Sunday, July 17, 2011

End of yoga teacher training weekend 4: More musings...

I'm in a very "museful" place these days, lol (new word, I just added it to the dictionary).  What's amazing is that for all the confusion and conflict I feel about the yoga these days, I can never deny one thing--I never want the training weekends to end.  I can't believe that it's almost over.  Just 3 more weekends, a little over a month, left of the training and then we're finished.  It kind of feels like it's just started again, because the other teacher (Jennie) has stepped in and taken over the teaching.  It actually kind of reminds of how Jennie described reincarnation.  She described it as starting the next life at the place where you left off at the last one, but retaining all of the knowledge and lessons from the last one.  That's kind of what this feels like with switching teachers mid-training--like I've left one part behind and started at a new place.  Some old patterns have left, some still hang around :)  I really like how Jennie teaches, though it's hard to put a finger on exactly  what it is about it.  It feels like there's more structure and guidance, but it also feels like there's more...freedom?  I'm not sure if that's the exact word, but it's kind of that feeling.  Also like there's more trust, and kind of like we're closer to the same level.  Whereas Natasha is...well, Natasha, lol.  She's kind of a big deal in the yoga world.  She's amazing, and a really down to earth person, but sometimes it feels like there's some kind of distance there.  It could also just be me :)

It also feels like the group of people in the training is starting to come together more--like something has shifted and we've gotten closer to each other.  Again, maybe it is just me, and that I've started to become more open and close to the people in my training.  But it also feels a little more universal--like the initial groups of friends that formed are crossing and meshing together.  I'm not sure how it happened, but it kind of feels like the shift happened during Saturday's philosophy section, after one of the people in the training basically talked about wanting guidance, direction and connection outside of the training--to that same kind of open and deep connection to like-minded people that we have when we're together.  It almost seemed like she was at the place I was at for a lot of last year and sometimes still find myself in--not knowing how to live in this world; knowing what we know and experiencing all of the things that we have.  How do you go back to living in a world where sometimes everything around you seems superficial and almost fake?  Where you feel like you can no longer relate to the people around you and that you used to? 

It's definitely scary and feels very isolating and lonely.  But, for me, it's by realizing that we're all essentially working towards the same things--and struggling with the same issues.  Even the person who seems superficial and consumed by the desire to accumulate the best and most expensive material things.  It's not the things that they're truly seeking, it's the feeling that they have when they get it: a sense of worth, respect, connection to similar people, connection to something greater than you, joy, peace, strength and security, love...when you break it down to the bare essentials, to the roots, it really seems like we're all actually searching and craving the same things, it's just expressed differently.  I realized it by talking to other people, anyone--not just yoga people.  Random people on the trains and buses, co-workers, bosses...when I really listen, with full attention, I literally heard them saying the same things I was feeling and working with.  Jennie said that there is a saying that when you're ready and the time is right, your guru will find/come to you--or you will find him/her, something to that effect.  I think that's very true and so many times, it comes from completely unexpected places, not just in the yoga world.  For example, the more we read about the sutras and how it describes how to relate to people, the more I'm impressed with my former boss.  In so many ways, he found and accomplished exactly what the sutras suggest.  I don't think I ever realized how much I learned from him or from working in that job.  Anyways, my point is that there are many "gurus" out there--experts in their fields who have found peace, ease, clarity and light in areas or times that are dark, scary and confusing; and they exist throughout the world and across vocations, cultures, philosophies, and religions.  The challenge is to be open to it not coming from expected places and to be willing to really listen and connect.  Even if it's only something you need to hear for a few minutes--rather than months or years of instruction--the information and the person you need to hear it from it out there.

The teaching assistant (Tamara) also said that we all have an inner guru, or teacher.  Think about all the things that we have encountered and overcome in our lives thus far--somewhere inside us is an inner compass, or guide, that knows exactly what we need--even if it's outside guidance, it knows where and how to find it.  Calming ourselves enough to hear it?  Now that's a real challenge!  So many old habits exist in our mind and body that block access to it (I found out this weekend that the Sanskrit word for those are called, "samskaras.")  I really see it come up in me when it comes to teaching.  Formal setting with people watching that I know know more than me and are better than me: I shut down and feel like I don't know what I'm doing or talking about.  I feel very stupid, incompetent and weak.  Take away the setting and the people and I end up teaching spontaneously to some random person I don't know: the words and knowledge that I've acquired flows out easily, naturally and confidently.  It's rather annoying and frustrating that the block and behavioral/emotional pattern exists.  But, knowing that the knowledge and capability does indeed exist somewhere inside of me is a huge comfort and encouragement.

And that's the thing, accessing it--that inner guide/teacher or just simply the place of knowledge--requires openness, patience & compassion (yourself included!), the willingness to change (even if you don't know what the change is), a calm mind and the willingness to really listen-both to yourself and the world around you.  No matter how frustrated with "the outside world" I get sometimes, I'm always reminded that it is a source of feedback, inspiration and connection, not something to be completely shut out.  I have by no means perfected this--or am even at a point where I find it regularly!  I catch glimpses of it.  But I'm working on it and towards it :)

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