It was such an incredible spring day yesterday that I could not believe so many people came inside for yoga at 4:30. What a thrill.
I worked the theme of guru at 4:30. When Carlos Pomeda reviewed some of my writing for upcoming book, (don't ask, its in the editorial process and at this point out of my hands. I have no idea when it will be printed, bound and ready for sale. But, it is written and I am cogitating on two new projects so that is exciting. And no, I will not tell you about any of them!) he gave me some interesting information about the word guru.
I had written that we can look at the word as gu- (darkness) and ru-(light) and we can see think of the guru as "that which brings light to darkness." He told me (very nicely) that while we can understand the word in that way, the word actually means heavy and in the context of a spiritual teacher means authority. (ie- one who has the weight of authority or gravitas, etc.) Like how we might "give weight" to what matters most or to the opinion of an expert. In class Dr. Phillips said, the word really just means weight. Like a paperweight would be a guru. It is heavy.
So, while yes, the teaching of yoga is that the guru is within, and the Ultimate Authority is within us, we often times have to consult outside authorities to teach us how to access and understand the teachings of our inner guru. And yes, the pose can teach us how to do it, but if we do not know how to interpret and respond to its messages then, while it is there teaching us, we cannot adequately complete the learning process. The pose, for instance may be talking to us in Chinese and we do not know Chinese yet. Our body may be talking to us in Italian and we have yet to study that language. So yoga class is like a lesson in both Chinese- how to understand the pose and its teachings and Italian- how to understand what our body is saying. And probably the metaphor could be expanded because there is also an aspect where we learning a language through which we are going to respond to both the Chinese and the Italian.
Some yoga systems say, "do your just practice and you will figure it out." Some systems hammer at you with all the answers and a bunch of rules. Some say, "just keep doing yoga in your own language and forget about the Chinese and Italian components and just speak your own language because this is for you." What I love about Anusara Yoga is that is is some of each. We learn a set of language principles by which to encounter the Chinese of the pose, the Italian of the body and the unique language of our own body/mind/spirit complex. And in that process we aim to become our own authority, to learn how to be discriminating about what we will give weight to- on the mat and off the mat.
So at 4: 30 we worked with keeping certain parts of the pose weighty and authoritative in order to express ourselves more fully. We worked a lot with twisting postures like jathara parivartonnasana, parivritta trikonasana and parivritta pasrvakonasana.
At 6:00 I worked a theme about spring but I do not have time to go into all of that now. Must get ready for a 9:00 appointment.
Remember- 4:30 BREATH AND BODY. And one other cool thing about Breath and Body is that Desirae offers a class discount to local yoga teachers so if you are a teacher, please tell her. (See the dedication to getting out of the silo!)