SFA, Revisited • 16 September 2012

Santa Monica. January 17, 2008.

The location was YogaWorks, Montana Avenue. Where American-style 200-hour yoga teacher trainings began. At the time, the YW corporation was buying out local, poor yoga studios all over the country; and it was packaging its teacher training program for distribution all over the world. The whole yoga market we now take for granted was building steam.

But a decidedly different subculture was turning the Mysore room to entropic ecstasy every morning. Straight lineage-limned shakti, though I didn't recognize its energy signature at the time. It was still another 14 months before I'd dig my toes into the dust and elephant dung out behind Wodeyar's Mysore Palace, and experience the grimy grit of said paydirt below. All we knew then was that Dominic was back in town and everyone wanted to be with us in that room. I'd just started apprenticing. After I wrote this, I listened to Prince while looking at youtube videos of mushroom clouds and thinking about Shiva.

Close to five years later now, the cycle comes back around. On the other side of the country. In a totally different subculture. With much less experienced practitioners who, oddly, have much stronger concentration. But the energy signature, it is the same. Same, same. Same. Hello, 2012.


Serious fucking alchemy. Can I say that?


Breakfast with the ineffable again this morning. Probably, it is always this good, but my mind forgets to note it.

Oh who am I kidding? This is special. Serious. Fucking. Alchemy.

How many days in a row are we going to hit paydirt like this, kids? Are you wondering the same?

Yeah, you give up the digging of a thousand shallow wells. Choose a method and just mine it mine it mine it like a dirty methodical little drone…, and now and then you hit a vein like this.

Think you can take it to the bank? Want compensation for your efforts or your surrender? Want to buy in? Riiiiight. Not packaged for resale. It’s here and it’ll be gone soon. I’m too much my teacher’s student to hold it or him or us tightly, and this only increases the joy. Like contemplating death increases your living.

The room is packed to the point of a waiting line, because everyone in fifty miles whose value of practice edges out her compulsive need to be right is on a mat in that room. Post-political practice space, right here for the making. Get in! Carpe manduka.

Many days, there is no assistant. A few who have been at this thing a little longer will give a neighbor an adjustment in supta vajra or pachimo. I’ve been doing a pretty strict counted practice this week, and this highlights strongly the relationships that facilitate my rhythm and those that do not. One companion, I can come to the top of a vinyasa, shift over for his supta vajra, breathe him through it and take one step to the mat without ANY shift in mental state. He doesn’t reach for any talky talky connecting, doesn’t put some kind of lowly beta-level awareness on me. And I come back to the top of the mat just like I’d added a posture—supta vajrasana B—between chakorasana and bhairvasana. Two others on that same train in the immediate perimeter, but another who hasn’t quite caught on. I love her just fine, but if the greater good is to contribute to the collective rhythm that supports the alchemy, I have to let her wait for the teacher. Because his awareness, given which he’s doing and what he’s done, is less fragile than mine.

I got in the car and Prince's song Seven was on the stereo, loud. What I get for blaring Back in Black, from the Unholy Los Angeles Driving Mix cd my brother made a while back, because I thought it a good way to toast RPK this morning. Or at least so it seemed on the jaunt from bathroom floor pranayama to the door of my car, as the CDs live in a big cramped bookcase in the hallway. And it did work nicely for cruising Santa Monica Blvd in the dark, though I did frighten a homeless man at a stoplight. Anyway I took the high road (Wilshire) back here to the working class fringes of Santa Monica, rocking Prince's version of the apocalypse and definitely in a state unfit for operating a motor vehicle.

That’s a lot of apocalyptic Americana from twenty years back. But AC/DC and Prince never knew the shift in consciousness would look like this. This quiet, this early in the morning, and as much about working hard as it is about letting loose.