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creating the cover
To celebrate our 35th-anniversary issue, we wanted a dramatic cover image that would be both fun and somehow symbolic of the moment. We hoped to convey the idea that while our yoga practice takes place today, in the here and now of the contemporary influences that give it its current form, it is woven from a thread of practice that existed 35 years ago—and 350 years ago, and even 3,500 years ago. We arc different people, in different times, perhaps doing different practices, but the awareness yoga represents hasn't changed.
So we started brainstorming concepts and eventually came up with enough fun ideas to create the cover and the feature "Timeless Passage" Ipage no). The cover shows Sarah McLachlan, a modern goddess of music and yoga (see "Sweet Surrender" on page 46 to read an interview with her), enjoying a strong and peaceful practice. She is standing in the sea of time, while Saraswati (India'sgoddess of learning, music, and the arts) drifts
MORE ONLINE For a video show-and-teii describing the making of the cover, see yogajournai.com/almas.
By bringing together old and new, beautiful and fantastical, we offer a novel perspective on the timeless story of yoga.
from a centuries-old temple toward the present moment, delivering wisdom, inspiration, and energy.
To bring this vision into being, we turned to Erik Almas, a talented photographer who is known for creating serenely beautiful images full of whimsy and fantasy. He started with the water, which he shot in Anguilla; the rock, in Arizona; and the mountains, in Nevada. Eventually, he added McLachlan, shot in Canada; the model Sandhya Chib-Jacob (a former Miss India), who played Saraswati, shot in California; and other bits and pieces—like Saraswati's extra arms! We've lost exact count, but it's safe to say this image is made up of at least 14 different photos.
For most Toga Journal covers, what you see is what you get, or, rather, what you sec is what we got. We choose capable yoga models, sometimes take them to spectacular settings, and then surrender to the magic of the moment. This is the first time we've applied behind-the-scenes magic—and it was fun! ❖
TIMELESS PASSAGE CREDITS: Page 110: stylist: Tracey Pincott; hair/makeup: Johnny Bellas tor Tresemme; top: Diesel: pants: Lulutemon Athletica. Pages 112-113: models from left: KK Ledford, Slim Chandra-Shekar, Joss Jaffe. Sandhya Chib-Jacob: stylist: Jasmine Hamed: hair/makeup: Prance Pierson; pages 114-115: models from left: KK Ledford. Slim Chandra-Shekar, Joss Jatfe; stylist: Jasmine Hamed; hair/makeup: rrance Pierson; KK's necklace: 925 by Jasmine served with love continued from page 128 on to when you're not confronted with real suffering," she says. "But seva means going outside of your comfort zone and extending yourself when you might normally withdraw." She says that even the term "selfless service" may be a misnomer, since seva is such a valuable spiritual practice. "I'd love to say everything I do is selfless, but there has not been one experience where I haven't gotten more from it spiritually than I could ever give."
continued on next page the origins of cpwg
Seva, or selfless service, is a traditional yogic concept, says Douglas Brooks, a Tantra scholar and professor of religion at the University of Rochester, though it wasn't always associated with humanitarian work. The Sanskrit word seva comes from the root siv, or sev (meaning to serve or to honor). "It has the meanings both of serving and of being an offering, an homage," says Brooks. "It's giving or doing something out of devotion."
The word appears freguently in the great Hindu epic the Mahabharata, and there it has the sense of honoring the ashram, or one's guru or other authority figure. In ancient India, seva was not considered a tool for alleviating social problems, says Brooks. "But there's no reason why the yoga community can't redefine and adapt this vocabulary," he explains. "If the motive stems from a spiritual principle of serving something greater than oneself, then it could be called seva."
David Frawley, a scholar of Hindu traditions and the founder of the American Institute of Vedic Studies, says the contemporary understanding of seva as serving for the good of the broader community goes back to Gandhi and other early 20th-century luminaries.
Service, he says, becomes a spiritual practice when it is done with the intention of bringing a higher consciousness into the world. Frawley adds that yoga is an ideal support for activism because it includes the pursuit of inner peace. "When we are doing outer service, we have to have the intention to bring peace into the world," he says. "Seva should always be connected to shanti [which means 'peace']."
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