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Avidya
13 October 2015

Avidya
13 October 2015

Avidya

Weeding….I know, right?
This activity lends itself quite nicely to metaphor. The very mindlessness of weeding invites self observation and reflection.   I’m always a little surprised (and embarrassed to admit) that plunging the weeding tool into the earth, twisting and wrenching the roots free delivers a certain vicious satisfaction. Conversely, when the roots are tenacious, as they often are, and will not give, I experience an irrational flash of anger. And because I am observing myself, I ask, “What am I angry at?” In the moment I feel thwarted in my determination to excise the invader and safeguard my seedlings and flowers.

Invading, unwanted thoughts, like weeds, take deep hold of all of us, at one time or another. This, in yoga, is called “Avidya.” Desikachar refers to Avidya as “false perception”. Avidya is by nature a root, one that grows deep within us. It is responsible for our suffering, for our bad habits, and for our inability to do the right thing in challenging situations. He maintains that the goal of our yoga practice should be to “reduce the film of avidya in order to act correctly.” If we aren’t aware of the root of Avidya growing inside of us, our yoga practice will add to our clouded vision rather than clarify it, when we get caught up in mastering a particular pose, or pushing mindlessly too far into sensation within a pose.

If Avidya is itself the taproot of “false perception” within us, then the “leaves” in this analogy are what Desikachar describes as the branches of Avidya, and they are: “Asmita” or Ego: (I have to be better than the that person next to me.) “Raga” or unnecessary want: (I want it. When I get it, I want more.) “Dvesa” is sort of the opposite of Raga, in that it expresses itself by unmitigated rejection. (I have a bad experience, I reject everything and everyone associated with it.) And finally, the big one, “Abhinivesa.” Fear. Uncertainty. Doubt.

These branches bear leaves that are apparent in our daily lives, even sometimes (and for some of us especially) in our yoga practice. As you begin to notice the branches it is important to remind yourself that becoming angry at their presence is also an expression of Avidya. Rather than anger or frustration, celebrate your discovery of the branches — now you know where the root is! While the root may be tenacious, knowing where it is and being able to prevent the branches from growing too much is the first step to “Vidya” or clarity, and to the quiet and calm that reside deep within us.

Go after those weeds with determination and tenderness both, friends. And enjoy your time in the garden. May it yield the sweetest serenity.

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ACCOMMODATIONS:

The building itself was renovated to be energy efficient, and the room is moderately heated in cooler seasons to promote a good, healthy sweat, but not heated to an excessive or wasteful degree. There are cubbies in our large office to store your personal belongings, a spacious changing room, a comfy sofa and a water cooler (please bring a water bottle to fill, to cut down on paper cup usage). Two nice, clean bathrooms are located just down the hall. There are also cubbies in the studio itself for valuables, which students are welcome to use. We have a full lending library of yoga books, and encourage students to borrow freely. Gift certificates are available for purchase in any amount.

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GUIDELINES FOR PRACTICE

Please do not wear perfume or any strong scent

People with allergies can be very sensitive to scent. Also, lots of people sweating in a closed space is less stinky than lots of people all wearing different brands of perfume or deodorant.

Wear comfortable clothing

Not so tight it binds, not so loose it gets in your way. And please do not wear clothes that “gap” and are inappropriately revealing.

Practice on an empty stomach

If possible, don’t eat at least three hours before practice. If you know that this isn’t possible for you, eat easily digested food one hour before class.

No food or outside beverages inside the studio

If necessary, bottled water is okay, but remember we are trying to generate internal heat; constant sipping cools the body. After practice, drink plenty of pure water.

Bring your own mat

Shared mats are not hygienic; you may borrow one from us if one is available, until you are able to purchase your own, but please clean it afterward with the mat wipes provided. Please understand mats may be borrowed on a first come basis….we have only a few to borrow, and do occasionally run out of them.

Keep your eyes on your own practice

The practice is richer when it happens from the inside out. It’s not about comparing yourself with the person next to you. Be present with your own experience.

Be kind and loving to yourself

Rest when you need to. Honor where you are in your practice. Use the energy of those around to inspire, not diminish, you. Remember: you are perfect just as you are now, and yoga is meant to enhance that understanding and let that perfection shine. Have fun!

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Newcomers! 3 for $30

If you are new to Upper Valley Yoga, you can purchase a 3-class pass for $30! (For our first-time guests only, package expires 15 days after purchase)

Single Class, $16

Drop in to any regular weekly class

Single Class, Student or Senior* Rate, $13

*Full time high school and college students, Seniors 60+

10-Class Pass, $140

Expires after one year

10-Class Pass, Student or Senior* Rate, $120

Expires after one year

*Full time high school and college students, Seniors 60+

5-Class Pass, $75

Expires after 6 months

5-Class Pass, Student or Senior* Rate, $63

Expires after 6 months.

*Full time high school and college students, Seniors 60+

Unlimited Yoga Passes

Monthly, Auto-Renew with credit card, $99/mo

Unlimited yoga. 6-month commitment is required; early cancellation fee of $50 applies if the auto renew is canceled before 6 months. This is the best value if you plan to attend at least 2 classes per week.

One month, unlimited, $140

Unlimited yoga with no commitment required.

One month, Student or Senior* rate, $120

Unlimited yoga with no commitment required.

*Full time high school and college students, Seniors 60+

3-Month Unlimited, $360

Unlimited yoga, 3 months

If you don’t yet have a mat, borrow one from us and please clean it afterward with the mat wipes.

We have a limited, need-based scholarship fund available for those who are struggling to pay for classes; please email or call us to inquire. We also gratefully accept donations for that fund in any amount. In addition, there are occasional work/study opportunities. If you are interested in being on the work/study list, please let us know!

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