Tales from the Mat: The Yoga Chronicles

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By David J. Ramoy The Pineapple Contributing Writer This is a very special Tales From the Mat, featuring a Yoga Instructor who I personally love and respect. This man has trained countless number of students, including myself, donates his time to those in need, and is the true definition of Karma Yoga. He is also the man who brought out the best in me, both as a teacher and as a person. My gratitude for him runs very deep, and the lessons I’ve learned in my teacher training, both on and off the mat, have given me the building blocks to live a happy life. Although the best lesson I was taught is , “its up to me to do the work”, I give credit where credit is due. It is a special honor to feature this month’s article on Bharata Yip of Yoga Peace and his upcoming “By Donation” event “Kirtan” at Hot Yoga in Delray Beach.

Kirtan
Bharata Yip
Hi Bharata, tell us about yourself I’ve been blessed with spending most of my adult life in yoga discipline. It wasn’t a conscious choice. I didn’t wake up one morning, forty years ago, and declare, “From now on, I’m going to be a yogi.” In retrospect, it is obvious that my karma took me on this sometimes wild, sometimes peaceful, always challenging ride. It was a ride that often took me to the edge ……. and held me there. As I said, I probably wouldn’t have consciously chosen this, but as it unfolded, I continually realized how blessed I was. What does Yoga mean to you? I would like to rephrase this question. “What does yoga mean?” Each of us takes different routes to get to the top of the mountain. Each of us might have radically different experiences on that journey, but when you reach the top, there is only one top. There are many new age definitions of yoga. For various reasons they often skirt around the real meaning – sometimes for economic reasons (fear of scaring people away), most often from disconnecting with the source of their teaching. Yoga means union – union of the individual soul with God, with the Absolute, with the Universal Soul. It doesn’t matter how you describe it, it is irrelevant because you are trying to describe the infinite, using finite terms, and with a finite mind. Basically, you are talking around it. Nonetheless, it is an inspiration, a goal, a carrot dangling from a stick moving you forward. Only one thing keeps you from this realization, your ego, your identification with who you think you are. The ego creates this separateness and perpetuates selfishness, as opposed to selflessness. What is the best part about being a Yoga teacher? Being a yoga teacher is part of the path to selflessness, of letting go of the individual personality and letting “the universe” unfold through you. The most powerful tool the teacher has in this journey is service, serving the students, doing what the teacher knows is best for the student, best for their growth and evolution. Ultimately, it means not letting go of the teacher’s responsibility….. i.e. going for it! Why are Chanting and Mantras so important? In the yogic toolbox, we have many tools, many aspects of the practice, which help to lift up our energies and gradually pull us away from our egotistical selves and take us in the direction of the Absolute. The easiest of these tools is mantra chanting or chanting God’s names, kirtan. Mantras are very pure energies encapsulated in sound form. The vibration of these mantras literally connect to different facets (yes, like the many faces of a diamond) of the DIvine. They are very uplifiting, very calming, very soothing. If you let go, and just flow with the chants, it gives you a glimpse, if only momentary, of a different consciousness, of a quiet, peaceful perspective, a brief detachment of your individual self-consciousness. Please tell us what we can expect at you upcoming “Kirtan” event at Hot Yoga in Delray Beach? Expect nothing. Go with an open mind. Contrary to a lot of new age disciplines, I can’t promise you quick enlightenment (What a ridiculous idea!). Each discipline is not for everyone. This may not be for you. BUT… for many it will touch a nerve, ignite something inside of you that was just below the surface. Maybe it will start you on a quest that could be the most difficult thing you ever did… and ultimately, the best. Favorite Quote to Live By “An optimist sees an opportunity in every difficulty. A pessimist sees a difficulty in every opportunity.” – Swami Sivananda Please come and enjoy this special devotional event! All proceeds go to a center for battered women and children. Kirtan with Bharata Yip February 22 at 6:30pm Hot Yoga of Delray 3205 S Federal Hwy, Delray Beach Check out David Ramoy’s website for class times and more.  www.davidramoy.com Davidramoy@gmail.com