Monday, May 17, 2010


On Saturday, I met Little E at Dharma's Maha Sadhana. It's a three-hour class that includes lecture, asana, pranayama, meditation and very powerful mantras (during which people sit in a circle chanting and clapping, while others offer up poses on mats in the middle of the circle. When people think we are in a cult, this is probably what they're imagining).

Dharma's main topic last week was that the greatest impurity (or cause of suffering) is identification with the mind and body (aka; the first of the five Kleshas; ignorance of the true self). He went on to speak of the other kleshas as well. It's helpful to sit back and watch one's own struggles, and then try to categorize them according to which klesha is at work. It gives you a chance to stand back and become a witness to the workings of the mind.

The five Kleshas are:
-Ignorance of the True Self / identification with the body and mind
-Clinging to Life / Fear of Death

While we were offering the poses, I saw some senior members of the Sangha (community) enter the space. Next thing I knew, they were presenting Dharma with a home-made vegan cake and singing "Happy Birthday." He turned 71 on Saturday.

Hugh presented him with football (soccer) jersey for Brazil.

And then it was time for pictures.

* * *

Afterwords, Little E and I ate at the vegan Asian place, which somehow now serves meat, and drove out to Long Island, where we started eating again.

On Mother's Day we went to brunch with her family, and then headed to the beach to "visit" my mother and grandmother and feed the birds.

It was so cold and windy, the beach was empty and the birds were nowhere to be found.

"When one comes, they'll all come," said Little E.

But they didn't come.

One would fly by and I'd make seagull sounds and make a big show of waving the bag of multi-grain bread at it.


Still we kept walking, and pulled out some pieces of bread - just in case.

Sure enough, one finally came.

The others followed.

Soon, it was a feeding frenzy....

made all the more fun by the high winds.

They would try to catch the bread mid-air, and get beaten back by the wind.

Finally, we started throwing it down-wind - which made it easier for everyone.

They came so close you could see that each one had distinct coloring and personality. We were especially fond of a little one with a messed-up leg.

It was awesome.

* * *

On Monday and Tuesday I attended the two-hour noon master class, plus an easier Monday night class with Dharma. It was wonderful... even though the holds were endless and the body was stiff as could be (possibly from the huge amount of Indian food Little E and I consumed on Sunday night. We ended up on the couch, watching Coco Before Chanel (highly recommended), drinking lemon-ginger tea, and passing the hot water bottle back and forth between us. Oy.).


  1. 1. Awesome cloud picture! Nice depth.
    2. There must be a yoga pose called the "seagull" which would draw them. Glad you attracted them anyway.
    3. Does anyone ever offer up savasana in the middle of the circle?

  2. 1. Thank you.
    2. I don't know about Seagull, but I did hear that Dharma recently had students do a new posture he called "Dying Goose."
    3. Yes they do!

  3. ha! my first and only time at Dharma's shala, I happened to be in one of those special classes. After the class, they did that whole thing, the circle and offering postures while singing mantras... I though that was so weird... but I could also see the devotion in everyone, it was not a show off thing...