Full Circle in Floyd

Floyd Yoga Jam at Burnette Farm this past weekend was a rocking good time.

We arrived on Friday with our tiny backpacker tent and camped by a little creek for the weekend.  Some highlights for me:

Aug 31, 2012
Photo by Erik Dunham

Friday night’s Melody of the Moon class in the Buddha Tent with Sierra Hollister that included a healing circle meditation.  It was a slow flow that helped everyone chill out and settle into the rhythm of the weekend.  The blue moon made this experience that much sweeter.

Saturday morning’s dharma talk with Jeff Tiebout.  Turns out, he is a friend of a friend from way back when.  We discussed happiness, movement, ethical living, practice, and cultivating a sense of celebration in your life.  This sense of celebration is a difficult one to maintain, but reminding yourself to live in the present moment and experience this moment for what it is right now is a big first step.  Count your blessings.

Sunday morning’s Bhakti Yoga workshop with Durga Das, aka David Newman, and his wife Mira was incredibly inspiring.  Not only did David include stories about the chanting that we all proceeded to do in both call-and-response fashion and together, but by the end of the workshop, he had inspired so many in the audience to stand up and offer their own expression in the “call” portion of the chant, to the joy and delight of the crowd’s “response.”  Maybe 50 or 60 people were there and many who stood up had never, ever sung a solo in front of a crowd before, but people were so inspired to offer their own energy to the experience, they couldn’t help it.  David masterfully made all of the singers feel so comfortable with their own expression.  Some people obviously have had some sort of vocal training or at least practice, and others could not keep a beat or sing in key… and it was all just amazing and beautiful and fun.  Each voice was a unique flavor in the musical soup.  Every heart present melted and opened.

Okay, so I will not forget about the music.  Bryan Elijah Smith and the Wildhearts are one of my new faves of this summer.  These guys are young and fresh and original sounding.  Funktion is another band I can highly recommend.  They are totally danceable… and hula hoop-able!  Trevor Hall rocked the house on Saturday night.  And of course David Newman and his kirtan band shared the love in a way that only they can conjure.

Yoga and music.  Together.  I cannot think of anything better.

All tricked out!

Well, except for leading a fun meditation on the energy of Ganesha on Sunday morning in the Buddha Tent.  I was so happy that people actually showed up for an early morning meditation after jamming into the wee hours the night before.  We played with the mantra Om Gam Ganapataye Namah.  This bija mantra of Ganesha is the seed that contains the fullest potential of the energy of the elephant deity himself.  “Bija” means “seed” and Ganesha, as with any mythological figure, represents some aspect of our own awareness.  In this case, Ganesha is the one who sits in a threshold.  He is the remover of obstacles because he is the obstacle.  In case you hadn’t noticed, elephants are big.  When he sits at a threshold in your own path, he is inviting you to a deeper conversation with yourself.  It is not helpful to ignore him or deny that he exists or even that the doorway exists.  He wants you to engage with him in order to help you move through that gateway to some greater experience in your own life.  It is not always happy — most obstacles in life tend to be a real pain (to state the obvious, yes) — but the engagement, the working with rather than resisting whatever challenge you face is the path to transforming that challenge into something that supports you and your life.

I first learned meditation while in school at Virginia Tech.  It was so great to return to southwest Virginia to actually teach meditation.  Here’s to many more years and good times to come at Floyd Yoga Jam.  Special thanks to the organizers, Shirleyann Burgess and Laura Polant for doing such an excellent job in organizing all the events and making sure that they ran smoothly.  And Laura’s dog Cody!

Om Gam Ganapataye Namah

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