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Welcome.

I teach Buddhism and Yoga based in many years of practice and study, working with asana, pranayama, meditation, devotion, and inquiry, supporting those who hold these practices as part of their spiritual path. All are welcome to come and explore the mystery of this human life together. No religious belief is necessary, but I bring in elements from both Buddhist and Hindu yogas, classical and tantric, as tools for the awakening of the heart to freedom and ease.

I also write about current issues in western Buddhist and Yoga communities, as well as art, performance, politics, and social justice. Shorter writing is under “blog” and longer academic essays under “poems + essays”.

I am cutting back my teaching in 2015 to take a dissertation-writing sabbatical. Asana classes have ended for now, and Surya Prakasha has taken over our monthly kirtan. The Tuesday Piedmont meditation group has finished along with the transition at Piedmont (see PYS website for details). Thursday night Insight Meditation at Yoga Tree Telegraph continues as my primary public offering. Workshops, daylongs, and Teacher Trainings will continue. Sign up on the left for my monthly-or-so newsletter to hear about workshops and classes.

Blessings for your practice and new year.

Ongoing classes

Insight Meditation Satsang: Thu 7:45-9:15pm Yoga Tree Telegraph

Meditation with instructions, wisdom teachings from Theravada Buddhist and yoga traditions, and community discussion of practice.

Offered fully and joyfully on donation, in the Buddhist practice of dāna (generosity). Your monetary gift sustains this kind of gathering (and all of my lineage’s dāna teaching) in deeper ways than a class with a “price” can, because the act of heartfelt giving itself is a practice of living in a way we most deeply long for: connected to each other in sacred community. Thank you for your support as we challenge inhuman capitalism through the subtle and profound practice of gift economy.

Yoga + kirtan have ended for now

Wed + Fri vinyasa at Yoga Tree Telegraph has ended. Thank you for many years of rich, evolving practice. I’m doing no ongoing asana classes currently. At Yoga Tree Telegraph I recommend my brilliant colleagues and friends Rachel Shaw and Lucid Dawn. Last Sunday of the month kirtan at Yoga Tree Telegraph has also ended (for Sara and I). Our dear friend Surya Prakasha will continue leading on the Last Sundays, and Sara and I will join sometimes.

**Kirtan every Sunday 7-9 at Yoga Tree Telegraph, with rotating leaders, continues.**

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2015 workshops (so far)

Insight Meditation + Yoga: day-long mini-retreat

Sunday, March 1, 1:30-6pm
on dāna (generosity)
Ed Roberts Campus, Oakland

A day of practice together in a new accessibility-oriented space. Meditation, mindfulness-oriented yoga, and Buddhist teachings. Beginners welcome.

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Teachings of the Buddha: Suttas from the Pali canon

4 Wednesday evenings: March 4, 11, 18, and 25, 7pm
on dāna (generosity)
East Bay Meditation Center, Oakland

The discourses of the Buddha offer a vast range of practices, from ethical guidelines for wise daily life and relationships, to instructions for meditation and inner cultivation, all the way to descriptions of the deepest truths of reality. In this 4-week class we’ll study a selection of core Buddhist texts from both early (Pali Canon) and later (Mahayana) schools, focusing on the foundations of Buddhist practice and the integration of this ancient wisdom into our complex modern lives. Open to all, and on donation, but registration required.

Week 1: Turning the Wheel. Foundations of Buddhist doctrine.
Week 2: Living a good life. Instructions for lay people, and social action.
Week 3: Embodied Inquiry. Meditation and investigation.
Week 4: Vast view. Love, Emptiness, and Liberation.

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Piedmont Philosophy Series
Buddhist Yoga: Mindfulness + Insight

Sat, May 2, 1:30-4:30pm
on dāna (generosity)
Ed Roberts Campus, Oakland

The Early Buddhist tradition was one of the great Classical Yoga traditions, in dialogue with all the great philosophical and spiritual movements of its day. In the Buddha’s well-preserved instructions for practice, yogis are taught methods for skillful engagement with the full range of human experience, including principles of wise action, deep meditation, and inquiry into the nature of existence. In this afternoon introduction, we’ll look at how Buddhist meditation and embodied inquiry weave together to support a rich and fulfilling spiritual process. Beginners to yoga or meditation welcome, but some experience in both will help. We won’t be doing yoga asana (postures), but will discuss how to apply the Buddhist teachings to yoga practice and our lives in a complex modern world.

