Saturday, October 19, 2013

Luke Ketterhagen at LMU

Luke Ketterhagen came to talk last Saturday at my Yoga Teacher training program at LMU.  I have been taking this program since August.  I have gotten so busy with work and yoga training that I haven't done much art or wrote on my blog.  But I am going to start again.  I think I have come out of a deep depression and I light has turned back on in me and I am ready to blog again.

Here is Luke Ketterhagen's bio from his website

Luke Ketterhagen graduated magna cum laude from Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI with a degree in Biomedical Sciences. He then moved to the Himalayan International Institute of Yoga Science and Philosophy to study under the guidance of Pandit Rajmani Tigunait where he would spend over 7 years in residence. After receiving his yoga teacher certification from the Himalayan Institute, Ketterhagen joined their permanent staff. He authored the Asana Basics column for Yoga International magazine from December 2003 to December 2004. Luke appeared as a model in numerous editions of the 16-year-old publication as well as in the best-selling book, Yoga: Mastering the Basics. Former owner and director of Uptown Yoga in Dallas, TX, Ketterhagen was also Director of Programming and the principal teacher at East West Yoga in Manhattan during its relaunch. Currently Luke teaches classes, workshops and teacher training programs in Southern California and around the US.

Luke came in full of joy and enthusiasm not like some of the other jaded angry teachers we have had .visit us on the Yoga and the Healing Sciences program I have been in since August.  He looked to me a lot like Novak Djokovic.  Just as in shape too.  He was even able to do those super tricks with his belly I though only people in India could do.

He spent years the Himalayan Institute.  I never heard of it but when he talked about it it sounded like a wonderful place and since I grew up it Pennsylvania I felt weird that I didn't know it.
Swami Rama was the founder of the Himalayan Institute.  I looked up Swami Rama and here is the Wikipedia version of his life.

Śrī Swāmī Rāma (1925 –– 1996) was an Indian yógī. He is known for being one of the first yogis to allow himself to be studied by Western scientists. In the 1960s he allowed himself to be examined by scientists at the Menninger Clinic who studied his ability to voluntarily control bodily processes (such as heartbeat, blood pressure, and body temperature) that are normally considered to be non-voluntary (autonomic).
Luke or Swama Rama or both was all fired up about Agni.  He talked of the first lines in Rig Veda that are about offerings to Fire – Agni

Luke talks  about that what illuminates everything about us. You are Ignited with your own Agni allows you to access your own greatness potential

This is the first hymn in the Rig Veda Samhita and thus sets the keynote to the entire Veda Samhitas. It is addressed to Agni who in the Veda, is not a mere fire or even fire-god, but is a cosmic power, the Lord of the Divine Will who activates the human beings towards an all sided perfection. Here Agni himself is the priest in the symbolic ritual, he himself is the deity and he himself calls the other luminous powers or devas to manifest in the human aspirant. The human seeker prays to Agni to cling to him like a father a son.
The rishi says that he meditates on Agni, night and day. Thus we see here the seeds of the Bhakti, Jnana and Karma yogas.
The successor of Swami Rama at the Himalayan Institute was Pandit Rajmani Tigurait also known as “Panditji”

Luke talked on the teachings of enjoying objects of the world without getting lost in the world

He wrote Rasayana on the board but I don’t remember him saying anything about it.  So I looked it up.

Rasāyana, रसायन is a Sanskrit word, with literal meaning: Path (āyana) of essence (rasa). It is a term that in early ayurvedic medicine means the science of macrobiotics or lengthening lifespan, and in later (post 8th-century) works sometimes refers to Indian alchemy.

Swamji’s Mission was to bridge the technologies of West with the spiritual teachings of the East ..for people to get a glimpse of why we are here.

Luke said we want our yoga practice to permeate all aspects of our live.

Yoga Sciences teach us who we are.  Nothing teaches us that but yoga.  Yoga changes people’s lives.  Going through the yoga practices there are consequences and the consequences are profound.

Yoga is fitness but that is just the beginning

What pulls us out of health is not just physical.  What pulls us out of our health is our mind.

After yoga we find ourselves in a place of tranquility.  But that tranquility isn’t the goal.  We shouldn’t stop there. In the space of tranquility is our opportunity to go deeper.

The tranquility feeling is just the foundation for the real journey.
I think this ties into my idea to use yoga to tap into creativity and art making.

Luke says use our practice to help overcome obstacles and not to be a slave to what happens in life.

Only we can really control is ourselves.

 Luke sates that when we work on ourselves we become better conduits to help other people.

 The Yoga experience helps people heal on deep levels.

Everything is enhanced with yoga

You can find a deep sense of well being

Strength and stability inside.

Yoga creates a union of who you are in body, mind and spirit.

 I love that statement because my yoga studio in my head has been called Mind, Body, Spirit for quite some time.  It is written on a piece of paper on my refrigerator.

He referenced Yoga Sutra 1-12
Practice and not attachment

Swaha – give it to God

the full circle is yoga

He thinks Satsanga is important – the company of like minded people.  He must have had that for years at the Himalayan Institute.  He says Listen to intuition to follow free will.

Luke talked of the 3rd Chakra – Power of Self – City of Pearl

I looked it up
The position of the Manipūra Chakra is in the middle of the abdomen behind the navel; this is why it is also known as the Navel Centre. More precisely speaking, its area of influence radiates out about 7cm above and below the navel. Its counterpart in the body is the Solar Plexus.

The Manipūra Chakra is the “City of Jewels” in which we find the pearls of clarity, wisdom, self-confidence and wellbeing. Their lustre radiates down to the lower Chakras as well as up to the Heart Centre (Anāhata Chakra). The feelings of love and happiness that we feel in our heart actually originate in the Manipūra Chakra and rise from there to the Anāhata Chakra. The positive radiance emanating from the Manipūra Chakra also purifies the Svādhishthāna and Mūlādhāra Chakras and their qualities

 He states that If we haven’t been listening to ourselves we’ve poured a wet log on our fire

You get locked into what you need because it awakens your second brain

I never heard of the 2nd brain before so I looked it up. That is what I found

Ever get a gut feeling about someone, or I anxious butterflies in your stomach? That's because you have a second brain in your bowel, according to Michael Gershon, M.D., author of The Second Brain (HarperCollins, 1999), and a neurobiologist at New York's Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center. Gershon recently explained to PT how an independent network of over 100 billion neurons in the gut not only signals our bodies to stress but causes illness.

Q Why do we need a second brain?

A Most importantly, to control digestion. It also works with the immune system to protect us from hostile bacteria.

Q Does it use neurotransmitters?

A Actually, 95% of all serotonin in the body is in the gut, where it triggers digestion. Nerve cells in the gut also use serotonin to signal back to the brain. This information can train us not to eat certain foods by communicating pain, gas and other terrible feelings.

Luke states: Intuition never  leads us wrong. Practicing non-attachment creates way more balance

He asks What can trump happinesss?

Panditji’s autobiography is called “Touched by Fire”

He says in life Our real goal is to heal
I liked him.  I liked his enthusiasm.  He still had the eyes of an awed child.