by Kusuma (Karobi) Sachs, Master Yoga Teacher Trainer
Master Yoga is my home and my chosen family. I have been involved with Svaroopa® yoga since 1999. It feels like a long time. A few weeks ago I got more perspective on this when Nirmalananda asked me to view the videos she had from Master Yoga’s 5th Birthday Celebration to pick out some clips for the 21st Birthday webpage.
There they were — Svaroopis doing an amazingly choreographed yoga dance in a big tent in a park in La Jolla. Wow! Then after that there was a Sun Salutations marathon with “stars” I could recognize!
Click on each link to see our 1997 5th Birthday videos: #1-Yoga Dance, #2-More Yoga Dance, #3-Classical Indian Dance Performance & Crowd Scene, #4-Sun Salutation Marathon.
It seems light years away from how I experience and practice Svaroopa® yoga. I treasure this yoga as body-friendly yoga for everyone. Who knows whether I would have been drawn to Svaroopa® yoga if I had stumbled across the birthday celebration those many years ago.
I found this yoga just at the right time for me, at a place in my life where I was ready to go deeper in so many ways, on the outside and the inside. That is what I found in my very first yoga weekend with Nirmalananda.
And now it has been 13 years, and I am still in awe of the gift I have received from Svaroopa® yoga. Even more than that, I am honored to be able to share it with so many yogis around the world.
I appreciate the dedication and work of the one who birthed and has nurtured Master Yoga through its journey from 21 years ago: Swami Nirmalananda. I also am grateful to all who have been a part of the ongoing support of Master Yoga from the beginning and who have helped to bring us to this festive week of 21st Birthday Celebrations.
Yes, Master Yoga has come so far and myself along with it. I am filled by the support that is flowing in from all the celebrants this week as I read the blogs and see the pictures flowing in. As a Teacher Trainer I feel that it goes both ways: During this birthday time I feel the grace flowing back to honor and support the source.
Reflections on Choreography
by Swami Nirmalananda
Oh! The limitations of video, time and space! Our amateur videographer in 1992 did not shoot the 6 free classes we taught under the canopy that day, with all the blankets and all the spinal release poses. The dances and Sun Salutations were much more interesting camera fodder.
Now, 16 years later, you all think that Svaroopa® yoga has changed. Wrong! It’s just that few teachers go through the advanced trainings that are needed in order to be able to teach “impressive poses” without creating spinal tension. In fact, all those impressive poses CAN be spinal release poses. That was the point of the choreography – advanced students and teachers, many of whom had been studying with me for 8 years (even before Master Yoga had a name!), were demonstrating impressive spinal release poses. Well, most of them were getting spinal releases – some were still tightening their spine, unfortunately.
While Sun Salutations can be done without creating spinal tension, it’s much harder because the sequence is limited to forward and backbends, which is why I created a different standing vinyasa that includes all six directions of movement. If your teacher has completed Level 4 of our Teacher Training, she or he teaches this vinyasa – much better for you!
And still, it’s not about the poses. But you knew that…
With Love and with Birthday Blessings, Swamiji