[ click the "Play" button to hear Susan's interview with Alanna]
Alanna Kaivalya was included in a Yoga Journal article featuring "Top 21 Instructors in the U.S. under 40." She returns to Telluride on the heels of her recent visit to town for the first annual Telluride Yoga Festival this past July, having woven her spell over that magical weekend. This time the senior Jivamukti instructor is here to teach a yoga workshop, "Compassion Through Action," in support of the San Miguel Resource Center.
On Saturday night, February 7, the SMRC holds its only public fundraiser, the 14th annual Chocolate Lovers' Fling. The SMRC is the region's only nonprofit that helps victims of domestic violence and sexual assault and offers prevention education.
Appropriately, the theme of Alanna's workshop is "Compassion Through Action," and book II, sutra 35 from the "Yoga Sutra's of Patanjali," the first and foremost scripture if Yoga, provides the leitmotif:
"Ahimsa Pratisthayam Tat Samnidhau Vaira Tyagah or "In the presence of one firmly established in non-violence, all hostilities cease."
Alanna herself is all about “nada,” which is not nothing: It is everything. One of the five tenets of Jivamukti Yoga, nada is the development of a sound body and mind through deep listening. “At its core, deep listening is all about understanding our environment on a vibrational level. Science has taught us that our world is made up of vibrations. We ourselves are vibrations. It stands to reason then that one of the best ways to effect change is through sound. The term itself has an esoteric vibe, but nada is nothing more than a practical way to access our inner and outer world.”
Alanna’s website is “JivaDiva,” which means that the “jiva” or soul is infused with a beat or vibration, the rhythm of the diva. “This divine vibration connects us all and becomes the touchstone for the rhythms of my classes.”
Deep listening is the leitmotif of Alanna’s life. She was born with a hearing impairment, but always listened closely for answers in silence: “It was evident right from the get-go that I either listen up or tune out. Unafraid, I forged ahead, always sitting in the front row of class, blasting the stereo, in the middle of conversations I found interesting.”
Nada is where Alanna’s yoga starts, but as in all Yoga tradition, the physical practice (asana) is merely the gateway to self-discovery that ultimately leads to an understanding of the Divine.
Bottom line, however intense, the physical practice is much more than exercise. It is part of a whole package designed for personal growth and development: – physical, mental, emotional and spiritual – and a way to make space for new ideas or a better understanding of old ideas such as compassion.
During the workshop, students will explore ahimsa (compassion) and satya (compassionate truth) through asana, meditation and chanting.
The workshop is open to all levels: “No matter where you are in your practice, you are not alone in finding some things I might ask of you incredibly challenging. No matter what level your practice, you should be proud that you are willing to try whatever comes up. Willingness to be present is my main requirement.”
To learn more about Alanna and her workshop, click the "play" button and listen to her podcast.