Thursday, November 19, 2009

Hear Me Roar

The time for former women disciples to come together, "in numbers too big to ignore" as Helen Reddy sings in her famous song, is now.

With the huge exception of Jayanti Tamm -- and her book Cartwheels in a Sari -- there have been precious few examples of what the disciple life was like from a woman's perspective.

That should change.

There are now scores of women who spent significant time in the Center leading extremely disciplined lives, who are now living outside the shadow of the Center, standing on their own, each of whom have distinct and unique voices.

I'd really like to hear from them (you all know who you are).

And I don't mean just in guest posts here (though I love them). What I'm really advocating is a site for women, by women. Something like a spiritual Double X site.

I take inspiration again from Jayanti, who is perhaps laying the foundation for such a site at her blog -- read the latest lion's roar here.

That's Helen Reddy in the photo above.


JEEVAN said...

For some reason your post makes me think of Kalanadi from Anam Brahma.
You had Nishta, Pranica( Dipali) Shefuli. The Trinity whom I never saw in the kitchen at the restaurant. Then there was who was ever running the kitchen. Then there was Kalanadi. I remember once the kitchen boss getting out of carrying something because guru said women should not lift over 15 lbs. And I thought how does this place run? Then I saw Kalanadi going up and down the stairs slugging multiple 50 lb. bags of dhal and rice. She was a hero. I would be washing dishes at 2-am in the steamy basement she would be there doing things. When I would come in the morning she would be there. She was like a double Ph.D or something. Definitly a true Karma-Yogi!

Y. said...

Hey Bro!

Agreed on Kalanadi. She was a hero. I've thought of her often over the years. Incredibly smart woman who renounced all.

Certainly, by the time I was washing dishes on Wednesday nights at AB, Nishta, Pranika and Shephuli were at the top of the food chain. But they were still very hard workers and I imagine they spent more than their fair share of hours in that kitchen throughout the 70s and 80s.

I always had great affection for those women. (No, this is not an invite for criticism, thanks.)

Amba said...

Hi Yogaloy!

That`s a very good idea. I was thinking the day before about this. But how about that the same opportunity be given after that also to the man exdisciples?

Anonymous said...

A site for women by women could be cool. But a site about spirituality for and by all of us might be even cooler. A move toward segregation of the sexes reminds me too much of the SCC centre. Do we really want to replicate that paradigm? When I left the center, one of many things that struck me about my renewed civilian life was how much mixing with the opposite sex taught me about the masculine as well as the feminine within myself. In my view, the SCC centre was pretty "old world" in its segregation of the sexes. It's a remnant of earlier generations, of older, distant cultures. Granted in small doses it has its place. But it seems to me that the progress of human civilization as a whole actually depends on the integration of the masculine and the feminine.

Y. said...

I wouldn't disagree with anything you've said ... I agree.

But we've heard so little from women generally, and women in the Center specifically, about how they've thought about yoga, about what their personal ideals are.

I never thought of Guru as my father, but apparenly lots of women did. I suspect some women didn't. I'd like to hear about it.

With few exceptions, the modern yoga tradition is very male centric. So, in that spirit, I'd love to see some of our sister disciples get in the driver's seat and raise issues that are important to them.

I hope it's obvious that I'm sympathetic, but let's face it: I'm a guy, practically a Neandrathal -- there's only so far I can go!! ;)

Finally, I just think the more blogs and websites and books -- the more platforms there are -- the better.


Anonymous said...

It is rather interesting for me to read the blog. Thank you for it. I like such topics and anything connected to them. I definitely want to read a bit more soon.

Y. said...

You're very welcome and thank you for reading.

You and others are always more than welcome to email me privately (and off the record) if you'd like. Just click on my profile below and that will give you my email link (

Thanks again.

sunirmalya said...

Helen Reddy??? How old are you Yogaloy? It's pretty sad - old man if we have to go to Helen Reddy for help..

i am sorry - "i am woman here me roar" - sounds so patronising it feels like nails on a chalkboard..

sunirmalya said...

sorry Y. i am a hypocrite, i love Oprah..

Anonymous said...

Wow, what a soap opera – I'd say the guru did his job, lit one divinely transformative fire. For those who are looking for knowledge of human interaction with the divine, from a woman's perspective read Karen Armstrong. It could help to get those cobwebs out of the head.

Elizabeth K. Kracht said...

Anonymous 2:47:

Thanks for the suggestion of reading Karen Armstrong. For others, here's a TED video of her speaking: