How Light is Enlightenment?
I have a vivid memory of my first yoga class. It was filled with lightness, laughter and joy. It was fun and the laughter, most of all, drew me to return. Again, and again, and again. The laughter floated through the asanas, all about the room, touching lightly it seemed everyone.
The more profound, and even more precious, aims of yoga were for many years unconscious to me. What has always been the hook for me, what has always drawn me like a magnet back to the mat, was the lightness and the love couched in the laughter that floated amongst the students and teachers, and in the communities that formed around the Lila, the divine play we engaged in. It was no accident that the more playful the teacher, the more frequently I attend their classes.
Over the months, the years and now, decades of practice, it has been “Lila”, Divine Play, which has been my companion, and the gateway to all that has followed.
Over time, my connection to the lightness and laughter, the play found on my yoga mat and in the classes and studios I attended, soon provided me with my Ishta Devata (favorite deity), a central character familiar to yogis. None other than the mischievous, playful and devoted Hanuman, soon became my nickname amongst my fellow yogis. "MichaelHanuman" became a handle I lovingly embraced.
You'll find the playful Hanuman shifting his form here and there at Dhira, whether in our shop, from Dhira’s logo, to our studio in our asana practices, among Dhira’s teachers and students, across our yoga apparel and accessories, and also in the form of asanas in our classes. The name of our Yoga Studio and Shop, “Dhira”, itself is a name given to Hanuman in The Ramayana. We, and our offerings, are as devoted to and enamored of, the mischievous and playful Hanuman as he is devoted to the light, and enamored of the Sun.
The Lila you will find sprinkled on the products and art in our shop, is only possible because of my gifted partner in mischief, Dhira’s very own Goddess of the Arts, my beloved Sofia Saraswati.
Should you venture a trip around our shop, and if you listen, you will hear the echo of the words of Swami Satchidananda Saraswati spoken many years ago at a Yoga Journal Conference, and which still echoes in my ears, “Above all else, yoga is fun”.
I hope you will hear the echo too, and realize the lightness of enlightenment. I invite you to have fun, to play in our Livestreaming, On Demand, or In Studio classes. Discover the laughter amongst the many forms of Hanuman on our play clothes and play things in our Shop. May they help to not only inspire, but also to lighten, your practice.
Namaste, and come play, “Michaelhanuman”