Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Satsang speaks

I am so happy to be back and able to practice in a class. Traveling and practicing by yourself is great but I have missed the feeling of being in class surrounded by other students. The satsang in this city as a whole is as eclectic as it is powerful. Within two weeks I was able to be part of so many amazing events in the city. Two stand out and seem very different but had very similar affects on me. First was a film screening of a documentary on Horse Carriages in New York City. If you are not familiar they are the old school buggy made of heavy wood, a driver with a whip and however many passengers being dragged by a horse that has probably spent their life running in circles and being the money generator for their human counterparts. I never liked these Horse carriages but they have been in New York as long as I have been alive and sometimes it becomes hard to see things that have been in front of you for so long. I acknowledge the presence and my distaste for it but never spoke out as I did with other animal rights issues I thought were important. Its very easy to get wrapped up in some "larger" idea and forget that the larger idea can be sparked to life by what seem to be smaller challenges. I did not really see the horse carriages until I watched this documentary. I was invited by a friend Jannette Patterson to join her, John Phillips and many other spectacular beings. In fact we did a go around and introduced ourselves, the room was small and the number of people seemed few however they had all been doing such amazing things that the toom seemed huge. There was of course John who is the Director of the League of Humane Voters, Jannette who is the Regional Director for PETA, Michael a communications director for a city council woman, a prospective council woman an ex president of Humane Society based in Puerto Rico among others. Danny Moss the Director gave a great intro to the film and it began. ( http://www.blindersthemovie.com/ official website ) It was very insightful and penetrating bordering on graphic. I felt inspired by the film which is Danny's first, to become not only more active about this particular cruelty to horses but remembering to speak for those that have no voice and I was reminded of how easy that can be. We all have a group of people around us that we can reach out to and we must do it in different ways. Some of us may choose to see the film and tell others about. Some may see it and want to join some kind of peaceful action like picketing and others donate money to those who do it all. I was inspired to reinvest my energies into the world in another stream, that of words. The immense suffering of these animals is not just out dated but obscene and there is no one listening to them just as there is no one listening to animals around the world that scream to live a free and happy life. We can stay active by letting others know it is not alright. You can vote for politicians that defend the animals, you can write to those who speak up for animal rights as well as those that do not. Joining you local PETA friendly bunch handing out flyers about the treatment of the horses, or you can donate to organizations that make these things happen.

Please check out the documentary http://www.blindersthemovie.com/

The League of Human Voters has been involved with issues concerning the horses but also provide information on council members and their stances on various issues concerning animal welfare. Please check them out at http://www.humanenyc.org/

Of course PETA. has a section on it http://blog.peta.org/archives/carriage_horses/

Please read write listen speak we cannot do everything but we can at least say something.

Let me know how you feel about horse carriages and why they have not been taken out of NYC. Or if there are any leafletings please let us know.


The second event was a dance performance. My dear friend Ha-chi Yu who has not been dancing for a while was in a new performance and I arrived into the city during its last weekend. Perfect timing. I do not know much about dance and I have not seem many pieces but this was wondrous. She had a solo performance that was breathtaking. It was an adaptation of Odette from Swan Lake battling with herself. In this case a dancer and non dancer attempting to resolve their dilemma. The amount of awareness these dancers had and the choreography was very inspiring. I had been practicing since I returned to New York as usual but the dedication the tapas they had manifested in the performance kindled a desire to go deeper into being a student. Great art can enliven or desire to be more proficient in the things we love, whether it be our job our beloved our children it can stir us to do keep working. This piece had that effect and I am so grateful to have been one of the many in the crowd.

The group, Ballet Tech, was started by Eliot Feld as a tuition free ballet school for New York City Public School children.

You can check out her group at http://www.ballettech.org/

Peace
Jules

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Back to NY




I am heading back to NYC and very excited. I am happy for a number of reasons, first of course is that I will be back home, with my family and friends. Another reason is that I have created a whole new home with its own set of family and friends in Japan and Korea. This trip has taught me a lot about myself, my reasons for teaching and the power of Yoga as a force for positive change in the world. I am incredibly grateful for Sharonji and Davidji who have laid down a foundation that allows for us to travel and teach. By us I mean all teachers not just Jivamukti Yoga teachers. They have been doing this for so long and in such a way that they have not only created a desire for Jivamukti Yoga but sparked a desire to use Yoga as a tool for enlightenment for all beings. Do I hope that the world becomes enlightened yes...Do I think that it will happen..no. The practices of yoga ways in which we can heighten our awareness and thus make better choices. Some people lecture, others sing or play an instrument...I teach yoga. I cannot teach without the past and current efforts of not only my teachers but of all those who come to class. I want to thank everyone that has come to class over the past month. I appreciate your presence more then I can say. You have all taught me so much and it is because of you that I continue to have the inspiration needed to teach. Please use this blog to share with others your experience, your ideas, hopes and aspirations. We must continue to communicate with others. As we communicate we learn and evolve. As we evolve we see and feel the interconnectedness of all beings and thus the happiness and suffering of all beings. We yogies must work towards a better world and that begins with ourselves. Making choices that reflect your beliefs so that we can all become an example just with our being.

For more about yoga in Korea please check out www.jaicenter.co.kr and www.all4all.co.kr
For Yoga in Japan please check out www.lotus8.co.jp and www.flowarts.jp


Peace and Light
Jules

Thursday, April 10, 2008

C-weed


Lots of it here...I am ready for a veggie burger and some fries from curly's like you wouldn't believe please check them out http://www.curlyslunch.com/. Seoul is great and I got to walk around a lot yesterday with my Korean big sister. Its amazing how differnt the skyline is from NY. You can see small hills sitting in front of large building and it is an interesting contrast. Checked out some Korean graffiti which is pretty tight. You can check out the video below. Today is the last day of Open and Basic classes. Jai Yoga Studio and I are donating all the money made from todays class to an animal shelter outside of Seoul. The students are excited about it and the class should be great. Leave Korea on Monday to Japan for a day and get back to NY on Tuesday the 15th of April which is about a month earlier the originally planned. I will be teaching my regular classes at the downtown center starting on Thursday the 16th. Perhaps I will see you then.

