Well, it has been a pretty busy few days with the workshop over the weekend and we started the Immersion today. We have a wonderful group for the Immersion- lots of yoga teachers and people eager to learn and explore Anusara Yoga and its philosophies. It always amazes me how different each group is and yet how similar people are as well.
We dove right into today with a discussion of The Cycles of Nature and how to view the cycle of the birth, sustenance and dissolution from the traditional as well as tantric perspectives. Every time I teach Immersions I am very aware of how daunting the curriculum really is. The amount of information we try to cover in a week is staggering at times. today as I started talking I was so aware that I needed to define just about every word I was using in order for what I was saying to make sense and have a context that was understandable. To get one idea across of the cycles of nature, we had to traverse through material v. absolute, sprit v. matter, feminine principle v. masculine, tantra v. traditional, the meaning of Om, the names and archetypal meanings of Brahma, visnu and shiva, their feminine counterparts of saraswati, lakshmi, and kali, the traditional teaching of the cycles, the tantric view, the concept of what lies beyond the cycle and so on. Lets just say that it gets big quick. Add in a few stops along the way to grapple with the language differences and cultural differences and there was a lot of ground to cover.
The Danish students are excellent. They are serious about learning, interested in education, thoughtful in their questions, sincere in their interest.
This afternoon we had a very interesting discussion relative to Opening to Grace. The students shared some very beautiful ideas and experiences about connecting to Grace in their lives. Then they told me there is no equivalent word in Danish for Grace like we talk about it in English. But interestingly, they said there is a word that means the same thing but it is very religious in connotation and very "loaded" and so not a good choice to use in class. I reflected on this and listened tot he teachers talk about this and I told them that actually, the word is religiously loaded in our culture also. After we talked a while, I came away with the opinion that as the difficulties the Danish students/teachers of Anusara Yoga are having explaining the philosophy are actually not so different than the difficulties that new teachers have in America when you get right down to it. Obviously, the circumstances vary a bit and the storylines are different culture to culture but even with what we hope is a broad-based inclusive philosophy, it can be hard to see the way to sharing Ansuara Yoga philosophy authentically and with cultural sensitivity, no matter where you live. It just seems that getting into the swing of teaching these ideas can really take some time and bring up some issues and fears along the way no matter who you are.
To me, there thing about Grace is that it is a very practical thing. Grace is the aspect of reality that wants us to know who we are, whose sole purpose is to reveal to us the truth of who we are. Grace to me is not "everything working out" or "things flowing easily" or "getting a good parking spot" or any such simplistic thing. Grace is present any time my identity is crumbling, any time my worldview is expanding, and any time I am bottoming out with an old behavior and longing to live in deeper integrity with my heart. Grace is not some foreign force outside of myself. Grace is the very essence of truth within me calling me deeper inward to greater possibility and is present in anything that deepens my capacity to know myself and to serve others. As John defines it, Grace is the revelatory power of the Supreme. To me, that is not "not hitting any traffic lights on the way to work" or "getting a cosmic Get-out-o-jail-free card" because honestly the grit of experience is often what helps us get shinier and brighter. How can we say difficulty is not in or of the flow? I can't.
Anyway, talking about Grace is a wonderful way to spend the day and a great consideration to take into the evening. We ended the day today with some work on inversions, a long savasana and a lovely walk home for dinner.
And tomorrow, back at it.