus, I think point number 37 is really good in many ways.

But I think there is a need to separate classical raja/ashtanga yoga from Kundalini/tantra (re atma couples Yoga), which is clearly a really different practice than what Srila Prabhupada gave us.
These are separate practices raja/ashtanga and kundalini/tantra.

I was trained in ashtanga yoga by Parivrajacacharya prabhu in the early 90’s and since then have been trained in very classical and quite devotional and regulated hatha/raja/ashtanga since by a master of the process with the focus on calming the mind and senses,classical yogic principles according the the sastra, atma nivedanam and the Lord on the heart. I was initiated in our ISKCON sampradaya in march 1997 and have had yoga students of mine also intitiated and are in good standing.

I agree, we don’t know for sure what Prabhupada would say about the growing trend of Yogis coming to KC. And time , place and circumstance do change. We know Prabhupada wanted us to preach boldly where there was the most impact without compromising any principles. This is being done with Yoga preaching, by many, without compromising our principles (but being patient with others place on the path and helping them along). I am a certified elementary school teacher also, I consider this being an elementary school teacher in spiritual life… no big deal if you are 4th grade, thats ok, you know… And for many of us, it is as Akruranath Prabhu says, this is part of our work as grhastas, that is attempting to be in the mode of goodness.
your servant,
Ananda dd

» Posted By anandadasi On Jun 7, 2007 @ 2:36 pm

I just couldnt let this comment hang any more.

This is a response to post #15 which instills fear of watering down Srila Prabhupadas mercy , or worse and questions the GBC for not stopping the growing community of Vaisnavas from being involved with Yoga.

With respects, 1st of all I don’t think it is an accurate analogy, or comparison. Mechanical television and the associated technology are not a Vedic process designed for the gradual upliftment of humanity and they are not mentioned in the Gita. Ashtanga Yoga is mentioned by specifically and many times by Lord Krishna in the Gita.

But if we were to accept the analogy enough for a (short) discussion then we could easily say television is a neutral medium, that in the hands of the lowest common denominator, a sales driven lower passions driven society then, it is clear that TV has in fact increased the enjoying spirit and widened the range of sinful life significantly on this planet.

Of course, as TV or the internet, or any technology, it is up to the individual how we use it. Devotees watch Vaisnava classes, conference on important topics, blog about Krishna consciousness, create Vaisnava cartoons etc. Prabhupada is also on DVD and devotees are able to show new people videos of our founder Acarya through this technology. And this positive use of technology also has a very strong and wide ranging influence.

Also, many of us either by parenting or in the ashram or through Yoga practice learned to control our senses and focus on what lifts us up, and so many of choose to use media in the service of our service…same with Yoga.. which (Yoga) is in itself designed to prepare people to discern in this way and to make better choices in this increasingly intense society.

your servant,
Ananda dd

» Posted By anandadasi On Jun 4, 2007 @ 3:34 pm

Woohoo! More Yoga teachers who have a real attraction to Lord Krishna is a very very good thing! (sounds like a call to action…). As a side point about the Vanity Fair article (thanks for the heads up!), there aren’t any ISKCON devotees on the list, I wish there were, but there ARE people who like to serve Krishna through parampara and are attracted to deepening that relationship who are assisting and studying with many of the teachers pictured on that list (which is natural right?). And many of the students of these teachers listed in the Vanity Fair article are making verifiable/quantifiable advancement too, with and without our help. It is not all bogus body stuff. Through chanting and study of sastra and the communities they are forming as well as devotees being involved (in particular several vaisnava scholars who write books and teach to the Yoga Community) big things ARE happening, though there is so much room for so much more growth. Sureshs last post had a real supportive element, a call to action, this is in the same mood…Lets support each other to be sincere and inspire others, those who like Yoga asana and want to share about Krishna from a heartfelt but patient and respectful place, pls pls join us, ok?Jaya Shree Krishna. I think I have to stop posting now. But I hope more people share and I will read them. Hari OMMMM tat sat, your servant, Ananda dd

» Posted By anandadasi On May 29, 2007 @ 12:16 am

Maybe I am getting too into this discussion, but it is something dear to my heart, so I am meditating on this as I prepare lunch, change the diapers, and prepare for my Yoga class tonight etc.

A Prabhupada disciple taught me Ashtanga Yoga in the early 90’s before I came to ISKCON and also I have been bridge preaching using classical Yoga methods and KC philosophy and intention since 2000 with very, very good results, sometimes producing strict devotees and for others increasing their connection to God and appreciation of the devotees. I also know a lot of Prabhupada dsiciples have been bridge preaching using Ashtanga/Raja/Hatha Yoga a lot longer than that, especially in the LA area, most notably mother Krodhasamani. And Tamala Krishna Swamis disciples have been bridge preaching using Yoga in China for decades.

