The 2nd annual Ashtanga Yoga Confluence is only two days away and I am starting to get pysched up for it. Last year was such a blast and unfolded in such a seamless and organic way, that it will be hard to top—but I think it can be done. The opportunity for me to be together with so many old friends, colleagues, and students to celebrate the life’s work of K. Pattabhi Jois, our beloved Guruji, and to acknowledge the profound impact that this man and his teachings have had upon my life is a rare and wonderful blessing. It’s like a big party—the chance to hang out and work with some old and very dear friends, reconnect with many wonderful students that I have met and worked with over the years, and to meet some new folks and make some new friends. Already the participants in the Confluence are arriving. Today I met Buddhi from Singapore and Kevin from Vietnam. The 9am Mysore class this morning was bursting at the seams with the new arrivals and I expect it will continue that way for the next couple of days. All of the teachers are arriving in the next couple of days and I am excited to see everyone. This year I have not been asked to pick up any one at the airport so I haven’t had to keep track of anyone’s arrival. Luckily for me and probably for the participants, I am not one of the organizers of this event. My wife, Carol, is, and I marvel at the amount of work she has taken on and the many tasks she is faced with every day—the endless emails and phone calls, copy editing, shopping, etc. I’m hoping she makes it through the weekend without ending up in a sanitarium.
The fun begins on Thursday at 4:30 with a Ganesha Puja orchestrated by the one and only Eddie Stern. Eddie is like an American Brahmin, able to flawlessly chant all of the traditional mantras and perform the sacred rituals in a very authentic way. Ganesha is the Lord of Threshholds and the Remover of Obstacles. In India He is honored at the beginning of any auspicious occasion to insure that it is both successful and beneficial. Friday morning at 7 is the first Mysore class, probably around 150 students and 9 or 10 teachers. It’s a wild scene and hard work for the teachers, but also lots of fun. The second batch comes in at 8:30, probably about the same size, and goes until 10. That’s three hours straight teaching Mysore and managing 300 bodies. I don’t know about the other teachers, but normally my Mysore classes are only two hours. There’s a possibility I may need to sneak out at some point for a cappuccino. The first panel discussion of the day happens after breakfast. Our new moderator this year is my old buddy Dominic Corigliano, who will keep things lively and interesting. Last year the panels were often hilarious as well. Guruji had a wonderful sense of humor and seems to have transmitted it to some of his students. After lunch I’m teaching “The Mysterious and Elusive Bandhas” in my never- ending quest to articulate the ineffable. The reward for enduring this is an opportunity to sing the Hanuman Chalisa (with the bandhas firmly engaged of course) at 6.
Saturday is much the same schedule throughout the day, followed by an evening of Indian devotional music, featuring the extremely talented and sublime Naren Schreiner on harmonium and vocals and the amazing Janzel on tablas. These guys are superb musicians not to be missed. Naren will talk a bit about the Yoga of Music and play some traditional Indian ragas and bhajans as well as lead some kirtan. The party ends on Sunday with not one, but two panel discussions. The thinking is that by this point every one will be sick of practicing asanas and just want to hang out and bask in each other’s presence for a while before scattering to the four directions. Hope you can make it cause it’ll be great.