Jeanie Manchester is the founder of Anjaneya Yoga Shala in Boulder, CO. She is an (E-RYT500 Instructor and Anusara certified). She is the creator of the Shakti Rise Immersion dedicated to “women on the rise” and planetary upliftment. She draws on 30 years of dedicated practice and teaching. Jeanie created Sacred Flow, her signature vinyasa classes rooted in meditation, bhakti chant, storytelling, mantra, mudra, meditation and the art of living a daily practice on and off the mat. Her students love her heart based, friendly style of intuitive mentoring and teaching. She is a dedicated senior student of Neelakantha meditation and the Sri Vidya Goddess tradition of South India.
In all cultures the powerful images of gods and goddess have the capacity to take us to the deepest places in ourselves. The myths and stories surrounding these images have the potential to take us to the truth of our hearts.
THE LORD OF THE DANCE
The image, myth and symbol of The Lord Of The Dance, Shiva Nataraj is one in which all serious yoga students eventually come to understand. Nataraja’s dance is evocative because he represents our dance with life. Just by looking at a murti; a statue of him, we are drawn in to question what he represents. As Yogi’s we long to understand the true meaning of our lives. Why do we practice,what meaning and value does it give to our lives? How do we choose to engage life and dance our own dance?The myth and symbol surrounding Nataraja is a means to go deeper into the most profound questions we have about living. For example, one of the places Shiva likes to dwell in is in the cremation grounds. Here he watches the decay of bodies. In observing closely the process of death; in contemplating his own mortality he is called to live; to engage fully. Its a bit like when we take savasana (corpse pose) at the end of practice we fall into deep silence and stillness. Paradoxically, the deeper we fall into this death the more we feel the spanda; the vibration of our own heart beating, our blood flowing and consequently we feel our aliveness at the same time we feel our inevitable decay and death.
In studying Nataraja, we are drawn to understand the dance of life is a precious one. Nataraja begs us to look closely at our lives, our choices and to deepen our preferences (Apeksha); what our heart truly yearns for regardless of others opinions. In deepening our understanding of who we truly are, we can offer more fully from the heart our gifts; our artistry to each other and to the world.
DR. DOUGLAS BROOKS
Dr. Douglas Brooks is among the world’s leading scholars of Hindu Tantrism and the esoteric traditions of the Goddess. After receiving a Masters degree from Harvard Divinity School, he continued his studies in the history of religions, Sanskrit, and Indian studies going on to receive a Masters and Doctorate from Harvard University’s Center for the Study of World Religions. Currently, he is Professor of Religion at the University of Rochester in New York. In addition to his formal Western education, Douglas lived for many years in India in the house of his Teacher according to the traditions of Guru Kulam in which the student is initiated into all facets of the Indian classical Sanskrit education, including philosophy, yoga, ritual, and worship. Douglas is the author of a number of books and scholarly articles on Hinduism and the Comparative Study of Religion.
Sally Kempton was a monk and teacher in the Vedic tradition for nearly 30 years. In 2002, with her teacher’s blessing, she put aside her monastic robes to begin teaching independently. From her home base in California, Sally travels extensively, and offers workshops and retreats that integrate meditation, yoga wisdom and spiritual life-skills. Considered a “teacher’s teacher” she is known for her ability to inspire long-time practitioners to free themselves from routine meditation practice and deepen their understanding. Sally is also considered adept at transmitting meditation and applying tantric teachings to daily life situations. The author of The Heart of Meditation: Pathways to a Deeper Experience, she also writes the monthly Wisdom column for Yoga Journal.
Richard Freeman has been a student of yoga since 1968. He has spent nearly nine years in Asia studying various traditions which he incorporates into the Ashtanga yoga practice as taught by his principal teacher, K. Pattabhi Jois of Mysore, India. Richard’s background includes studying Suﬁsm in Iran, Zen and Vipassana Buddhist practice, Bhakti and traditional Hatha yoga in India. Starting in 1974 he also began an in-depth study of Iyengar yoga, which eventually led him to Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga. Richard is an avid student of both Western and Eastern philosophy, as well as Sanskrit. His ability to juxtapose various viewpoints, without losing the depth and integrity of each, has helped him develop a unique, metaphorical teaching style.
John Friend is one of the most charismatic and highly respected hatha yoga teachers in the world. Blending an uplifting Tantric yoga philosophy with an entertaining sense of humor and a profound knowledge of biomechanics, John’s teaching style guides each student to live every moment fully from the heart. Students often comment in amazement that they can perform their yoga poses under John’s guidance with a level of creative freedom and inner power that they have never experienced before. Above all, John respects and honors his students with a great deal of loving-kindness and inspires them to see their own unique beauty and divine goodness. In 1997 John founded Anusara Yoga® to promote his innovative vision.
Professor Paul Muller-Ortega Ph.D. is recognized internationally as one of the world’s most highly respected and renowned academic scholars in the field of Indian Religion and Hindu Tantra. He is the founder of Blue Throat Yoga which teaches the Svatantra philosophy of Kashmir Shaivism along with the practice of Neelakantha Meditation. For more than forty years, Paul has been a pioneer in the technology of Consciousness, lecturing and teaching about meditation and Indian philosophy to hundreds of thousands of people in North and South America, Europe, and India. He is the author of The Triadic Heart of Shiva: Kaula Tantricism of Abhinavagupta on the Non-Dual Shaivism of Kashmir, as well as numerous scholarly articles on aspects of Tantric Studies.