Srila Prabhupada himself authorised one of his disciples to teach Hatha Yoga to the Shah of Iran’s daughter. The difference now is the mainstream acceptance of Yoga Asana Practice in the west, as well as the building spiritual and somewhat devotional community around it. When handled properly this adds acceptance and authority to our movement as is, within quite a mainstream community. Also, it is only natural for Devotees in good standing to be properly trained to help sincere souls travel across the bridge from Ashtanga Yoga to Bhakti Yoga, as Suresh prabhu mentioned, and it is even in the Gita this is actually a natural progression. I did it in 96, and no one owns that bridge by the way…and it is real. There is no wonder why so many devotees are called into this work now.

I guess the biggest concerns are that Yoga Asana teaching, curriculum design and practice by devotees should absolutely and unequivicably be something that increases our service and attachment to pleasing Srila PRabhupada, following the methods and standards he set out for us (coming in the line of disciplic succession). If this so, then how can anyone object?
om shanti?

» Posted By anandadasi On May 28, 2007 @ 7:24 pm

I think there are 2 main areas of discussion so far:
1) Traditional Hatha Yoga as part of a bonafide spiritual path progressively described in the Gita. Also included in this is the practice and teaching of it for mind/body health as well as Bridge Preaching and the need to keep it fully within the boundaries of Srila Prabhupadas guidance. Many people mentioned that this is being done.

2) The kind of Yoga that was written about in the source article, which has been clarified that it is for married couples. The subpoints here that were mentioned include 1) the need for some more workshops needed for married couples within ISKCON to strengthen the grhasta ashram, purify the interaction between butter and fire in marriage and prepare people for married relationships that come more to the spiritual platform, as well as to get devotee couples chanting together more, for obvious reasons like to prepare for Garbhadhana Samskara.. (in that area, I think more japa retreats will help, and I believe that is a totally uncontroversial option (??))
Ananda dd

» Posted By anandadasi On May 27, 2007 @ 9:49 pm

Dear Akruranath Prabhu,
Dandavats :), there is some really beautiful, successful preaching in the Yoga community happening just the way you propose here in NYC. It is inspiring and enthusing to hear the global devotee community thinking this all through in such a beautiful way.
your servant,
Ananda dd

» Posted By anandadasi On May 27, 2007 @ 2:06 am

Dear Maharaj,
Pls accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

As far as the physical closeness even among committed couples chanting together in a public setting, I understand the objection I have not seen any Vaisnava Shastra recommend this. However, I want to share another view, coming from a person who has grown up alongside the Kundalini Yoga community as taught by Yogi Bhajan (these pictures, I assume are from Atma Yoga promotional material, and this particular practice photographed is, as far as a I know, a synthesis of the meditations YB gave for Kundalini Yoga retreats for couples, just with traditional Vaisnava mantras and a little more contact acrobatics added.)

I can say with confidence that Yogi Bhajan gave these techniques for two reasons 1)to take people from where they were (in passion and ignorance and too attached to sex desire) – through the chanting of the holy names with a partner, keep them enthused to elevate their consciousness and the quality of their relationships to the spiritual platform, through chanting and the power of a committed couple bond and 2) (which was I believe, his primary goal) to train people how to attract high souls, to have spiritually advanced children. He focused on the grhasta ashram and especially the children. I know it is a different line, but just knowing so many of these wonderful children (cousins, cousin nephews etc.) I can say I am impressed with the results.

Also, sometimes, perhaps often, practitioners of various schools of Yoga Asana, Pranayama and Meditation come to a place in their lives where their heart cries out for more intimate knowledge of Krishna, and come to become strict followers of Srila Prabhupada also. So then there is the point that devotees who represent our Vaisnava line with integrity and purity, have to power to bring seekers closer to Krishna.

I have never taken Atma Yoga’s course but spent a lot of time speaking with the founder when it was just being born and so I am basing this analysis of the roots of the practice that is shockingly pictured on those conversations . Maybe other people can say if Atma Yoga is focusing in this sattvic way or not, (increasing spiritual intimacy among committed couples to reduce sex desire, spiritualize the relationship, prepare for Garbhadana Samskara etc., increase the committment level between couples etc) That I don’t know, but maybe someone else can say.

But I do know that whatever the form of practice, there is clearly a need for some kind of focus and assistance in these areas, in a way that is carefully conceived and in a way that is pleasing to Srila Prabhupada, the Vaisnavas and our lineage. Many grhasta devotees are still in need of clear, step by step, transformation and guidance in these area and that is why I am writing this letter. I am not trying to defend one approach or other, just to highlight the need that is there in our movement, that leads to some reasons why this becomes so attractive to some devotees. Hare Krishna.

In attempted service and with respect,
Ananda dd

» Posted By anandadasi On May 26, 2007 @ 2:15 pm

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