This year, I was planning on taking or retaking my exam. The Iyengar family decided to revamp the exams. The focus is on practice and an effort to make the whole process more egalitarian. It will discourage running up the certification ladder and more emphasis on practice for your own study not for a test.
This put a wrench in my plans. To get here, ready to take the test was a huge effort on so many levels. In the end, I still practice, study and learn it doesn't matter if I'm taking a test. But there was a part of me that wanted to get that retake out of my past and move forward. I will move forward regardless. I might have just been set free.
There are huge changes happening in the world and in our small community. Differing opinons and views of events that lead to division.
I've been thinking a lot about the concept of belonging and what it all means. How can one be a part of a group but have a different opinion than others? How can you be loyal (that is a tricky word) while having your own thoughts and opinions? What happens when you do something or think something that is different than the group? Are you no longer part of the team? Are you a traitor? And what behavior qualifies you in or out? Where do we draw the line? Is there or should there be a line?
I have dedicated many years to the Iyengar community and practice. I've probably committed more to this than anything in my life. I'm not a huge groupie. In high school when I was granted access to the most popular group, I felt like a fraud and quietly left my envied social status to the shock of the rest of the student body. Within this motley crew of misfits of the Iyengar world, I have found my closest friends.
But by nature, I am a questioner and I'm always just on the edge looking in. I'm not sure the future but I do know that we all have to find our own unique selves and voices.
Isn't this what yoga is anyways? A union; connecting to your true self? These are words we hear all the time but what do they mean really?
Good health and stress reduction are a by-product of the practice. The body is a vessel that is sure to fall apart and we have it because it is a temporary home for the soul, the spirit, pure awareness or whatever you name it. When we are out of contact with this part of ourselves, seeking outside for things to make us happy, the car, the house, mastering that instagram pose, the new country to live in, we are always going to be disappointed. The practice of yoga reduces stress because you connect with this eternal energy and the fear of losing disappears, happiness unfolds and desires diminishes.
Does this happen after dropping into class a few times? No, of course not. Do you feel better after a class or two. Yes you do and that's reason enough to continue. But the real aim and goal is much grander and requires practice. All art requires practice. Yoga too is a practice.
Yoga is : yoga citta vritti nirodha- the fluctuations of the mind cease and then you are no longer sucked up into a turmoil of thoughts and ideas and stories but instead can see what's real which is beyond thoughts or manifestations of things....it just is.
It is a practice. A daily practice.
I will be discussing these ideas and more with super interesting voices in my upcoming podcast. more info to come.