Seva Highlight: Chuck George and Yoga at Shambhala Meditation Center

Seva Highlight is a monthly column about those in our community who embody seva, or selfless service performed with a loving heart. Want to nominate someone for a Seva Highlight? Email Suzanne and let her know about your favorite yogi do-gooder.

Shambhala Meditation Center is located in downtown Albany near Washington Park. The center offers a number of programs to, as they say, make “enlightened society a possibility.” Programs range from full weekend retreats to classes in meditation, philosophy, chanting, and even yoga.

Shambhala Meditation Center in Albany, NY

For the past few years, I have been involved with the Shambhala Meditation Center with hopes of finding a sangha (community) to discuss yoga philosophy and spirituality. In my daily life of being a yogi, I have found myself feeling a bit stunted in various yoga classes as the primary and often only practice is yoga asanas (postures). Yoga is so much more than the asanas—it is a philosophy, to some a religion, a way of life. It is something I practice, eat, breathe, and dream of everyday. I have been hungry to share my experiences with others and learn from theirs. This is why I was so happy to meet Chuck George, owner of Davey Jones’ Locker at Albany’s Shambhala Meditation Center. Chuck teaches yoga on Mondays and Fridays before and after hour-long guided meditation sessions. Chuck’s class is his own unique and individual style developed from years of spiritual research. Chuck has most people smiling and laughing within moments of meeting him—his light shines bright and it tickles those around him. When I met him, his aura was infectious—he left me with a grin from ear to ear. While Chuck has been traditionally trained, his style is influenced by many of the spiritual books he reads, such as: books by Osho, Ram Das, and even Nischala Joy Devi’s book, A Woman’s Guide to the Heart and Spirit of the Yoga Sutras. There are many other books, but as Chuck says, “You don’t necessarily have to go to the ancients—the world is screaming wisdom everyday, you just have to turn into it.” His unique and beautiful style is charged with wisdom aimed at helping his “students and (him)self come to a better place.” Chuck’s class is like doing an expressive dance. I found myself moving to the poetry of his words, doing movements I had never done before, all the while feeling confident in the unknown. He coached me to “expand out of a little crunched up ball and let my inner light shine outward.”

[blockquote author=”Chuck George” pull=”normal”]“You don’t necessarily have to go to the ancients—the world is screaming wisdom everyday, you just have to turn into it.”[/blockquote]

“It is a great pleasure to attend yoga led by Chuck twice a week at the center. This is not a strenuous exercise. It is a well-thought-out breathing and stretching session that awakens the body. He intersperses the movements with poetic imagery that inspires a clear mind and spaciousness. His imagery of the vast sky awakens the mind.” ~Irene Murray