Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Same River: Do and Do Not

We started Level 2 Teacher Training down in San Marcos today which was really awesome.  I love this group and as much as I am hosted well and welcomed in so many studios across the country, I really, really, really love teaching in my own space. Something in me just feels relaxed, happy and well, at home. So  it was awesome to just dive right into the material. 

In some ways, Level 2 is a lot like Level 1. We go over a lot of the same teaching skills and yet its also a lot different. However, in Level 2 I  add in more variables, more layers and more direct teaching practice and make the trainees work a lot more. So it is the same and different.  Anne, my very smart philosophy professor sister, told me that the "you can not step in the same river twice" is actually  misquoted. Evidently, Heraclitus said that "we both do and do not step in the same river twice" which  is a very different contemplation.

In some ways, life is the same. On one level, its another day, another dog pose. The poses are always there, the same poses, day after day. And yet each day is also different. We are different, our bodies are always changing, our emotions are in flux and so on and all of these variables play a part in determining how we experience the constant of these ever-present postures. We meet similar challenges in life off the mat as well and yet, hopefully, we are changing and learning how to respond more optimally. We may be faced with our own samskaras and patterns again and again and yet each time we circle back around with deeper awareness, clarity, compassion and self scrutiny, we get an opportunity to be different in relationship to what is arising.

For many years, I really thought I would be able to bypass that circling back around to what seems at times, an endless well of conditioned thoughts and behaviors. I thought one day, I would just be magically free of my neurotic tendencies and patterns. But as time has gone on, while somethings are really no longer problems for me, in a lot ways I think the main thing I can report is that I simply feel less troubled by the repetition of certain issues. They still come up- its the same river. But I see them differently- it is not the same river. I have learned how to be less identified with everything I think  and so a lot of those thoughts which used to become long stories and dramas fraught with lots of emotion and the impulse to take action, are often just thoughts arising from the river of thoughts within.

Of course, the currents drag me down and have their way with me also- I am no saint or siddha. I am just happy that I no longer believe everything I think. Anyway...

Tonight the group did a lot of work in the teaching practicum with basic articulation skills and then adding in the observation, demonstration and adjustment/refinement/correction task. It was great to see how far the trainees had come since last time we were together and to also get a sense of where we can work this week and what to hone in on.

I spent a long time delivering a sequencing lecture and filling in the discussion about the General Template. In Part 1 I gave a very basic talk about how to plug poses into the template in a general way that follows a certain flow and organizational strategy. In Part 2 we layer that template work  with the specific task of preparing for a peak pose utilizing the  repetition of shape,  key actions, and insight into progressive sequencing within the entire class design as well as with the various individual postures in the sequence so that difficult poses are progressively taught and presented. At this point the discussion is far from basic, which makes it very interesting indeed.

We closed the evening with the closing mantras, which was awesome. It's such a great way to end a session- praying for others and offering a traditional chant as a way to make our work be aimed toward higher principles and aspirations. We started this practice during our last week in Tucson at the Path of Practice Intensive. I really loved closing the day in a  formal, ritualized way and so I taught it to the group here, who took to it right away.

Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah 
Sarve Santu Nir-Aamayaah | 
Sarve Bhadraanni Pashyantu 
Maa Kashcid-Duhkha-Bhaag-Bhavet | 

May all Beings be happy.
May all be free from sickness.
May all see and experience what is auspicious.
May no one be unhappy.

All right then. More soon.


Anne-Marie Schultz said...

Eddy was talking a lot about this today, but one thing he said that really stuck with me was, "are you going to wait until you are a perfected being to have a good savasana?" You have to ride the stream where you are.

more to follow.

Christina Sell said...

That is awesome.

Love in a Big Nut Shell said...


Is there a place, recording to listen to the chant...This is the same one we chanted at New Years, correct? OR maybe not? And if not, is there an opportunity to listen to that one as well? :) Great Post!


Christina Sell said...

Thanks for asking!

Order the CD from Manorama at: It is on the "In All Beings" CD

Listen to a sample here:

G'Nell said...

that's in the middle of the chant i do daily... I learned it at Sivananda- thanks for sharing!