On July 12th at the Atma Center, where I study and teach yoga, we celebrated Guru Poornima. Guru (teacher) Poornima (full moon) is considered a very auspicious time for Hindus and yoga aspirants. It falls in the months of June or July during the full moon and is a time for us to give thanks to our teachers (not just in yoga but in life) for their enlightened teachings by which the darkness of our ignorance is dispelled.
Traditionally, a Puju (prayer ritual) and Havan (fire ritual) are performed. Offerings such as lit candles, flowers, or fruit are placed in front and around the pictures for the puja and mantra chanting, kirtan (call and response chanting), etc.take place to assist in making the connection between teacher and student. For our celebration, and to keep compliant with the city’s fire code, we conducted a flower Havan instead of a fire Havan where we offered our gratitude for the untiring work of the guru.
Guru Poornima serves as an opportunity to reset our course as yoga aspirants. Offering thanks to all our teachers during Guru Poornima reminds us that we are not alone on this journey. There are teachers all around. We just need to be ready to receive.
So thank you to all my teachers, near and far, in yoga and in life. May I be open to your teachings and guidance and allow it to strengthen my own inner light, “or guru within” so that I may have the chance to awaken that light in others.
Hari Om Tat Sat
Photos Courtesy of Judy Evans (Jyostna)