5 days in Cocoyoc, Mexico under the guidance and instruction of Abhi, granddaughter of BKS Iyengar- a friend said, you are lucky.
Abhi spoke at her grandfather's funeral about the rain of his wisdom continuing to fall on all of us all over the world. These 5 days in the heat of Mexico, I was refreshed and rejuvenated by the spring showers. I feel like I am at the biggest meal of yoga and now I'm still digesting it. Being in the community of my fellow Iyengar practitioners and including my friend Liza who came from NYC, fed my soul. This is not an easy practice to do on your own. As a student and definitely as a teacher. Community is everything. You need your own practice time with yourself and there is nothing like practicing next to a friend. I found myself easily doing a pose because of the energy in the room and because Liza just rolled over backwards and it wiped away all my fears and doubts and before I knew it I had just done a pose I never do. And it was....fun!
images by the amazing Lourdes Christlieb)
I'm going to allow all that she taught to settle in. In summary, I found the back of my legs, the resistance in my back muscles for twists, the tightness in my groins, a new way to approach balances and how to walk around my head. My body has changed so much this year and the first few days I was full of mental vrittis, not mention screaming groins that woke me up at night. And wouldn't you know? All the jumping and moving for the "youngsters" cured me of all my ills. So, I'm still a youngster after all.
She taught us how to be playful and let beginners "ENJOY!" She showed us new ways of looking at how we have been doing the poses. We get stuck in one instruction and even one way. This is HOW you do such-and-such pose. But that rigidity is self induced and just downright misses the point. I'm sorry. There are reasons to turn the foot, reasons not to turn the foot, reasons to close the hands and reasons to open the hand. Why we do something, the affect of what we do ..this is the heart of the matter. And it's not just in asana is it? Isn't that how you would like to live your life? More aware, discriminating and empowered to make choices?
I found her inspiring as she addressed really divisive issues scorching through our community. I think she was clear and supportive offered guidance and guidelines. Now, we as a community have to take those words and heal the divide. I was super impressed that the issue was also brought up in Mexico. I've always felt that the scandal around abuse of power and sexual harassment in the US community can start discussions all over the world. The issues need to come to the light.
These opportunities to learn and recharge my mind and body personally feed my soul, increase my understanding and ultimately improve my teaching. It's not easy being the only Iyengar teacher in a very small town. Lately, I've been feeling pretty darn dejected. Thank you for the refreshing storm that lubricated my bones and soul.
It takes great commitment to go on this path. Why would you do it if you can get your teacher's certification in 200 hours? Why indeed. Well, when you are in front Abhi who spent her young adulthood at the feet of her grandfather, her guru, you feel and taste the depth of this knowledge that under no circumstances could even be touched in 200 hours. I think I have for over 1000 hours of continuing education and I'm just scratching the surface.
I know I'm speaking to the converted. If you are receiving this newsletter its because you sought out excellence in teaching and practice even if you are a once in awhile student. Because you know there is something deep to learn. Like me, when I started I had NO idea where I was going....but something much more intelligent inside said "just shut up and come with me." Thank god I listened!