ell, it’s an almost six hour plane ride to Phoenix from Costa Rica and so I thought it would be a good opportunity to write a blog entry. Unfortunately, they do not let passengers take any water on the plane from Costa Rica and so I am unbelievably thirsty right now. Yes, I know according to the Gita, “the wise yogi is not bothered by thirst” but well, this yogi sure is.
It was an early morning this morning. I woke up at 3:45 and the taxi came for me at 4:15. So far I feel okay but it those kind of mornings usually throw my system a little out of whack. All right- enough ramblings…
The last day of the immersion was lovely. We covered a brief histroy of yoga and made a foray into talking aout some distinctions between different philosophical darsanas, which is always an interesting discussion. One cool thing about this group is that most of them are teachers and most of them have completed teaching training at Yoga Lamat, where they received a very good education in yoga philosophy and so they were familiar with the Gita and familiar with Patanjali’s sutras and also Juanpa has been teaching them such good Anusara Yoga for so long that they had a very solid foundation upon which to have the discussion.
I always marvel about how we are supposed to cover the “basic overview of three philosophical schools of yoga” in under an hour. I mean you can do it in general way in that amount of time if the people you are teaching know something about yoga philosophy. But let’s say your students have never considered concepts of dualism and non duality, or what if they only know of the word tantra from an ad in the back of a magazine promising “tantra for better sex” and what if they have never heard of something called Vedanta or have no clue what Buddhism is actually about and what if they think Patanjlai’s sutras are the only sutras of yoga? Many people come to Immersions and this is precisely their situation.
I do not mean this as a criticism at all. It is more of an observation about how it is. One thing I have observed over the last few years is that part of what has happened in the modern proliferation of the asana practice as it has become accessible and available to the masses it that the “spiritual aspect” of the practice has been purposely left out of the presentation. I am not taking issue with that so much. I am simply saying that nowadays it is highly likely that someone has done yoga for many years, loves it, is dedicated to it, but has learned very little of its philosophical underpinnings. A colleague of mine once said, “Oh sure, for most people it’s more like a health-hobby these days.”
So- in those cases, these talks about “a Brief History of Yoga Philosophy” take a bit longer to lay out in a way that makes any sense. Think about how we say there are three main elements to Anusara Yoga: 1) Non dual tantric philosophy of intrinsic goodness, 2.) Universal Principles of Alignment and 3.) Practicing teachings in community. Well, just take a look at the first one and you see all kinds of words that need defining—non-dual, tantric, intrinsic goodness. Those concepts alone can make for a lengthy discussion.
Well, anyway- this group was well educated, well prepared and they were very good students. Louis, my host, told me that over 40 years ago, Costa Rica disbanded the army and invested instead in education. Amazing, huh? I think it shows in the studentship of the Costa Ricans. It was of a very high caliber.
Okay- so we did a strong practice working on the loops and going through lots of vinyasa, arm balances and then into drop backs. That was a lots of fun. (Costa Ricans are very passionate and expressive so there was a lot of moaning and groaning and expressing which became somewhat hysterical at a point!0 After lunch we covered some shoulder anatomy, took a test, did a review and then had our closing circle. As always, the depth of the process and how it affected people was very inspiring and moving. It is such a cool thing to facilitate and be a part of.
Afterwards, we all went out to dinner together which was great. Good tasty food with great company. And I got introduced to the “Costa Rican good-bye.” You have to hug and kiss at the table as you get up to leave. Then there is hugging and kissing at the door before you leave the restaurant. And then there is hugging and kissing at the sidewalk before you get into your car. And I am not just talking about you hug the person at the curb that you didn’t hug at the table. No, you hug EVERYBODY and kiss EVERYBODY at each of the three stations. I am smiling as I write this because this was a very funny scene and they laughed at me a lot as I was so ready to go and they were so into hugging and kissing me and each other. (White girl in a Latin scene… you can imagine.)
But it was an excellent memory to leave with- all that love. The people I met and worked with all week were some of the most open hearted, generous, accepting, loving and passionate people I have met. At so many points I could feel this great company healing me and again and again I was reminded of what great fortune it is to have this yoga, these opportunities to travel and teach and the blessing it is to share such high teachings with such wonderful people.
So- 2 hours left in the flight and then it is to my Tucson family and to meet and greets friends from there and who are coming from afar. We have a big group coming for Part 2, most of whom were with us for Part 1 but we have some people who will be joining the group. I think that is always fun- seeing how each group forms and becomes unique.
More tomorrow. Here are a few pictures from the week. The sizing is weird because I pulled them from Facebook.