Namaste Dear Friends,
It is with a very heavy heart that this week’s newsletter carries the sad news of Rob Harris’ death this past weekend. In addition to being a regular at our “Yoga for Men” classes and a terrific man and friend, Rob worked in the same building as Nava Yoga, founding Canada Moto Guide (CMG), the most popular online motorcycle magazine in Canada. Rob was a warm, witty and adventurous man who brought a beautiful spirit to the Fawcett Professional Centre. He will be missed greatly by all of us who knew him at Nava. Rob is survived by his partner Courtney and daughters Cate and Chloe.
In light of Rob’s passing, I (Greg) thought it timely to address death in the context of yogic scriptures and return to the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali next week. Of course, such a topic is vast, and I am admittedly wholly ignorant of such matters. Nevertheless, I believe any such dialogue helpful to place life and death in context.
In the Bhagavad Gita Krishna instructs Arjuna that (2.20) “For the soul there is neither birth nor death at any time. S/he has not come into being, does not come into being, and will not come into being. S/he is unborn, eternal, ever-existing and primeval. S/he is not slain when the body is slain.” and (2.22) “As a person puts on new garments, giving up old ones, the soul similarly accepts new material bodies, giving up the old ones.”
Verse 20 suggests that the soul (or atman, as it is often called) is eternal and survives beyond physical death. Verse 22 suggests the concept of reincarnation, in which a soul (or atman) transmigrates from body to body through the evolutionary process towards self-realization. Reincarnation is held as truth throughout the ancient yogic scriptures, encompassing the law of cause-and-effect. It is a extensive topic that will not be explored further here.
The Katha Upanishad is an involved and beautiful dialogue between Nachiketa (student) and Yama (Lord of Death, teacher). Nachiketa seeks to know the truth about what occurs after death: “ there arises this doubt: ‘He still exists’, say some; ‘he does not’, say others. I want you to teach me the truth.” There are many parallels between Yama’s teachings and Krishna’s from the Bhagavad Gita. Yama instructs (2.18–2.20):
The all-knowing Self was never born,
Nor will it die. Beyond cause and effect,
This Self is eternal and immutable.
When the body dies, the Self does not die.
If the slayer believes that s/he can kill
Or the slain believes that s/he can be killed
Neither knows the truth. The eternal Self
Slays not, nor is ever slain.
Hidden in the heart of every creature
Exists the Self, subtler than the subtlest
Greater than the greatest. They go beyond
All sorrow who extinguish their self-will
And behold the glory of the Self
Through the grace of the Lord of Love.
May Rob rest in peace with the Lord of Love, and may his family and friends find comfort with their sorrow.
This week’s classes include:
Hatha Yoga w/ Greg @ 1:30–2:45PM
Yoga for Men w/ Greg @ 5:30–6:30PM
Yin Yoga w/ Julie 6:45–8:00PM
Gentle Yoga w/ Julie @ 4:30–5:30PM
Vinyasa Flow w/ Julie @ 6:00–7:00PM
PWYC Express Flow w/ Greg @ 12–12:45PM
Hatha Yoga w/ Greg @ 5:30–6:45PM
Meditation (Pre-registration required) w/ Sarah @ 7:00–8:00PM
Slow&Steady w/ Julie @ 8:30–9:45PM
Intro to Yin w/ Julie @ 4:30–5:30PM
Vinyasa Flow w/ Julie 5:45–7:00PM
Stretch&Unwind w/ Dawne @ 12:00–1:00PM
Morning Flow w/ Julie @ 11:15–12:30PM
POSE OF THE WEEK
Savasana (corpse pose)
••• a supine posture in which the body and mind rest. The legs and arms are extended out from the torso, feet roll outward, palms upward – whatever is comfortable, really.
The are several different variations of savasana, including placing a bolster under the knees to support the lower back, eye pillows, blankets, some instructors use manual assists (e.g., massage of head using essential oils), guided relaxation, music on or off, etc. Whatever the scenario, savasana has three primary benefits: 1. Physical, relieves strain through the body; 2. Mental, connect mind with the body; 3. Psychic/Spiritual, dissociation from the body-mind system.
It is natural for the mind to wander and common for people to fall asleep. And this is perfectly OK!
Hari Om Tat Sat