Dec 23, 2010

Our foundation; Saraswati, a River, and a Swan.

 The Herstorical Roots from where we lift off...Swan River Yoga dug it's roots into the earth beneath sea level here in New Orleans first in 1998. Founded by Michele Baker, she began teaching in New Orleans just after her first yoga teacher training with Sivananda. Her first classes taught were in the Bywater on Piety street, and at the New Orleans Athletic Club.

After Hurricane Katrina, and finding the community disheartened and dispersed, Michele became very inspired to bring the community together in yet an even deeper way, in a building where healers, other teachers could be trained and teach, and numerous diverse events, healings, massage, could take place...

                                                                Thus Swan River Yoga.

She began writing 2 books while she was forced to leave her flooded home; A" Swan River Yoga Teacher Training Manual", and "Sacred Chants Iluminating Consciousness", already land marking her dream in writing, though there was no guarantee of being able to move back, due to the levees break of surging waters.

Her greatest goal become to share the joy she has always felt as a teacher by offering trainings, and to open the doors of Swan River Yoga, determined to come back, and to have a more healing relationship with water.

One key element had to be there before this could happen fully... meeting her business partner and fellow Jivamukti peer, Keith Porteous. Once these 2 converged, the cycle was complete. So many others have come into the mix now, and this potential has given us now 4 yoga studios in 3 years time. Each person has been a vital addition to the whole and reflects such benevolence and greatness in their servitude.

The first yoga studio opened in 2008 on Magazine street, along with the first ever in recorded history Yoga Teacher Training, Swan River Yoga Shala in March of 2008.

Holy Waters...Saraswati, a River, and a Swan.

Our region has a unique relationship with water, and we are being invited to deepen it.In India, a river is very holy. It represents our central channel, loaded with goodness and vast, infinite potential. When our central channel is clear, we are ourselves and in total union with the luminous life force. To deepen our relationship with water, we hope to bond with the grand waters and our own inner waters, deepening and healing the flow of our lives.

Our "Ishta Dev", or the personal energy in the form of Goddess that we desire to connect with the most, is Saraswati. The vertical direction of the stem of a lotus is represented by the Goddess Saraswati, connecting us to Mother Earth and Father Sky; as above, so below. She is the great reminder of the expansive ability to hear this in our lives.  The linear shape of the stem represents great organization and Cosmic order. The stem is like an antenna, reminding us of our ability to transmit and receive. Saraswati is the Goddess of refinement, art, methodology, the stars, music, and celestial knowledge. Lotus stems grow longer than any other in their environment. The stem mirrors our ability to draw into the wild, unknown darkness and experience it as something informative and organized from which we can grow and evolve. Evolution will bring greater wisdom and appreciation for where we came from, as we align with the great Cosmic web, creating more art, music, and beauty.A swan is found at the side of the great Goddess Saraswati in Yoga. Saraswati is the creative force, the Cosmic stellar birth of reality. She delivers eloquence in the healing aspects of art, music, dance and sound.Sound is thought to be the birth of our existence. To embrace sound is to come back to the source of our creation, knowing that this can happen at any moment.

The swan is the experience of our Highest Self and brightest potential.The swan swims in murky, dark waters, seducing us into our Highest potential, and elegantly reflecting to us our poise amongst struggle .May we bathe as the swan in artful connection together, experiencing the dynamic celebration and gratitude of our lives, which is new at each moment.

The 4 Tenets of Swan River Yoga

Swan River Yoga has 4 tenets that mile mark the experience you will have at any studio location or with any teacher that has trained in this method. Everyone involved with Swan River desires and embodies these things. It is why it is such a high vibrational, blessed group of light beings.

1. Community; We find community to be the modern day translation of what yoga truly is. If one person is left behind in their evolution, we are all left behind. Practicing yoga now means beings concerned about others, and getting them involved in their own independence. Community comes first at Swan River. Everyone that comes to us, or facilitates healing in some way, has a tremendous amount to give, and we want to see it. To us, it is about activating the Highest in each person so we may celebrate their greatness. It is important to know that is is possible to always have a place to go to vibe on the direct , positive transmission of one another, counting on a chosen family tribe. We are in service to our community, and want everyone to shine equally, and in the Highest.
2. Integrity; Every teacher must sign an extensive Ethics form to teach at any of our locations. To have the humble opportunity to serve others is a tremendous gift and High responsibility that we do not take lightly. We know the trusting purity of the relationships we are cultivating, and maintain daily practices ourselves to provide consistent quality to all that we serve, to the best of our human capacity. It is important to us to always do our best, and give our optimal. We are all reflecting to you your greatest potential and we are so blessed that you come to see what that is. We are so humbled by the trust bestowed to us. It keeps us working very hard to heal and clear ourselves, so that we have the best to give in every way.
3. Art; We honor the exciting diversity of all beings. The more different the better. We invite all walks of life to be with us. We never want to promote homogeny. We promote Oneness. Yogis are radical beings, and those that want to get to the roots of all things are wild, even in their loving compassion. Yogis are making art, in the form of asana, song, dance, spoken word, and a creative life style. Yogis are bold beings that enjoy going first, stepping forward, dissolving boundaries, and seeing things in unusual, dynamic, and celebratory ways. We highly promote this at Swan River. We promote our classes being taught creatively and honoring all of the paths of yoga as art forms. We promote our students beings as unique in their experience as possible, and openly revealing it, feeling comfortable and accepted in who they are. This is an exciting way to learn and grow. We want to be sure we give out the real deal.
4. Beauty; Beauty comes in all forms. It is not always so obvious at first. It is not always what seems pretty. Challenge can be beautiful. It is what brought Swan River Yoga to it's resurrection, and brought us all together. Every student should leave Swan River Yoga feeling life affirmed and more beautific, whether they are in challenge or celebration. Yoga is our lives. It is not a separate practice. When we connect with the beauty of the moment, and we are here and now, there is total alignment of the Grace of the great River. It is our goal that, to the best of our ability, as a teacher or in our studios, each student always leave with this direct experience of grace flowing through them like a river. If they do not feel life affirmed, we as leaders and teachers must directly look into ourselves to see what we overlooked in our desire to serve in the highest. In all things, we wish to exemplify a quality of beauty.

 "The river is flowing, flowing and flowing, the river is flowing back to the sea. Mother carry me, your child, I will always be. Mother carry me, back to the sea." Celtic Folk Song

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