People often ask “Isn’t Bliss and Army a juxtaposition?”
I always tell them, “have you noticed the Bhagavad Gita takes place on a Battlefield, not an Ashram?”
For better or worse, we live in the tension between opposites. Blissology, remember is the balance of actions motivated by Love and Actions motivated by selfishness.
Bliss Army is about opening up to the heart’s wisdom which is waiting for us so we can find what is sustainable. Too much selfishness is not sustainable. For example, where we live in Tofino/Ucluelet, they want to put a hugely polluting copper mine in a beautiful ecosystem. Trashing the ecosystem is never sustainable, so we need to find strategies to find ways of people making a living in remote areas, to educate people, to change government policy, to know when we need to just back away and refuel (this is where yoga and nature comes into play).
So that’s it in a Nutshell: Bliss Army = Always staying in touch with the deep wisdom of the heart while recognizing that conflict between the selfish and those who value long term interconnections will always exist. We need to do our work to keep love in the world, but as they say in the Gita, to do what is in your heart, “but let go of the fruit of your actions.”
SUMMER 2011 HAMMOCK ENLIGHTENMENT DATES: CHECK BACK HERE CLOSE TO EVENT DATES FOR CONFIRMATION
Vancouver, Fri July 8, Halifax, Friday July 15, New York Friday July 22, San Francisco Friday July 29 Toronto Friday Aug 19
I achieved ‘Hammock Enlightenment’ a few years ago. It occurred during one of the (YES) Yoga Ecology Surf Retreats that I was leading in Costa Rica.
Something happened during that classic yoga pose which I now refer to as ‘Hammock Asana.‘ Places where I had been holding tension my body melted like ice cream in the warm tropical sun. Unconsciously I exhaled a few deep sighs of release. My heart rate became slower. I became more aware of the smallest details of life, the sounds of birds, the whirl of activity from the army of ants below me. Even the incessant hammering of construction workers who were turning this small chunk of Costa Rican Wilderness into a virtual human ant hill called a condo complex, seemed to be part of the melodious interplay of life. All of life’s complications washed away leaving me to feel the care free part of myself that is free of the limitations of time and worry. I was there. I became enlightened.
This is the goal of the yogi too. To feel that joy that comes when we can truly be fully grounded in our bodies and relaxed and alert to all that is happening around us.
I felt the magic of what the Natives of Mexico, Central and South America had found as they sat in their relaxation slings made out of the bark of the Hamak Tree. I realized that we are so shaped by “New World” values of productivity and commerce that in the process we have forgotten the art of relaxation. “What is the price we pay for this?” I pondered. Ill health, disconnection from the our bodies, our families and the planet.
I imagined what early explorers must have thought when they arrived in the Caribbean to find a whole culture who cherished the value of afternoon siestas, relaxation and enjoyment of life. I realized that the way history has actually transpired that this ability to relax is a far greater asset than all the gold, spice and gems that the original explorers were looking for.
As I took my Hammock Asana Posture outside my cabina faithfully everyday, I thought about what a better world it could be if we could sit in a hammock every afternoon and watch the clouds drift by even for 5 minutes before going back to our daily activities. Since I didn’t have the budget to bring Vancouver to a YES Retreat in Costa Rica, I thought, why don’t I bring the hammocks to non-latin world? Thus was born the idea of Spontaneous Relaxation Sites.
The Yogathon and Blissfest for Camp Moomba
In the winter of 2001, my friend and fellow yogi, Maxine Druker, the founder of Camp Moomba (a camp for children impacted by HIV-AIDS in Canada), approached me about exploring ways that the yoga community could come together to help raise money for their camp. That afternoon after brainstorming over tasty chai we came up with the idea of the Yogathon.
The idea was to connect yoga and the practice of yoga (something that is normally quite introverted and solitary) to helping the community at large in a very tangible and powerful way. The number 108 in yoga philosophy is a significant and symbolic number, and we connected the practice of a 108 Surya Namaskars as an offering from the yoga community to benefit Camp Moomba.
While many other yogathons have sprung up around the globe in support for various causes, we evolved our format to the present one of a 108 minutes of yoga, connecting teachers in our local community to create a beautiful and festive flow, safe for yoga practitioners of all levels.
The enthusiasm of the yoga community has been incredible. Every year the event has doubled in size. We have had incredible chemistry in the committee and great leadership from the event directors.
Even though yoga and especially Karma Yoga is the heart and soul of the event, this year we are really expanding our horizons beyond yoga and including music, kids events, sustainability trade fair and great food.
More than anything, the Yogathon and Blissfest illustrates to me the power of human connection. We all long for it and all it takes is one spark to ignite that flame that burns deep inside of us.
For details visit: www.campmoombayogathon.com