Today the moon is full. It marks the celebration of a special kind of relationship, the Teacher and Student. This holiday is known in India as Guru Purnima. Purna comes from the Sanskrit word for Fullness—the fullness of truth, represented by the full phase of the moon. This particular moon is dedicated specifically to our teachers, our Gurus.
In 2016 I helped film an interview with original western Ashtanga Yoga teacher David Williams, we asked him what the meaning of a Guru was. He replied, “The Guru’s candle is lit. The guru is someone who, in the darkness, touches their candle to yours, so that you can see for yourself. Guru means, ‘From Darkness to Light.’
Today we celebrate the ones who have lit something within us that allows us to see what we could not before. This includes our formal Teachers, and also the Teacher Archetype that moves through all of us all the time. Each day we meet others who stand before us ready to teach, if we are open to learning what the lesson is. Today, we honor the humility and wondrous child-like quality of the student mind as well, for how could we have teachers at all, unless we are able to find this quality of openness again and again?
So today I feel it is appropriate to express my gratitude and celebration of all of my teachers back up the line as far as I know. I honor my first Teacher Andrew Eppler, for so strongly holding the authentic space for our evolution. You have blessed the world with your work. I honor Andrew’s first teacher, and a father and grandfather to all of us, Ray Eppler for bringing the practice from Hawaii, to red dirt Oklahoma, teaching your son to stare at a candle and watch his mind and bring vitality to his body as he grew into a man. So much respect and love and gratitude for you and Carmen. I am praying for your family. I honor Baba Cliff (pictured above,) a yogi of lifelong dedication to the ascetic path, for sharing the practice with Grandfather Ray in Hawaii, and making a bunch of hitchhikers a big part of our lineage. And on back, I honor Danny Paradise via Sweet Baba David Williams on Maui, the most charmingly southern accented Yogi I’ve ever had the privilege to learn from, who is one of the few of us who didn’t miss the point, and inspires me to bring my practice down to earth. I honor David’s Teacher, and I honor his Teacher’s Teacher, Sri T. Krishnamacharya the teacher of all of us western Yogis. So much thanks we put at his feet. Finally, Sri. BNS Iyengar of Mysore, student of Krishnamacharya, who my original teacher Andrew Eppler studied with for over 20 years, along with my dear friend and teacher Bryce Delbridge who has helped me to learn to heal myself and others and Joey Paz, who works tirelessly with me to bring a vision of Ashtanga Yoga that is authentic and free to Arcata.
May we all come with the good intention of learning and good will; of teaching with compassion at the right times; of allowing wisdom to flow through us, rather than from us. Happy full moon and Guru Purnima to all of you!
May the fire that burns at the center of all beings burn brightly, we thank all who have allowed our flame to grow.
In Loving Memory: Post Update 7/17
I received word today that our beloved Patriarch, Ray Eppler, transitioned away from his earthly form today, as the sun rose to its highest point in that big Oklahoma Sky that he lived his life under. My heart is raw with gratitude to have been one of many to receive the huge blessings that Ray and his family gifted the community with their life’s work. I once nearly knocked the man out, with his two silver braids streaming down to his waist, when we bumped heads rolling around in a David Williams workshop (Garbha Pindasana.) Some of the most healing moments of my life took place within the sacred space of his Teepee. May your spirit fly free, completely unadorned and shining with the radiance of the soul. I thank the Great Spirit for your example. I thank the four directions for the gift of your life.