Checkin' yo'self and the importance of cultivating your own personal Yoga Sadhana.
I am coming up to my last week in Mysore! I can't believe how quickly the time has passed. While I admit, I am ready to go home in a week, I am still savoring every moment here. Most days I've been very tired, exhausted even. I’m not going to lie - the past two weeks were a bit tough. First, Sharath moved my practice time to 5:00 am which meant that just as I was starting to acclimate to a regular time, my time was moved back 4 hours. So another couple days of adjusting to waking up at 3:30 am to make my way down to the shala for a 4:30 am practice.
It's still dark at 4:30 am! No complaints.
I was very home sick on top of feeling exhausted last Thursday and instead of following my intuition, I pushed myself to go to all my classes that day - which meant that Friday I was a bit of a zombie. Kleśa and Karma at work. So this past week I've been taking it day by day, really listening to my body and doing the best with the tools I have to determine how much I can do in each given day.
There is a fine line between avoidance, laziness and knowing that you can apply more energy and effort without causing further suffering.
This is where individual intellect comes to play. No one knows your body, your energy requirements and capacity, only you yourself really know where your limits are.
When we step onto the mat every day, we face this lesson again and again. These "perceived boundaries" also shift and change over time. The practice teaches us how to adjust to these changes - whether it is an injury, a major life event, or the inevitable process of aging. Yoga is flexibility of the mind. Yoga is a life time journey of personal transformation.
Last Saturday was the second day of conference. I am not going to write in detail about what Sharath spoke about as he specifically requested that people NOT share conference notes online. I have not taken notes for the conferences so far, I find it interesting to come home after, sit down for a while and contemplate on the lessons that stick. I have pages of post conference notes and reflections but am opting to keep them private to respect Sharath's wishes.
Yes, there is some repetition in the conferences from season to season - and sometimes you hear things differently the second, third, fifth time around. Sometimes - you may not be ready to absorb a lesson yet.
“If students want to learn these teachings, they should come here and learn.”
Some would disagree and say - hey share! But there are things that can only be learned through direct experience. Reading and book knowledge IS important - however it does not replace the amalgamation of wisdom that occurs from developing your own personal Yoga Sādhanā. Being in Mysore is part of my personal sādhanā.
I could write about it all day long, but really - just like how my personal experience of yoga is not going to be the same as another person’s journey, the way I encounter Mysore will be inherently different than yours. It's also a little different every time.
There WAS one lesson from last Saturday's conference that has stuck with me.
“A full vessel does not make noise. A partially full vessel, 20%, 30% knowledge makes A LOT of noise. Beware of those on social media who only have partial knowledge of yoga making a lot of noise.”
In this age of expanding public knowledge of yoga, more and more people are exposed to the physical limb of the practice. They see super bendy, physically adept people on Instagram and You Tube demonstrating postures. They see these images and then push themselves to perform these postures. They start developing an agenda around their practice.
"I am going to get Supta Kurmasana by this and that date."
I will admit, I've been susceptible to this in the past, and YES, because I didn't check myself, I wrecked myself. How many times have I done this in other areas of my life?
This is what the practice has taught me personally.
But as I wrote in a previous post - The Power of Practice - I stopped taking photos and posting them when I realized that I really didn't know very much about the practice. I was just skimming the surface. The first 7 years that I was practicing asana - I wasn't really tapping into wisdom of the practice. Doing yoga rather than living yoga.
I talked a lot about the practice, I enrolled in a teacher training and started teaching before I had really cultivated my own personal yoga sādhanā.
This year, has brought a lot of change. Both personally and professionally. Which brings me to share the shift in my teaching schedule this summer. For the students who have been coming to my classes the past 4 years - first off, thank you for allowing me to guide you. Those who have been coming regularly to the public classes have seen the changes in how I've approached teaching over time. A few have expressed resistance to the change, admitting outright that they did not like it. A few have moved on and a few have stuck through it. This is ok, we have grown together in the practice.
This summer, I made the decision to create more balance in my family and working life and allow myself the time to JUST BE A YOGA STUDENT for a while. This impacted all the public classes that I've been teaching - and I wasn't quite ready to share the reasons behind the inception of cutting back from teaching 15 to 9 classes and finally down to 2 classes a week.
I have not quit teaching completely because truly, teaching is part of my personal dharma. It is my heart's passion, no matter how tired I may be, when I teach, I feel a deep connection to the vibration of life.
For now, however I am working on filling the vessel. For now, I am teaching smaller classes and focusing on teaching one on one - working with individual students who are interested in cultivating their own sadhana. I still don't feel completely ready and so am taking it slowly, step by step at at time. This may be completely maddening for us in the west who are super goal oriented. I however find in this environment, one one on, agendas are shed and the pressure to perform in front of other students in a public space is dampened.
So while I truly, deeply miss everyone I've connected with in the community classes, it is my hope that you will continue to connect to the practice. It is a lifetime journey. Continue to develop your own sādhanā. Enjoy the process and keep breathing.
With love from Mysore.