Yoga Sutra 1.33 maitri karuna mudito upeksanam sukha duhkha punya apunya visayanam bhavanatas citta prasadanam

blessings tree

Citta prasadanam is translated by B.K.S. Iyengar as a “graceful diffusion of consciousness”. It is cultivated through the perfection of the virtues of maitr(friendliness), karuna (compassion), mudita (goodwill), and upeksa (equanimity). First, we must direct those virtues to ourselves and then we can spread our goodwill out into the community.

Join us for a weekend of community events that will help you to reach a state of citta prasadanam flowing out into a field of blessings for yourself, your community and the world.

To aid us in manifesting these blessings into the world, we have created a BLESSING TREE in Studio 1. Whether you attend the events or not, please add your blessing to the tree! Together we can manifest change in the world!

 

 

*Victoria Austin is donating a portion of her proceeds from the workshop in support of the Institute’s Capital Campaign. Please consider making your own donation (separate from the workshop price) in support of the Institute’s work to inspire life transformation through yoga.

Yes! I want to support the Institute by DONATING to the Capital Campaign

 

 

As a child I was first taught Asanas by my grandmother. At the age of three she would sit me next to her in Padmasana, ask me to close my eyes and just be still. I did, but I knew it was safe to open them after 30 seconds, exactly the time it took my grandmother to settle deep in to her practice. I would look around and then be intrigued by my ‘Nani.’ I could stare at her all I wanted, her eyes closed, her bosom enlarging and retracting with each breath, the patterns on her Sari and her stillness for what seemed like an eternity to a three year old. Even though as a three year old I never really meditated but being under her care and guidance I felt immensely safe, secure, directed, and comforted.

Recently, through the Iyengar Yoga institute of San Francisco, I was fortunate enough to be invited to an event which was to honor Sunita Iyengar, the daughter of BK Iyengar, a living legend based in India who has devoted his life to the study of Yoga. As I could not go to her sold out workshop earlier that weekend and did not know of the Iyengar family well, I did not know what to expect meeting Sunita Ji. When I arrived at the venue, I happened to have come just after her and was walking behind her, as she was led to the main function room by the organizers. Her keen eye spotted a garland of small posters of Guruji where due to the wind, couple of them had flipped and turned upside down. She immediately pointed this out and spoke up. That was my first glimpse into Sunita ji and I was impressed.

Inside the function room I mingled with everyone while keeping an eye on Sunita Ji and judging when and how I could approach her. Her presence alone reminded me of my ‘nani,’ and many of my teachers from India. They were strict, precise, determined and direct whether it was for classical dance, science, math or Sanskrit. Since I had not gone to her workshop earlier that day, I felt an increasing apprehension about approaching her. About an hour into the function I found an empty seat next to her and her husband. I went and sat down next to them a bit uncomfortable, as I know very well that for someone of their status one never sits next to them but always at their feet as a sign of respect. She turned and looked at me, smiled and asked me my name. She asked in English but I found myself replying to her in Hindi. Her response back was in Hindi to me ‘’ahh, Richa of the Rig Vedas.” I was shocked, as no other Yoga teacher in the west that I’ve come across has had the depth of Sanskrit to decipher my name. It took a few seconds but then I realized whom I was sitting next to. This is after all the daughter of the great BK Iyengar. I had their full attention and I did not want to lose this opportunity. Contrary to what she perhaps expected, I actually did not ask her anything about the asana practice, hints, tips or tricks for Kapotasana. Instead I found my self easing into a conversation about many subjects including Guruji, what it was like to grow up with him, what she has been taught by Guruji about Ayurveda, Bikram Chaudhry’s recent visit to Guruji in Pune, how she met her husband, why we don’t see Indians in Yoga studios and Yogis in Hindu temples despite both parties worshiping the same Gods, how she feels of her position as an authority on yoga, their favorite country outside India to visit, and much much more. She was so receptive and I was grateful just for being able to have such a conversation with someone like her. I noticed a small crowd gather and moved away allowing others to talk to them.

Half an hour later while talking to another guest, I glanced over and saw that Sunita Ji and her husband Sri Parthasarthy were signaling me over. I went over and almost in unison they both said, “Richa, we’ve noticed you are not eating.” I looked over at both of them and just felt this huge sense of caring, firm and protectiveness, as if my own Guru or parents were talking to me. Just like all my past teachers, my parents and my Nani, I wasn’t going to argue with their love commingled with authority. I went and grabbed a plate, put a samosa on it, and came back and sat not on the chair but at her feet. As I listened to her talk, observing the red puttu on her forehead, I watched her chest enlarging and retracting with each breath, the patterns of her Sari and the stillness that I found in my self when they both uttered the words, “Richa, we’d love to see you at RIMYI in Pune. If you have any problems please let the administrator know that we’ve met you and have extended this invitation to you.”

 

About Richa Agrawal

RICHA AGRAWAL is an IYISF/IYANC community member who has done ad-hoc work with the Board of Directors in various capacities over the last year.