Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Yoga in Tompkins Square

This tuesday marked another day of Jivamukti in the Park. This months focus at Jivamukti is Living Wild...hard to find many wild places as we think of them...trees, animals (not just squirrels and pigeons) and some varied plant life. Sharon Gannon's essay starts of with the following passage.." Tompkins Square Park is near where I live on 7th Street in the Lower East Side of NYC. In the middle of the park there is the famous tree where, in the 1960's after arriving in the United States, Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada first chanted the Hare Krishna mantra. Lots of pigeons and other smaller birds often can be seen gathering together around the base of that tree, sometimes several hundred. One day as I was walking toward the tree, I saw many birds walking and quietly pecking at the ground. A group of three or four children came rushing by me towards the birds, screaming and laughing. They ran at full tilt, right into the peaceful demonstration. Of course, the birds, alarmed and frightened, flew off immediately, circled around overhead and landed again this time in another place not far off. The kids took off towards them with the same intent to disrupt and cause havoc. I turned to see who I assumed were the parents, who giggled and said, "They've been cooped up all day at school how can you blame them for wanting to go wild?"
Is wildness synonymous with the freedom to do what ever you want, to whomever you want, whenever you want? Contrary to popular belief, to be wild is not to be selfish, chaotic and unorganized. If one observes wild beings in a wild environment you will see that orderly co-existence among all is the norm."
So of we planted our mats across from the famous tree Swamiji concecrated and began our practice. You can see the tree in the center background of the bottom picture. One thing was apparent; Wildlife
was not just in the tress and winged creatures around us. In some of the pictures you can see we were surrounded by other people that were not practicing yoga. Some were getting drunk while others were blasting rock music. It was a beautiful chance to put the teaching into practice and try to see all thing as equally deserving of love (in whatever limited expression we could muster). Some people from the park came and joined while others watched.
Yoga in the park been such a hit we are stepping it up next week. Not only will we have yoga in the park but I am trying to get the Herban Caveman Ken King to take us through a plant walk. To share with us some of his vast knowledge on what are the plants we alk by every day. You may be surprised at how much eatable food there is in the parks of NYC. I course I suggest you wash it first...