Gu Ru - Darkness To Light

Dear Yogis

During the weekend with David Swenson recently he gave details about his life that he has apparently never given before. In his search for the purpose of life he studied philosophy, astrology, palmistry and past life regression. He joined the Hare Krishnas where he got up at 3.00am with a cold water bucket bath, studied scripture, did deity worship and chanted on the streets. His CV jumps from yoga to Hare Krishnas to salesman to homeless yogi. How can I encourage you to seek him out next time he’s in this country?

Here’s a definition he gave of the word ‘Guru’. Guru, he says, is made up of two words; Gu and Ru. It means ‘from darkness to light’. To illustrate the word he said this: imagine you’re in a dark cave, you have a candle but no way to light it and you’re stumbling around. Deep in the recesses of the cave you see a glow, a person with a candle. They extend their candle, yours touches it and you get light. ‘From darkness to light’. It means passing on knowledge. No demands are made, no drama.

That’s what he’s like to learn from. He simply gives you light. This is more remarkable when you think of the strictness of the old school teachers including his teacher Pattabhi Jois who’s own teacher Krishnamacharya was known as the ‘Lion Guru’. He would bark and yell and injure. He had three famous students, his brother-in-law BKS Iyengar, his son Desikachar and Pattabhi Jois. Iyengar was fierce and had a stick to hit people with! Pattabhi Jois would show his students a deep scar from Krishnamacharya. Desikachar refused to learn yoga because his dad was so mean. When he was a child, he would hide in a tree so that he wouldn’t have to practice yoga. When he came down, Krishnamacharya would tie him up in a posture, tie his hands to his feet, and leave him for three hours in the yard. Desikachar didn’t practice till he was fifty!

Home Studio

There’s only mild tying up in my home classes. No sticks! And there’s plenty of room in all but the 7.30 Tuesday class next week. And you’re welcome to bring your asana requests to class and I’ll be your DJ. One yogi this week wanted Mayurasana -take a look at the link – it’s me a few years ago with David Garrigues! It’s doable. You can see what classes are available on my website. Also attached on this email.


I’m wondering what to book for 2019. Let me know what you’re doing.

Yoga in the news

The Business Standard in India tells us: Yoga exposition in Pune to mark BKS Iyengar's birth centenary. 1,000 people from 50 different countries are expected to attend over a week of celebrations.

The New York Times gives us: How to Relax With Yoga. Not an article but give a little 3 minute routine which is nicely filmed and edited. That’s all!

Reuters tells us: ‘Yoga, acupuncture might ease menopause hot flashes’. Women tested acupuncture, attended yoga sessions or took health and wellness education classes. Not surprisingly, their health improved. This would improve anyone’s health! It’s not news!

Crocodile Pose with David Swenson November 2018.png