We had a great day at the Immersion yesterday. It is always so amazing to me how different every group is. This group has a lot of seasoned practitioners and teachers and the level of studentship is really high.
Yesterday's theme was, in fact, studentship. Whenever John talks about studentship in Anusara Yoga he almost always talks about it in the scope of The Five Elements. I love this approach because it helps us understand that good studentship is not any one thing or any one quality but is instead a dynamic blend of many attributes and virtues. What is also cool is that each element corresponds to one of the Five UPA's. So we used the elements to talk about studentship and to do a rockin' standing pose practice in which we reviewed the Five Principles.
The Ether Element is the element out of which all the other elements arise. It is the Highest Possibility, grand openness and full potentiality. It corresponds to the First Principle- Open to Grace. Everything arises out of the field of Grace in this tradition- Grace is our Highest Possibility, our Fullest Potential. Like that. As students we have to be wide open and open to possibility or nothing will happen in our learning and practice.
The Earth Element is the densest element. The earth is solid, long-enduring, steady and reliable. As students we have to be the same way: In place, reliable, long-standing and steady in order to progress. Muscle Energy creates this steadiness in our bodies, bringing solidity, boundaries, and firmness to our form.
The Water Element is, well, fluid. Water is yielding, it is reflective and is said to be a receptive element. If it runs into a block, it knows how to go around the obstacle. Water flows. So must our studentship and our relationship to life's challenges and circumstances. The Water element corresponds to Expanding Spiral as it expands naturally when unboundaried. And water will flow downward, like what happens energetically in the pelvis when we do Inner Spiral.
The Fire Element is hot, upward rising, dynamic and creates the necessary friction to grow, change and practice. This Fire in the Belly is our will to walk the path, to persist, to overcome and to challenge ourselves or to rise to the challenges put before us. Fire rises upward like the effect of Contracting Spiral.
The Air Element relates to our intellectual and mental dexterity. Air is changeable and quick moving and teaches us that we need not hold onto old ideas, opinions and outlooks. We can change like the wind when appropriate. It corresponds to Organic Energy which creates freedom in our joints, like a breath of fresh air creates an experience of greater freedom.
The Five Element View of Studentship is so great because it shows us that we need more than just openness, we need more than just steadiness, more than the ability to flow, more that fiery will, more than intellectual curiosity and so forth. We need all of these traits in a dynamic ever- expanding and skillful relationship to each other, to our personality and to our unique situation. It is really a great thing to consider.
So- more could be said, more certainly has been said on the topic but for me, time to go practice before I head out to teach. We do the loops today and then Craig is coming to give a talk. What fun.