I never know who is going to be interested in yoga, and when students arrive for the first day of training they come in all shapes, sizes, ages and abilities. Looking out at them, even after 5 years of leading teacher training courses 6 - 8 times per year, I still can't guess which ones will embrace the practice of teaching completely. If there is a commonality shared by the students I've had that have become great teachers, it is their ability to concentrate. Whether this is innate or learned I don't know, but when I look out into a pair of steady, soft eyes it feels good - feels like home. And curiosity, too, is a common element- there are students who seek to know, and there are students who seek to...seek. They enjoy the process of learning, entirely apart from making final decisions. Maybe that is why they show up in my trainings - the attraction to inquiry I feel is mirrored by them.
In the courses I teach I try to make each day as practical as possible, to give the students tools they can use to teach effectively. Hatha yoga is in many ways a very practical practice. Learning how the body works, how the poses integrate and expand consciousness (because if the body is expanding, so's awareness). But often I feel that the physical yoga is also just a way to become present. Teaching the practice is a way to become aware of one's own presence amidst others.
Thursday, January 26, 2012
Saturday, January 14, 2012
Seeing Charles Eisenstein speak 2 nights in a row in Port Moody and Vancouver felt like... a Deja Vu experience I've never had. I've seen old footage of Jidda Krishnamurti speaking, and the reaction of the audience to him. Listening to Charles, I was moved on an intellectual and emotional level, but both at once. This has never happened to me listening to anyone before. There was also a very strong positive reaction from the audience to the awareness that came through his words - we all felt it. I'm slightly too young to have been to Woodstock, but I imagine that movement must have felt, in a way, similar.
Jidda Krishnamurti spoke for years of an "inner revolution" of inquiry - of not taking things we've learned as absolute truths. I believe Jidda grew tired of trying to explain "how" to become more conscious. I fear that Charles may have the same challenge. It seems to me that awareness can be brought to a group through an individual's own strength in that regard, but cannot be left behind when he leaves. Charles speaks of a new world of interconnected individuals remembering their deepest connections, and the natural compassion resulting from that remembrance.
The shadow side of a community, or a tribe, or any group is that as it includes it must by nature exclude. Whether it is a group of sports fans, Ashtanga Vinyasa Yogis, or a group of concerned citizens, there rests, embedded in us, an "us and them" mentality of separation. If you are "in" then someone else must be "out" - separation again. Charles has left that behind, heart and mind. As I watched the crowd begin to "whoop' collectively at some of the observations Charles made, a soft alarm bell began to ring in my chest, and that alarm said something like "Each of us must find our own way, and meet further down the trail, where no words are necessary".
It was a blessing to hear Charles speak.