On October 2, 2011, I led a class of 3,000 yogis, all in white, on the Champ de Mars near the Eiffel Tower’s Wall for Peace to honor Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday and the United Nations’ International Day of Peace.
Whether I’m lost, found, late, early, confused or completely uplifted, Paris offers me lessons on Light — on being light, on absorbing light, on offering light. I’ve been teaching there twice a year for seven years, and my dream of teaching a class about the Light of True Gratitude and Peace in front of the Eiffel Tower has finally come true.
With this photo essay, I honor my beloved city of Light, Paris.
Paris breaks my heart open every time; of course this broken heart cloud was in the sky as I arrived there a few days ago.
These freesias and this entire magical vision of white flowers are definitely meant for my mama right now. Love you, Mimi.
Walking with Marc Holzman, one of a handful of American teachers who’ve moved to Paris, I feasted my eyes on La Tour Eiffel for the first time during this trip, along with the crisscrossing cloud lines and again, that Light!
My apartment this weekend was prepared by Sandra C., a true angel in Paris, who arranged these and many more flowers all over the house. Upon arrival I placed my crystals, an offering of fruit and a favorite new book, Be Love Now by Ram Dass, to create a little puja. Within moments, bien sur, the Light came in through the window.
The Anusara® instruction in this city for the past seven years is unparalleled. Here is a collection of gorgeous students from France, Italy, Germany, Switzerland and the States — all so strong, with meticulously clear alignment and super soft hearts.
The Lovers — perfect example of what Paris does to folks. Look at the Light in the Love!
These are the people who greeted me and lit me up: Clockwise, from left: Marc Holzman of Guerilla Yogi teaches worldwide and on Yogaglo; David Newbery and his beloved Uma of Geneva Switzerland, masters of Light, Love, Art, Indian Cuisine and Yoga; Anne Vandewalle of Yoga Planete in Paris who created the Anusara community in Paris seven years ago and continues to sustain it; Kai Hill (left), new owner of City Yoga Berlin, with Andrea Boni (right), one of the top Anusara and Siddha Yoga translators and my new Italian soul brother.
Les prieres. La lumiere. Enough said.
The night in Paris is still illuminated. This photo came out looking like a painting; I’m now creating a large-scale rendering of it for my new home.
This is the “Peace” wall that overlooks the Champ de Mars, where we held the White Yoga Session.
The class. We honored Mahatma Gandhi’s birth and work that day, recognizing with gratitude the millions of interactions and relationships that have been impacted by his commitment to peace, truth and freedom. Magique.
Rodney Yee, one of my first and still favorite teachers, once taught the concept of ahimsa as a quality of complete integration, of cohesiveness; more than simply non-violence, ahimsa is a feeling of coherence both within ourselves, and around us. Vanda Scaravelli implored her students to “Be in adherence with the present moment.” 3,000 of us were in that delicate place of presence; we could feel gratitude everywhere. We are lucky to have this practice.
Et Paris, je t’adore.