Peace and Light
Jules
video

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Halfway

I am officially half way through my stay here in South Korea. It has not been the easiest of trips up to this point. It has been only one of a very few number of trips that I organized with no manager or promoter of any kind other then myself and my friends. I have an amazing amount of respect and admiration to those people who do this in a larger scale then I do on a more regular basis. The traveling teachers of the world must work hard to continue the propulsion of not just the teachings but of the physical and non physical bodies, their own and the "students." Today was by far one of the highlights of my trip here in Korea. I taught a workshop entitled Jivamukti Yoga: Living Liberated. The class was just about sold out and the students were ready willing and able. It is a treat when you greet such a class that is open to the concept of Liberation, willing to explore the idea through contemplation of the effects of their actions, and open enough to explore their bodies and minds in search for who they truly are and have always been. Many people are excited at the prospect of what they came become good at, what they can add to their repertoire instead we focused today on trying to find out what we already are and what a liberating concept that truly is. I was able to have dinner with some of the students afterwards and talk about their experiences which in turn taught me even more then I could have even hoped to have conveyed to them. Later in the evening I watched the movie Zeitgeist. If you have not seen it I implore, beg, pray that you will watch it. www.zeitgeistmovie.com. It starts a bit slow but if you can give it at least 20 minutes of your undivided attention I assure you that you will be at least intrigued. We are ingenious at creating ways to divide, separate and section ourselves off from other beings human and non. We are perhaps more disconnected from nature and each other now then at any other point in our lives. This inability to recognize our interdependence on a large scale leaves us open to manipulation from our insecurities, our unhealthy habits and warped sense of self determination. I give thanks to all those who work towards bringing joy through unity. It is our ability to bring joy into the lives of others that brings us the longest lasting happiness as it creates happiness around us, we are supported when we lift up others and we are more safe when we provide for others. This does not meant that we hold hands, sit in a circle and chant and hug and give each other massages. In fact the opposite it means we must get over our small self's and start connecting with all things manifest, not just our computers, or our yoga buddies or our long time friends although it is a good place to start. We must be a voice that is heard, a voice in unison a voice speaking for liberation from our self imposed societal bonds, the unnecessary suffering of countless beings in all forms around the world. Its easier said then done. Their is no one size fits all solution but we can all agree on one thing and that is we can all do a little better and a little more and if we did it would make a huge difference.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. Your questions comments and concerns is why I have created this digital space so please feel free to post anything from events people can attend, to links to other forums. A few place to check for ways to begin the journey are listed below.

www.zeitgeistmovie.com
www.viropop.com
www.peta.org
www.seashepherd.org

Thursday, April 3, 2008

I've got Seoul

Seoul, South Korea a little past 6:15 on Thursday the 3rd of April. I've been here for about four days. So far its been great. Class sizes have not been as large as Japan but this is only my 2nd time here. I am staying pretty much in the very center of Seoul which is cool as I can walk around for hours and see the city. Its my favorite way to explore. I just walk as far as I can in one direction then walk back to my point of origin then off in another direction. I am staying with my boy Tomo. I wish I could post more pics of him and the center I am teaching at but my camera is not working. Awesome. Tomo is trained in macrobiotic cooking and he is the man in the kitchen. Which is good because its not so easy to eat vegan without speaking the language. The food is the bomb if you can find and Tomo know all the spots. I am teaching at a place called Jai Yoga you can check it out at www.jaicenter.co.kr it a dope spot and the woman that owns it, Jaya, is super sweet and really is supporting the Jivamukti method. This weekend there are two workshops one is an Introduction to Jivamukti going into the 5 tenets and the other is called Living Liberated explaining how to use the tools of the method in every day life to draw us closer to the goal of yoga. Hopefully by then I will have a camera and can share some pics with ya.

Peace
Jules

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Japan is done...for now


What it is world. I am in Seoul now. Just got here yesterday, Monday from Tokyo. Japan was amazing. It has been a bit warmer there then usual, and the Sakura, cherry blossoms are in bloom. Its one of the most beautiful things I have seen. The enthusiasm out here for Jivamukti is amazing. The trip started in Tokyo where Kumiko and I taught with this guy Ma-Rock. He is super sweet and tries very hard...the workshop was great...space not so amazing. It was a bit funny actually he rented a small theater usually used for one person acts like comdey or monologues. That meant a bunch of chairs piled in the back of the room and a low floor with raised platform in the rear and a bit dusty. After that we took of to Nagoya and Gifu which was the shit. First two classes in Gifu one of them had over 130 people. Here is a link to one of the vids

http://youtube.com/watch?v=IPL6svvykc8&feature=related

They guy is playing something called a Santoor and I think he is the only one in Japan that plays one. After class there was a performance of classical south indian dance. It was a full on event. The next day we went back to Nagoya and taught a Hip Hop Asana class. I had a Hip Hop dance teacher come in instead of Surya Namaskar. It was pretty funny to see some of the people dancing. After that we headed back to Tokyo. Each day there were classes one basic and one open. On the last day we had a satsang and everyone that came was asked to bring food vegan of course. Some people had store bought food but most people cooked. It was great. I could not have done the class without the help of the amazing Kumiko Buckman and Padmini.
More to come...

Peace and Light
Jules video