Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Immersion Los Angeles Part Three Day One

It was a great reunion with our gang here in Los Angeles today. We are reduced slightly in numbers this time around and  the intimacy is so very sweet. One thing I notice about my life right now that is the hardest part is not the travel schedule exactly or even the lack of the routine. It is more like the level of emotional connection required is a lot to sustain. I usually land in a town the night before a training starts and connect with my host or co-teacher and then we do our best to go to be early so we can start the training fresh. Then we get up and meet a group of students and dive into the teahings and personal sharing and self-inquiry and the whole ball of wax that it is to teach Anusara Yoga.

And for me, I have started to realize that it can take me a while to really "arrive" in an emotional sense. I am always really happy to see people and it has NOT ONE THING to do with anyone in the room or anything external. Its more that for me, personally, I have started to realize that my job often asks me to open up emotionally at a faster rate than is natural for me. I am very comfortable meeting people and carrying on a surface level type of conversation but for me to really engage in an intimate way, I need a little time.  Walking into a room of folks for what I know is a deep and intimate process and being "ready" requires a kind of internal shift and focus for me.

I am not complaining. I actually think its a good thing and a great opportunity to work with my tendencies. And, like so many things in yoga,  the more I am aware of my tendencies, the easier it is to make conscious choices about how I want to be in relationship to them. But, for instance, just Sunday I was wrapping up an Immersion at home and reveling in the  community experience there and then this morning I am looking at another room of people knowing we are diving in again. All this to say that I felt that shift happen pretty easefully this morning as I looked around and saw all the sweetness in everyone's faces and the anticipation and gratitude for one another. And yet, its a definite moment for me when I really feel like I "arrive." It can even take a few days sometimes.

We did have a great day.Noah and I experimented with some slightly different teaching strategies to great effect and we made another obligatory dive into the tattvas followed by a discussion of the malas and ending with a forward bend practice. Tomorrow we will start with pranayama and go into asana right after that and get to work on The Gita. I love talking about The Gita and the malas were a great way to ease into a discussion on the many reasons why we need to "fight the good fight" and resist the powers within us (the malas) that cover our light. Manorama, when prepping our group for a talk on the The Gita was talking about how the good guys in the story had pretty much been exiled from the kingdom. She said, "When the light has been given mo place to exist, battle must ensue."

Its like that inside ourselves also. there are forces that are working against the experience and  expression  of our Light and we must do battle with them. And sometimes the battle is violent, sometimes merely assertive and other times the strategy is more like a tai chi or aikido move. But while these forces in us can be acknowledged and accepted for what they are, they need not be tolerated and certainly they can not be given free reign. At some point, we have to do battle and defend our light so that it has a place to live in the kingdom that is us.

So we talked about that as we talked about the malas, the way the Light of the Heart gets covered. It's always a great conversation- oddly confrontational and liberating all at once.

More tomorrow.


Dan said...

Thank you for this very honest post. You write: "...my job often asks me to open up emotionally at a faster rate than is natural for me."

In my profession I also find this dynamic. I love being in a profession that compels me to grow emotionally in this way but I also observe (and have experienced) the damage that can occur when the emotional demands of the profession overwhelm and subjugate the heart's natural instincts and needs. That damage can occur to both the teacher and/or the student/community.

One of the reasons I practice yoga is that it helps me grow--grow in my ability to be "present" and grow in my ability to pay close attention to my heart and discern when it needs to be pushed and when it needs to be nurtured.

So thanks for teaching yoga. And take good care of your heart!

Christina Sell said...

Thanks, Dan for sharing.

Yes, I think about this dynamic a lot. I know for me I often "push through" in the name of yoga and sadhana and it is really a dressed up version of a dysfunctional pattern of not truly listening and honoring my heart and its needs and rythyms. Its a kind of spiritual by-pass, at times, for sure.

good to be aware and honest.