Saturday, February 14, 2009

Loving Devotion

Being that is it is Valentine's Day and all, Darren started the day off talking about Love. He told a great story about how this guy is having marriage trouble and he tells his therapist, "I have these problems in my marriage...I don't love my wife anymore."

The therapist says, 'That's not really a problem, go home and love your wife."

The guy says, "You must not have heard me...I cannot go home and love my wife, my problem is I don't love my wife."

"Even still," the therapist says, "go home and love your wife."

The point of the story is that Love is as much a verb as it is a noun. Meaning that by behaving in a loving manner, the guy might increase his chances of actually feeling loving. Darren talked about practice as something that we must make into a verb for it to really benefit us. We have to do it. It is in fact, our only responsibility on The Path. We are responsible for our practice and Grace is responsible for the rest.

So with that we jumped right into practice. I taught a 3 hour backbending class that worked on refining the work in the head to access deeper openings in the heart. We did lots of backbends- kapotasana prep, ustrasana, urdhva danurasana, dwi pada viparita dandasana and sirsasana dropovers. Everyone in the room- almost 30 people did a headstand dropover with assistance today. It was really incredible.

After lunch we spoke a little about Devotion about how to bring integrity to what our heart really wants and how we behave. I told a story from a book on money management that Kelly and I Read at one time. The guy said, that if you really want to know what you actually value in life, then open up your check book and see where you are spending your money. You may say you value your family, your church your spiritual life and so on but if all your money is going to cute clothes, fancy vacations and expensive cocktails, you might consider that there is a lack of integrity in your life. So like that.

We talked some about how the devotion we have for practice can fuel our efforts and that as the Gita says, "No effort is ever wasted. No gain is ever lost. Even the smallest effort will shelter you from the greatest fear..." The group did some writing and reflection on how their practice and their life of devotion has sheltered them in some way.

Then Darren led a super great forward bending class with so many juicy details and refinements it was all I could do to keep myself from rolling out a mat to practice with everyone to make sure I didn't miss anything. I have lots of insights to work with from that class, that's for sure.

I taught a pranayama class at the end of the day and we made our foray into digital pranayama and we will continue with that tomorrow as it is so very delicious!

All right then- time for my bath and for my Twilight book- a thoroughly shallow and enjoyable tale of vampires and werewolves and love. Perfect after a long day of thinking deep thoughts. Although today was also hilarious and even kind of wild at times. We laughed a ton together throughout the practices and discussions. 14 days into a training like this and the formality is a distant memory it seems.... Darren and I were talking about it at dinner- "remember when they were scared of us? Remember how polite they were then....." (laughing. really, this phenomena is somewhat predictable.)

All right then a second time. This time I am really taking that bath.

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