I can hardly wait for Sunday, May 19, when I will be hosting a 21st birthday party for Master Yoga in my Boise, ID studio. The party is scheduled to follow the early afternoon Continuing class and to precede the late afternoon Beginning class. I will probably bake a sheet cake – and perhaps layer on coconut frosting.  The cake will hold a field of 21 candles. And it will blaze joyfully!birthday2

Why will I celebrate Master Yoga’s birthday? I love Master Yoga! What a thrill to celebrate the birthday of a loved one!!

Without Master Yoga, I would find a way to continue to practice Svaroopa® yoga myself. But without Master Yoga, I can’t see how I would be able to continue to learn more and do more yoga. Master Yoga is the source of Teacher Trainers, teachings and programs that enable me to deepen my own practice and continue the inner openings to Grace and Self that have transformed my way of being in the world. But more than that even, without Master Yoga how could I learn enough to serve those students who come to ease or eliminate their pain? What practices would I be able to teach them that help them discover their own Divinity within?

Without Master Yoga, I would not have had the teaching experience that I had today. A week ago I got a phone call from a pleasant-sounding woman who had liked what she had read about Svaroopa® yoga on my website. She said she liked that Svaroopa® yoga was described as non-competitive and a way to release spinal tension. She described her pain, diagnosed as fibromyalgia with three of the four symptoms of lupus. She described ongoing anxiety from a car accident a year ago. She had never before done any kind of yoga, she said, but had been advised by her doctor to try it for her physical pain and anxiety.

So I suggested she make an appointment to learn Ujjayi Pranayama to lay the foundation for a healing personal practice. After her first twenty minutes of Ujjayi Pranayama, I asked her how she felt. She said, “I feel that my muscles, which are always rigid, are now relaxed and soft. I feel as though my bones are supporting me.” It amazed me that she voiced one of our sutras “muscles are for movement, bones are for support.” She had found svaroopa within herself in her first introduction to Svaroopa® yoga. When I light the 21 candles on May 19, I will think of her.

As a co-editor of Tadaa! and SATYA! it is my constant joy to talk with Svaroopis across the US and in Canada and Australia. Usually, I am interviewing them to write an article for one of those publications. But the experience of these conversations is greater and deeper. It always feels like a family reunion. I am talking with sisters and brothers; we are all speaking the same language. How great to understand and to be understood! When I light the 21 candles on May 19, I will think of all of us who are together Master Yoga.

And it will be so much fun to celebrate with students who come to class every week, who have benefited so much from Svaroopa® yoga over years or even just a month or two: through Svaroopa® yoga they have healed sciatica, thyroid dysfunction, osteoporosis, and frozen shoulder syndrome; they have weathered rough times in jobs and family life. Some have done more yoga, diving deeper in MYX programs and even Foundations. When we together light the 21 candles on May 19, we will sing for each other, for our Teacher Trainers who have travelled to Boise Idaho, for sister and brother Svaroopis everywhere – and for Swami Nirmalananda who has brought us the teachings and all of this joy and wonder into being.

Marlene serves Master Yoga as a Board Member – VP of Communications, as well as  chairing the Birthday Committee.  Based in Boise ID, she is co-editor of SATYA! (our teacher’s association quarterly e-letter) and of Tadaa! (our monthly e-zine, shared with Svaroopa® Vidya Ashram.