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Insight Meditation + Yoga: day-long mini-retreat

Saturday, June 6, 1:30-6pm
on dāna (generosity)
Ed Roberts Campus, Oakland

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Trauma and Spiritual Practice

Sat June 13, 12:30-5:30 pm
Yoga Garden, San Francisco

I’m excited to be offering my new workshop on trauma and spiritual practice again this summer, looking at our yoga and mindfulness practices through the lens of nervous system resilience. This lecture-practice will draw on the Organic Intelligence approach to Somatic Experiencing, which is a beautiful modality for working with trauma and disorganization in the subtle body. SE is deeply complementary to Buddhist and Yogic approaches to healing, but also challenges some of our habits in yoga and meditation. We’ll weave between theory and exploration, learning some simple exercises that can be incorporated into any yoga or meditation practice.

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Piedmont Philosophy Series
Tantra: Exploring the Pratyabhijña-hṛdayam, “The Heart of Recognition”

Sat, July 11, 1:30-4:30pm
on dāna (generosity)
Ed Roberts Campus, Oakland

The Pratyabhijña-hṛdayam (The Heart of Recognition) is an accessible root text in the Śaiva Tantra yoga tradition, written by the sage Kṣemarāja. It describes in radiant verses the nature of consciousness and the journey of the self from bondage and the illusion of separateness to full liberation and realization of our true nature.

We’ll read excerpts from Christopher Wallis’s authoritative (and unpublished) new translation, and explore teachings on the subtle body, breath, awareness, meditation, and energetic cultivation. Tantric texts and the practices (sadhana) they teach are traditionally considered initiatory teachings, to be transmitted only from a qualified guru to appropriately-prepared students. Our reading of this text will not constitute formal initiation, but will give us a beginner’s tour of the philosophical orientation of this beautiful tradition, and we’ll learn basic tantric practices that anyone can do to great benefit.

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Sutras, Cakras, Bliss: Yoga Garden Core Module 2 intensive

July 12-Aug 1
Tue + Fri evenings, Sat + Sun days (50 hour training)
Yoga Garden, San Francisco

In this philosophy and practice intensive, we’ll look closely at the two primary instructional texts of modern yoga: Patañjali’s Yoga Sutra and the Hatha Yoga Pradipika. We will weave between historical context, close reading and discussion, and embodied practice. These two texts teach a full range of yoga practice, including ethics, meditation, mindfulness, and personal inquiry; asana, pranayama, energetic cultivation, and the awakening of the feminine embodied force called kundalini, the heart of medieval Hatha Yoga.

Topics:
The path of Classical Yoga, including meditation and embodied inquiry.
In-depth engagement with Patañjali’s 8-Limb model.
The Tantric roots of Hatha Yoga, with emphasis on the beautiful Śaiva Tantra tradition.
Understanding Hatha Yoga’s subtle anatomy of nadi, cakra, and kundalini.
Working with energy: asana, pranayama, and bandha as an integrated practice.
Nervous system and trauma physiology, working safely with energy and attention.

Attendance at the full intensive is required for Yoga Alliance credit. We will read Patañjali in Chip Hartranft’s beautiful translation and commentary, and the Pradipika in Brian Dana Akers’ translation.

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The Bhagavad Gita: Action and devotion in a complex world

Fri-Sun: Sep 11, 9-5:30pm, Sep 12, 12-5pm, Sep 13, 12:30-5pm
Yoga Garden, San Francisco

The Bhagavad Gita is one of the core texts of the yoga tradition, and one of Hinduism’s most beloved spiritual books. It contains practical instructions for yoga and daily life, meditations on the nature of God, and a deep exploration of the question of how to live a good life, framed as a battlefield conversation on the brink of a terrible war.

We will read the Gita in Stephen Mitchell’s accessible and poetic translation alongside traditional commentaries, exploring multiple viewpoints on this powerful and complex text, and wrestle with the challenging and powerful teaching on renunciation of the fruits of action.

Required text: Stephen Mitchell, The Bhagavad Gita, a new translation. Students who own other translations of the Gita are welcome to bring them, but we’ll mainly read out of the Mitchell.

$295 Earlybird by August 20, $345 after