This is from last Thursday when I was at the Motorola XE Launch party at Tao in the Venetian in Vegas. That seems like more description than necessary. I thought that I knew how to work the club scene until I met this guy David who works at google. There was a huge mob of people waiting to get into the club, but David seemed to know everyone and managed to get us in immediately. The only person who cut us was Ice Cube. Lil Jon and Nicky Hilton were there too, but I didn't see them.
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A year ago there was something called "Krunkaoke" every wednesday night at a club nearby. I went religiously and became one of the few creepy superstar regulars who dropped hot gangsta classics every Wednesday. The first time I went I was really nervous, but after doing "How We Do" by The Game, I was hooked. Eventually Krunkaoke became too packed (is that possible?), and they cancelled it!
Desperate for a Karaoke fix, I started going to Rain, which is a gay club a couple blocks from where I live. They had a cool light up stage, but the mediocre sound system and guys trying to grab my ass left me looking for alternatives.
Then one night it happened. I was working late and I thought I heard bad singing at the club downstairs. Could it be... Karaoke?
My month has been full of celebrations. There have been several Birthday parties, many of them milestones. Rhoni Groff and Steve Clofine turned 60, Dharma Mittra turned 70. I'm not sure how old Bhagavan Das is, I wasn't at his official party, but we did chant for him at David Newman's Kirtan at The Chopra Center. All of these people are spiritual significant, all of them lineage holders in their own right, all of them giants. It felt good to be able to honor their lives.
And then came the news about Pattabhi Jois. He was ninety four, and died at 2:30 pm, India time. It was heavy news. I don't teach Pattabhi's Ashtanga Vinyasa, though I do practice the primary series, at least parts of it, quite often. Ashtanga was the first vinyasa class I had ever taken, it had all been Kundalini, beginners Iyengar, and 'ecclectic' (hippie) yoga up until then. I didn't even really know that the teacher was teaching a sequence. I just thought that they figured all those jump throughs would be fun for everybody. They sure were fun for me, and my 20 year old body. I didn't figure it out until later.
So later, I found vinyasa classes, and ashtanga classes, and my practice started to get really inspired. I learned about Krishnamacharaya, Jois, Iyengar, and Desikachar, and how most all the yoga that I was doing, no matter how it was evolved or modified, could be traced back to them.
We sometimes take it for granted that we practice yoga, or even that we practice a certain type of yoga. We might think, "of course I practice yoga, what else wouls I do?" , or even, "of course I teach yoga...". We forget that we stand on the shoulders of giants. If we have these opportunities, this outrageous abundance of teachings available to us, this increasingly enlightened sub-culture, it is because those before us have done great work.
Sri K Pattabhi Jois is one of these giants. His steadfast devotion to his practice and his teaching sets the bar for us all. His easy willingness to give of himself inspires us all to be generous. His social works shows us that yoga doesn't exist in a vacuum, or hidden away in a cave.