What is yoga?
In a word, yoga is Union. It comes from the Sanksrit root yuj-, which is cognate with the English word yoke, as a farmer yokes an ox to a plow. Union with what? The traditional answer is God, the Infinite, the Universe, or however you name your notion of a higher power. My experience when one comes into this Union is that the 'with' part drops away -- there is no other with which to unite. It is a state of fullness unto itself. This revered peace mantra beautifully captures the feeling of it. Once the ox, farmer and plow are yoked together, they create a new life-giving entity that prepares the field to issue its bounty. The point is not to just to yoke the ox and plow; that is but the beginning of the work that happens -- united, their ultimate purpose is the harvest.
So it is with yoga -- the knowing in a deep, heartfelt, intuitive way one's right relation to the universe and oneself -- as a part of a whole, as a part that can see and know the whole, and thereby honor it and make the conscious choice to align with it -- naturally, gradually gives rise to the life of service that results from such Union. There are many processes by which one may experience such Union, and many, many ways in which this experiential knowledge in turn issues out in action -- through love, service, generosity, devotion, creativity, inquiry, and honoring of one's duty. The term yoga encompasses all of these.
What is Sri?
Sri (pronounced SHREE) is the Sanksrit feminine pronoun for a divine being -- the Goddess. It is the spirit of Shakti, of fertility, abundance, protection, and healing, similar to the Chinese Yin.
Sri is also the Indian honorific conferring reverence or respect. Sri Yoga is thus also the revered Yoga.
What is Sri Yoga?
This is an integral tradition of yoga based in the spiritual and scriptural context of the Goddess, and the teachings of various modern saints, mothers such as Mata Amritanandamayi, Karunamayi Ma, the Mother of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, and Mother Meera. It also integrates hatha yoga teachings of Swami Sivananda and his disciples, Swami Satchidananda (Integral Yoga) and Swami Vishnu-Devananda, and of Krisnamacharya, including his disciples Desikachar, Iyengar, and Pattabhi Jois (Ashtanga Vinyasa). Darin Somma, who has been leading the DC area Sri Yoga community, has been teaching a gentle asana practice given to him personally by Amma Karunamayi for the past two years since 2008, and he has initiated all his teacher trainees into this practice as well.
Where can I practice Sri Yoga?
In truth, you can practice it anywhere, any time. So long as you are (trying to be) holding or flowing through this moment in reverence for how full it is with the spirit of life, creativity, truth, abundance, beauty and joy, in the face of all that can occur to us as suffering, that is the real practice.
Where can I join others in Sri Yoga practice and sanga?
See the Sri Yoga Facebook page for the most current information on Sri Yoga class offerings. Since 2011, there has been a weekly community-based practice and sanga gathering at Sky House Yoga, 903 Gist Ave, Silver Spring, MD on Wednesdays at 6:15pm for 75 minutes. It's a very gentle, healing, centering and strengthening practice that's appropriate for first-timers as well as long-time yogis. Anyone may join. You can double-check the Sky House schedule online.
What does it cost?
The gathering is offered without charge, in the dana, or generosity, tradition of teaching. Contributions of service or funds are welcomed, if arising from your own genuinely awakened spirit of generosity. Any funds received are divided to support the cost of the room, the service of the teacher, and the charity of the teacher's choice. We also can often use assistance prior to class preparing the room if you wish to come early and be of service in that manner. Most of all, we honor your presence and willingness to share in the practice itself.
Where I can find out more?