Okay, well, last night's class at Bodhi Yoga was a good one.
I told this teaching that I heard at our Immersion. Several of our Immersion participants in Tucson are members of a spiritual school/community who practice the teachings of Tibetan Heart Yoga. That school has an asana practice but traditionally it was a secret teaching. The first rung of teaching is a set of practices that helps the practitioner cultivate compassion and loving kindness toward themselves and others. These practices and lifestyle recommendations create a solid foundation for sadhana. Once a practitioner is firmly established in those ideals- once they are no longer full of greed, jealousy, self-hatred, criticism, competition and so forth, they are granted access the asana teachings. It usually takes about 20-25 years.
I laughed in my introduction that in the west we are granted access to the asana teachings if we have $10. (Well, maybe $15 or $16 to tell the truth...) We may not have any compassion, any love for ourselves and we may be quite at the mercy of our critical judgemental minds and still we can learn asana. I am not criticizing this at all. I am just saying that it is an interesting contrast to consider, right?
When I heard the teaching from Tibetan Heart Yoga I was really stunned at the profundity of the message. These yoga practices like asana really do help us cultivate power and we have to be careful which aspect of ourselves we use that power to empower. How often do we roll out our mat and spend the 75 minute class empowering a voice of competition that says we are better (or worse) than the person next to us? How many times do we roll out our mats and empower the voice of self-hatred that tell us we are not good enough, not smart enough, not skilled enough...? How many times to we empower greed by pushing for a pose that is beyond our ability or empower self-abuse by ignoring our bodies messages of pain.
This teaching really gave me so much to think about. I used it as the theme for class last night with the root to rise principle- root yourself in love and love will lift you up. Like that. Surya Namaskar Aand B, handstand, working on "floating", standing poses, pinca, kapinjalasana variation, lots of eka pada rajakapotasana, urdhva danurasana, dwi pada viparita dandasana and headstand dropovers were on the menu. We had a great group of people who have been coming to that class all summer and so we could really do a lot quickly.
Okay- a few commercials before I head out into the day.
Here are the details for the local mentoring program. http://www.castlehillfitness.com/calendar.php?view=3
Many of you have asked me about the online mentoring group- I expect to get details about that out by the first of the week.
Also- I am leading a Mexico Retreat in February and the details for that are now online. I am pretty excited about it. The retreat is limited to 20 people and will be mostly asana with some pranyama and meditation. (not to mention GREAT FOOD!) With such a limit on the size of the group, everyone will get lots of personal attention and we are going to be able to really go places in the asana practice. (Don't be scared- I am just saying it is a rare opportunity to refine and advance your practice in an incredibly beautiful and intimate setting.) Registration is open so if you are interested sign up soon.
Have a great day!