This morning was the first Chai, Chant and Chat gathering hosted by Mysore Melbourne. Whilst practitioners concluded their practice, taking rest under blankets, I made chai in the kitchen with the help of my dear friend Victoria English from Kensington's Urban Ashtanga.
Our gathering was informal. Holding mugs of warm chai, we sat as a group and I guided everyone in a chant to Ganesha, remover of obstacles. In India, it is said that nothing auspicious can occur without invoking Lord Ganesha's name first. And, particularly as this is the first of many intended Chai, Chant and Chat gatherings, it seemed to fit!
After a little bit more chanting, I gave a brief talk about the eight limbs of Ashtanga yoga. During our daily Mysore-style sessions, there isn't always time for me to explain the greater philosophical context of our practice and I appreciated a bit more space to explain that yoga is not just twisting and bending, it is an effort to gain spiritual knowledge. And, to practice Ashtanga yoga earnestly and correctly, we must practice all eight limbs. In particular, our efforts need to be directed into the first four, which are yama, niyama, asana and pranayama. These are the roots of our practice and, if well tended, they will lead to flowering of pratyahara, dharana, dhyana, and samadhi.
I'll soon announce the date of next month's Chai, Chant and Chat gathering. Be sure to join the Mysore Melbourne mailing list so that you are notified.