Friday, April 9, 2010

Friday Morning

All right- well, I had a great day yesterday.

After my blog post I did my asana practice which stretched into a 4-hour inversion and forward bend extravaganza. (Of course I spent a lot of time on supta padangusthasana variations and eka pada supta virasana variations with the bottom leg weighted and I took a 25 minute savasana. But still, I took a luxurious amount of time to practice yesterday. I had a lovely conversation over lunch with a certified teacher colleague of mine and then I spent several hours on the computer working on some projects after which Kelly and I cooked dinner and talked the night away.

So, here it is Friday morning, following pranayama, meditation, breakfast and some email work. Since I have been home, I have been trying to catch up on what I left unattended for the three weeks I was gone, get some projects launched that are somewhat time-sensitive and also get myself grounded, see my friends and family and so on. I realized this morning that it has been a pretty busy week back. I had hoped to come back after a stint of work like that and give myself some time to rest but it's just the rhythm of things right now. I am prioritizing my asana practice however, as I maintain my meditation and asana practice on the road but not at all in the way I can at home. I sit every morning on the road and I practice during the lunch breaks but it is generally an hour or an hour and half at most and while that is better than nothing, it is not the same.

So- as the morning hour is getting later and later, so soon I am going to answer the call of asana once again. But there is a lot on my mind these days. I am having some very intense and deep conversations with lots of different people- from students to teachers-in-training to Inspired Teachers, to long-time Certified Teachers about Anusara Yoga- its growth and changes and how its evolving. One thing is for certain and that is that we are in a moving stream right now.

I think for me, I have never ever felt like an "Anusara Yogi" which most people find surprising. I love Ansuara Yoga. I adore its vision, its methodology, and its community of practitioners some of whom are my very best friends. I owe huge debts of gratitude to John Friend who offered me a new vision for myself, my practice, my teaching and has never once failed to support me personally or professionally. I spend most of my waking hours teaching about, thinking about and practicing the principles of Anusara Yoga to the best of my ability and yet, I do not, in anyway, feel defined by the system. The system is the system. I am me. I have never felt like I had to change that "me" to belong in a meaningful way to "the system." I think if it came to that, then well, I would have to choose me and walk away from the system! But never has it required that of me.

So the gist of lot of the conversations I am having these days is sort of around this idea of- Anusara Yoga is growing, changing and evolving. Can I still be me and belong in a meaningful way in the more structured system? Can I still be me a teach "the curriculum"? Can I still be me if we now call the philosophy Shiva-Shakti Tantra? Can I still be me and belong if I am more conservative than others who I see around me? Can I still be me and belong if I am interested in more flow-based practice? Can I still be me and belong if I like to teach technique with lots of demo? Can I still be me and belong if I love to teach Patanjali's sutras? Can I still be me and belong if I actually believe stilling the mind is a good thing and part of tantra? Can I still be me and belong if I don't agree with every thing that happens along this path of growth and change? Can I still be me and belong if I am a Christian and talking about Shiva and Shakti freaks me out a little? (or a lot) And so on.

So, the thing is if you can be you is up to you, not Anusara Yoga. There is no Anusara Yoga police who is out to confine you and make you conform to something that goes against who you are. Of course, if you fundamentally disagree with the majority of a system's foundational tenets, then well, maybe you would be happier somewhere else, but that is another story. What we are talking about here is that perhaps you have or have had a rub or a friction on a few things here and there over the years. To me, that is healthy. How could so many people agree with everything and still be authentic? I once had a 12-step sponsor tell me, "Christina, if at least 10% of the people in your life are not mad at you, chances are you are not telling the truth." So like that.

Being pressured into blind allegiance is the hallmark of a dysfunctional system. A system that cannot handle a healthy discussion of difference is a sick system. And I think it can be a little sneaky at times, how that feeling of being pressured arises within us. Being pressured and feeling pressured are not the same thing. I personally think "feeling pressured" can relate to childhood samskaras where we felt like in order to get "love" or to "belong in a meaningful way" we had to change who we were and so we began in small and/or large ways to present an act or an image as opposed to being our authentic self.

(Now, this is not a blame game. I know parents everywhere who have 100% unconditional love for their kids and would pass a lie detector test that NOTHING could affect the deep and abiding love they have for their kids. NOTHING. And I know those same kids just don't feel that way or didn't as children. But that is another story.)

So we fast forward into adult life with these subtle and not-so-subtle samskaras operative about "I cannot be myself, I must be a shinier version of me, etc." and we get involved in an organization like Anusara Yoga. Many times, we think Anusara Yoga is asking us to change into someone we really aren't in order to "belong" or whatnot, when, in fact, it is the latent samskara, the internalized-perceived-parent-of-childhood who is saying that, not Anusara Yoga.

And certainly, there are boundaries, like curriculum, standards and so forth with which we have to comply. I do not believe they are arbitrary. I think they are, at essence, there to serve the Vision. But if those thing are too much for you and if doing those things costs you you, then CHOOSE YOU. That is the thing. We are part of the experiment, remember? We cannot leave ourselves behind.



Jill said...

Thank you for this post. I needed it.

Henry said...

Great post, I love the conversation. Feeling pressured or being pressured? Where is the pressure: is it inside or outside? Are we making too much of it? Does it pull at the attachments inside/outside of us? The beautiful thing about anusara are the UPA's / kula/ tantric philosphy! Not all of these 3 are going to be harmony all the time! So what? We have to utilize the system or any system to bring us back to our hearts! For better or worse sometimes. Love Henry

authentic self yoga said...

really enjoyed this post...thanks for sharing