Hello Yogi’s and Yogini’s. Studio Oxygen is so pleased to announce that we will be hosting a Dharma Yoga Immersion with Brendan Lentz and Yogini Kali Om October 16-20, 2016. This event is for both teachers and students of the practice of Yoga. As our excitement builds about this event, we thought it a wonderful idea to introduce you to Brendan in a brief Q & A:
Brendan, can you share with the readers a little of your Yogic journey?
Thank you this opportunity. They say when the student is ready the teacher appears. Sometime around 2007 I met my teacher Sri Dharma Mittra. I started taking his classes as often as I could and as time went on I became stronger, more grounded and generally more aware. Some people might call it an awakening and that’s how it felt to me. My level of consciousness started to shift from just being focused on my own needs to focusing on all living beings and how my actions impact everything around me. Since that time I’ve continued to deepen my own practice every year and share what I’ve experienced with others. That brings me to the point now where I’m happy to be invited to places like Studio Oxygen to share some of the knowledge of yoga.
The immersion states that it is being offered for both teachers and students of the 8 limb path, what else could you share with us about a typical day?
The idea behind the immersion is to give people the opportunity to go deeper into yogic practices and have a more profound personal experience. Every day begins with pranayama and meditation. Practicing pranayama in the morning sets the tone for handling the rest of the day with equanimity and poise. It helps make the mind more sharp for lectures and discussion on yoga philosophy. It also helps to keep the physical body feeling more energetic for the physical asana practices. When you complete an immersion like this, you feel a profound sense of accomplishment. You realize that you are capable physically and mentally of much more than you previously thought.
If someone is new to the practice of Yoga, what advice would you impart to them?
Find a teacher who embodies the best qualities that you want to achieve and study from her. Surround yourself with a community of positive and like-minded people for support. Choose a simple practice like sun salutations and make a personal commitment to practice that for 10 minutes every day for 1 month. If you accomplish a simple goal like this you will have a sense of enthusiasm and be inspired to do something else the following month.
Can you describe the philosophy of Dharma Yoga?
Dharma Yoga is a living body of techniques and teachings from Sri Dharma Mittra aimed at helping students achieve Self-Realization. This is to say – realize that a portion of the supreme intelligence resides in all beings. When you have that realization you feel an immense amount of bliss and compassion flowing from deep inside your heart.
Do you have a favorite piece of Yogic wisdom that you refer to on a regular basis?
I like the second sutra from Patanjali – Yoga is the settling of the mind into silence. When we respect others and treat them with reverence, naturally the mind is in a state of quietude and peace. If I’m rude or short-tempered with someone, my mind is no longer peaceful and I know in my heart I need to do something to rectify the situation to get back to the peace. The state of our mind is like a perfect litmus test that tells us whenever we need to improve our conduct.
For anyone new to the practice of Yoga, how would introduce the 8 limb path to a beginner?
The yamas and niyamas are the ethical rules of yoga and the first two limbs. Ahimsa or non-violence is first and foremost of these. Learn to observe ahimsa first. Treat others with respect and dignity. Avoid gossiping and criticizing other people. Without following the ethical rules you can’t make progress on the remaining limbs. Next comes pranayama (breathing exercises) and asana (physical postures). The remaining 3 limbs deal with concentration, meditation and the final goal – supreme realization.
At this point in your life how is the practice of Yoga keeping you engaged in your mission on this Earth? Through Yoga I’ve realized that whatever I’m doing has a higher purpose. I’ve learned to trust that where I’m at in each moment is exactly where I’m meant to be. I strive to do my best in all situations. I fully appreciate the good fortune I have and view challenges as opportunities to become more skillful at navigating life and helping others during my time here.
Any other thoughts/comments you would like to share with our readers?
I’m looking forward to returning to Studio Oxygen this fall. Each time I go there I feel uplifted by the interest shown from students that come to the classes. Everyone benefits when there is a general attitude of receptivity and positivity.
Favorite space for your personal practice?
We have a small carpeted area at the food of the bed, it’s slightly bigger than a yoga mat so that’s currently the spot. I love being outside also but I find it’s more realistic to have an indoor spot for daily practice.
What are you hoping for people to walk away with from this immersion?
I hope that some people will walk away having experienced a touch of the inner bliss I mentioned earlier. When you attend an immersion like this – you have the opportunity recalibrate your entire outlook on life. You will learn to rely on your inner wisdom. A general sense of peace and calm may become your normal state of being. It’s a wonderful way to live and I wish that all attendees experience it.