“The Threshold of Bliss”

As many of you already know, I will be travelling to India in about a week to spend the month of July studying yoga at the yoga institute headed by B.K.S. Iyengar and his children, Geeta and Prashant. Forgive me for being redundant but this is an absolute dream come true for me. It has also been described as “an essential rite of passage for an Iyengar Yoga teacher.” When I look back at the previous post, I am deeply moved by what has transpired, by the miracles that have taken place to turn this “dream” into a reality. What an amazing transformation has taken place. In six months, the seemingly impossible has become possible; what I “had no idea” how to make happen has become a happening all it’s own. Soon I will be launching a website that will house the numerous (now daily) reflections and musings (and, though I hate to admit it, palpitations) that I have been writing throughout this experience. For now, I want to turn my attention to a more immediate matter.

This Friday, I will be launching a program inspired by the sense of what a profound gift it is to have this privilege to travel to India and study yoga at R.I.M.Y.I. (see previous post for translation of the acronym). I am clear that I am about to be altered profoundly by this experience. Transformation of some kind is guaranteed. Having to turn outward, outside myself and my own best efforts and thinking to realize this opportunity has compelled me to consider what I might offer in return for the gift of its realization. In other words, I knew it would take something beyond what I could see as possible for this trip to happen. Specifically, I needed more money than I could see generating in the six months it has been since my application for study at the institute was accepted. Of course, my mind went over the how and the only way I could see how was to ask for financial contributions. I am so moved by the contributions that have come in, the encouragement that I have received, the additional students that have taken the time to attend my classes. A wise man once said, “There’s no such thing as something for nothing.” Going to India is SOMEthing, in my life.

So I have been asking myself, What can I give? And, after much thought and discussion and prayer, here’s what I’ve come up with: I can give the best thing I have. The best thing I have is this practice of yoga. The best thing I have (after my wife and son, but I am not willing to give them) is this opportunity–is my practice of Iyengar Yoga and the promise of transformation that it is to be confirmed for study at R.I.M.Y.I. for a solid month. Said another way, the best thing I have to give is myself as a conduit for the life-changing power of this experience to flow into the lives of others. At some point in this process, it became crystal clear: It is my job to connect as many people as possible to the Grace of the Guruji B.K.S. Iyengar and his teaching of yoga. That, as far as I can tell, is the something I can give. And I’m absolutely sure it is the something I very much want to give.

So, although I feel I have asked so much in some ways, I have one more request to make: please do me the service of allowing me to be this conduit, and to give this experience to you. I am willing to give everything I’ve got, and everything I “get” that I can translate into something in the “outer” world. My question, then, is “would you have it?”

If so, here’s the best way I can see to transmit this transformation to you–the best way I can see for you to participate in this pilgrimage in a way that changes your life for the better: It is a program called Light on Yoga: Detroit. The program is designed to connect you and your practice of yoga to the experience of travelling to India to study with B.K.S. Iyengar and his children, Geeta and Prashant, thus giving you a “real-time”, if not firsthand experience of the transformation that occurs there. The program will continue through the entire Summer Season, starting this Friday (20 June, the weekend of the Summer solstice) and concluding 21 September (right near the fall equinox, although it truly doesn’t conclude for many years, or even lifetimes). The program will be “book-ended” by a series of workshops. In between there will be regular writings and journal entries from me as a regular snapshot of the inner (and at times) outer terrain of the journey. There will also be conference calls which allow for a more immediate and more intimate connection to the process as it unfolds. (I am particularly excited about the call that I will host, from India, shortly after the holiday known as “Guru Purnima,” the full moon of the Guru and the day when the “guru principle” or “energies” are at their peak.) Finally, I am creating a website (nearly finished) to contain all the daily writings, as well as to house in-depth practice support material, and various inspiring, online material to inspire your own strong forays into the field of yoga.

Clear as mud, hey? Let me put it into bullet points (if for no other reason than that I love using them) So, here’s Light on Yoga: Detroit, in a nutshell:

  • Donation-based workshops this weekend, 20 and 21 June (more on that below)
  • Access to a website containing my daily writings and reflections from the pilgrimage, as well as additional material to support and inspire your practice
  • Access to conference calls (one from India) to connect you more intimately to the process and ensure you are participating in the best possible way
  • Chance to participate in a summer-long yoga program that connects you to India and RIMYI from wherever you are
  • First option to register in the “concluding” workshop series 19 – 21 September

If you are wondering how to participate, it is simple: There is a suggested donation of $25 to participate in all of the online activities. (If you have already made a donation, you will automatically be invited to the conference calls and be given access to the website.) You could also participate in one, or all, of the workshops this weekend and automatically be given access to the calls and website as well. The suggested donation for the workshops is $50. But here’s what I wanted to say about this:

I feel I have received such generosity, such Grace, in realizing this dream of traveling to India, that I deeply desire to give back. Therefore I have decided that, though donations will still be happily received, I am not going to close the program to anyone who sincerely desires to participate in it solely because of a financial limitation. Just as I have received support in overcoming my own financial limitations and thus being able to travel to RIMYI, I would like to extend that support to others who wish to experience and practice yoga in this way.So, for the workshops this weekend, as well as the online program, I am opening both to all students with a sincere desire to practice yoga with an unprecedented level of devotion and depth, and a sincere commitment to participating in the program fully. There is space for you and your payment takes the form of “paying” attention and investing the time to practice, study, and learn. So, however you’d like to participate, whatever the level of your financial ability to contribute, you can begin here by following this link: Light on Yoga: Detroit Summer Program Registration. If you’d like more information about the program (be sure to note that this weekend’s workshops will be held at the Royal Oak Senior Community Center, not at our studio), click here: Light on Yoga: Detroit Program Description

I hope you will seize this opportunity to journey deeply into this rich experience with me this summer. I look forward to sharing this journey with you. I’ll conclude with a very apt quote from B.K.S. Iyengar: “You, my readers, must understand that you are already starting from somewhere. You have the beginning already shown to you, and no one knows in what wholeness and felicity you may end. If you take up any noble line and stick to it, you can reach the ultimate. Be inspired but not proud. Do not aim low; you will miss the mark. Aim high; you will be on the threshold of bliss.” (Light on Life, pg. X; Rodale Press)