Monday, November 30, 2009

Shaktipat Diksha and Kripalu Yoga

I wrote An American Yoga: The Kripalu Story in large part because I  felt compelled to say something about, and describe as best I could, the phenomena of  Shakti and Shaktipat Diksha.

I capitalize these words intentionally in order to designate something that I feel is profound, invisible and largely beyond our everyday mortal grasp. But understanding and experiencing such things are, for me,  the real purpose of Yoga (or any advanced spiritual discipline).

I can't describe in a blog what it took me years to experience, write, rewrite, and detail in the book, but suffice to say that if Yogi Amrit Desai did not receive Shaktipat Diksha from Shrii Kripalvanandji there would be no Kripalu Yoga and all that came with it.  Kripalu Yoga would have been just another new but regular way to practice yoga postures and meditation.

Clearly, that isn't what it is and that's not what happened. Yogi Amrit Desai is now acknowledged as being one of the original 'spiritual pioneers' to bring some of the most esoteric practices of Yoga to the West, and The Kripalu Center he founded flourished in his wake, becoming the largest yoga-based retreat and educational institute  of its kind in the world.

Many writers have acknowledged the phenomena of Shaktipat and attempted to dissect and analyze it; but none have described the unique effect it has on human development and how it plays out in the real world in story form.

Until now. I therefore invite you to read The Kripalu Story, experience it, and share your thoughts and comments with me.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Day Blog

On this, the first Thanksgiving Day I will spend without any immediate members of my family still alive (I have a sister but we are estranged), I would like to give thanks to all the people who helped me while I was taking care of my mother, who died in August of 2009. The home aids who, like me, enjoyed her upbeat company and to the Hospice workers whose diligent care made her last few months more than just livable.

I would also like to make a more general comment on the attitudes displayed by our culture toward the terminally ill and their caregivers. From the first time I went to a pharmacy to fill a prescription for Aricept -- that Alzheimer's wonder drug now made infamous by those TV commercials depicting patients as zombie-like -- I was met by the stigma that is Alzheimer's. The pharmacist glumly forecast that this was going to be a lot harder on me than my mother.

Among friends and acquaintances, the mention of the word Alzheimer's was too often an immediate conversation stopper.

The American Dream, such as it is, does not include discomfort or even the mention of anything that will make one uncomfortable and possibly lose their focus on attaining that ever-elusive dream.

In these difficult economic times, it is my hope that people become more humble in their aims and more empathic toward those going through difficult times -- be they financial or health-wise.

It was a long and rambling road that got America to the top of the proverbial hill. Now that we have gotten there it would be nice to see some maturity -- in the way of showing more genuine caring and charity for others.

There are people all around us in need of something right now who will not tell you about it because of the stigma of not being a part of the dream, or, even worse, a drag on it.

Find them, encourage them, help them -- then when you give thanks for what you have it will mean that much more to you.

Good Day.

(Shortly, a memoir/guidebook I wrote on my experience of caring for my mother will appear on this website: An Alzheimer's Story.)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Welcome to 32 Beach Productions

As the founder of 32 Beach Productions and author of An American Yoga: The Kripalu Story I would like to welcome and invite everyone to contribute their own Kripalu Story. I know there are many.

I decided to write and publish mine after working with Yogi Amrit Desai as a book editor at Kripalu during the 1980's. Afterward, we continued a professional and personal relationship that continued on after Yogi Desai was dismissed as the spiritual director of Kripalu in 1994.

IN 2007, I traveled with Yogi Desai to India where we visited the village where he grew up as well as the places where he had his seminal spiritual awakening experiences -- that led directly to his discovering Kripalu Yoga in America in 1971.

I wrote the Kripalu Story in order to preserve the story from any attempts, inadvertent or otherwise, to change or diminish it in light of recent events. The story is the story, and the Kripalu story is an authentically lush one.

I've written mine so now I invite you to read it and contribute your comments and own experiences on this blog.

Thank You,

James Abro