Light After a Long Winter

Celebration for Pat Layton on May 2nd

May 2nd, 2021, will be Pat Layton’s first “celestial” birthday. To celebrate, Carol Nace of Bodhi Ayurveda and Kathleen Wright of Garden of Yoga will offer a day of complimentary workshops to celebrate her life and the Vedic practices near and dear to her heart. 


Many knew Pat as a devoted and passionate teacher of all things Ayurveda. Her long history includes the California College of Ayurveda, Bhavana Institute (IL), and finally at Wisconsin’s own Kanyakumari Ayurveda & Yoga Center. 


Pat was also dedicated to the teachings of Yoga. Her mentors included B.K.S Iyengar, Swami Veda and Swami Rama of the Himalayan Institute, and Vaidya Ramakant Mishra. Swami Rama revealed to her that her dharma was to be a conduit for these teachings. Her legacy lives on through her many students.



9:30-10:15 AM CST: Iyengar-inspired Yoga Class with Kathleen

10:30-11:30 AM CST: Samadhi Marma Meditation 

11:30-12:00 PM CST: Cave of the Heart Meditation


This is a virtual event offered on Zoom. Registration is required. Product recommendations for the Samadhi Meditation are included in the registration email. Allow time for shipping. Learn more and register here



See below for some musings on death from community contributors: Raka Bandyo, Heather Burkart, and Kathy Eichenger 


The Three Bodies during Death



Cycles of Birth and Death by Syamarani Dasis


Over this last year, we have seen the passing of many souls. COVID-19 has taken approximately three million people in its wake. We have all been touched by death. Here in Wisconsin, we watch it pass over us as winter, a quiet blanket lulling Mother Earth into deep sleep every year.


What happens during death? Indian philosophy teaches us about the three bodies as Karana Sharira (Causal Body), Sukshma Sharira (Subtle Body), and Sthula Sarira (Gross Body). The causal body is like a seed. It is Shakti, it is causation, and during death, it carries our subtle body and collection of karmas from one gross body into another. All the while, the light of consciousness, Atman, illuminates life for us to experience. For more information on this, check out the Vedantasara Youtube Series from the Vedanta Society of NY.


The seer (Atman, Self) is not born, nor does he die,

He does not originate from anybody, nor does he become anybody,

Eternal, ancient one, he remains eternal,

he is not killed, even though the body is killed.


If the killer thinks that he kills,

if the killed thinks that he is killed,

they do not understand;

for this one does not kill, nor is that one killed.


The Self (Atman), smaller than small, greater than great,

is hidden in the heart of each creature,

Free from avarice, free from grief, peaceful and content,

he sees the supreme glory of Atman.


-Katha Upanishad 1.2.18-1.2.20



Loss and Found: Ayurvedic Support for Grief

The cycle of holding and letting go is found in everything. Holding on for many is natural, but letting can be very hard. How hard was it for people to let go of their hopes and dreams this past year? Many have experienced the heartache of loss. Ayurvedic teachings tell us that things build up, grow, and then die. When things die and people pass, there is a loss and space created. This space initially fills with grief, an emotion each of us processes in our own way. It is the heartache of something or someone who isn't anymore.


Ayurvedic teachings and Mother Earth’s tools are there for us especially during difficult times. Vaidya Ramakant Mishra notes, “The Ashoka tree has a strong connection to consciousness. It is this "a" value of Ashoka (its connection to consciousness) which removes grief. When the heart is free of grief, the light of the gem (soul) reflects fully on the face. In this way, Ashoka helps to improve complexion from deep within. Cleaning the light of your soul.”Life is a bounce between opposites. Happy/sad, hot/cold, ups/downs, young/old, heavy/light, love/hate, beginnings/endings. On any given day, we might experience many of these. Some days are more difficult than others. When we look at a bigger picture, we can see that many of the opposites rotate in cycles. If we are depleted, our giving well is empty, but the opposites just might not hit us as hard when we find balance.


There is a touching children's book on death "Cry Heart, But Never Break" by Glenn Ringtved. In it, there is a substory about boys named Sorrow and Grief who meet girls named Delight and Joy and together they navigate the sadness of death. Opposites balancing each other.


Ayurveda offers balance in the way we nourish and nurture ourselves. We adjust and care for ourselves through food, herbs, flowers, oils, crystals, aromatherapy, mantras, yoga, meditation, sounds, and body therapies. We take note of the natural cycles of day/night, the moon, the seasons, and the stages of our life. We see death with each season as it alleviates to make way for the next. Following nature's lead – in time – brings back the ‘re’ cycle: rebirth, regrowth, reemerge, and rebalance. When we take care of ourselves, we have energy, love, and peace to give. 






Please keep in touch as the Ayurveda Association of Wisconsin emerges from a long winter. There’s much news and resources to be shared. Stay tuned!

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