Before the Yoga Sutras get to any mention of how to train the body to sit for meditation, Patanjali lays out an ethical framework of yamas and niyamas. These precepts offer the yogi ways to be at ease both with themselves and the world around them by practicing ideas like non-violence, truthfulness, moderation and non-hording.
Can these principles be applied to our consumerist, image-driven society? And how do we understand and apply concepts like non-violence in a world where elementary schools have armed school guards and are being equipped with bullet-proof glass?
How do we make the yamas and niyamas feel like a natural part of our lives and not just a burden or set of rules and regulations?
To address these questions , YogaCity NYC will host a panel discussion about what these ethical precepts mean for practitioners and teachers of yoga in contemporary New York City. It will be held at Hari NYC, 140 West 30th Street, #3W (3rd Floor), New York, NY 10001 on Wednesday May 15th, from 4 to 5:30pm.
Panelists will include: Alan Finger, the South African Tantric and Kriya Yoga Master who founded ISHTA Yoga. Sri Dharma Mittra, founder of Dharma Yoga Centers, who has spent most of his life in service to humanity, disseminating the ancient knowledge of how to achieve radiant health and spiritual development. Hari Kaur Khalsa who is the founder of Hari NYC and has shared Kundalini in high schools, taught specialized classes in area Boston hospitals, and founded the Illumined Woman courses that highlight the Kundalini yoga practices and teachings for women at all stages of life. Reverend Sam Rudra Swartz who has been a devotee of Swami Satchidananda since 2001, and lead interfaith and Jewish services at the Actors’ Temple in New York as well as at other synagogues and gatherings. Benjamin Lorr, author of Hell-Bent: Obsession, Pain, and the Search for Something-Like Transcendance in Competitive Yoga, a critically acclaimed examination of the Bikram yoga subculture. Stefanie Syman, the author of The Subtle Body: The Story of Yoga in America, whose writing has appeared in major publications including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, and Vogue.
Moderating this panel of yogis and scholars will be YogaCity NYC founder and publisher, Brette Popper. The discussion will explore the way that these experienced practitioners understand the yamas and niyamas in today's context, both their challenges and rewards. There will also be time for audience questions and participation. The event is free but seating is limited.
--Alex Phelan teaches anatomically influenced and alignment conscious yoga in New York City.