I shall be assisting Richard Freeman and Mary Taylor on this intensive. The following is from their write-up of the workshop. For more details and to book please go to the Yogacampus site above.
In today’s world, difference and diversity are being used as roots for divisiveness, and there is no room for understanding the common thread of compassion that is at the centre of every human heart. Lies are replacing truth, conscience is out of vogue, and diversity is becoming a breeding ground for hatred and violence. This sort of intolerance is not new, but it has reached epic levels in current times.
Yet the insight that invites transformation arises where seemingly contradictory or opposing things meet; where night meets day, inhale meets exhale, or peace meets war. If each differing side stands unwavering in its own form, intelligence can grind to a halt. However, instead of resisting the other, a healthy mind learns to compare and contrast, while both contemplating differences and questioning similarities. This is the path of yoga, and this is also the Mahayana path of Buddhism.
In this intensive, we will go deeply into practices and philosophical underpinnings of both Buddhism and yoga. We will train body and mind, opening both to new perspectives. We will explore central themes and corners of these two great schools, which share a common root yet have healthy dissimilarities. In doing so, we will aim to see beyond surface differences that might fool us into divisively pitting them one against the other.
We will do this using asana, meditation, chanting and lively philosophical discussions. We will cultivate the questioning mind and the clarity that is an open, tender heart. In particular, by comparing and contrasting the devotional Bhagavad Gita with the study of Mahayana Buddhism we will explore how these teachings may inform us on a path toward insight and compassion.
The intensive is open to all with an interest in yoga and/or Buddhist philosophy, so long as you have at least 6 months’ regular asana practice and are willing to come with an open mind and heart. No specific understanding of philosophy, yoga or Buddhism, is needed. Each day will begin with a two hour guided asana class which will focus on the internal forms of breathing, bandha, mudra and dristi. In this way, we will work to cultivate the natural intelligence of the body by joining together the complementary aspects of breath, movement, sensation and mind. Working carefully and with attentiveness to subtle detail in this way allows us to move into, out of, and between postures with ease and integrity so that the mind may remain open, clear and steady. This will then lead us into chanting, guided meditation, lecture and discussion.