Sunday, July 1, 2012

Assimilation and Elimination


Well, I had a great three days teaching at Preshana Yoga here in Sydney. I am teaching a total of six days here. The first three days were an asana intensive and the next three days are a teacher training program. So far, I am enjoying the format a lot. Having three full days of asana with almost everyone doing the whole program is a great way to teach as a visiting teacher. It gives me the ability to lay a groundwork, to repeat postures and refine them and also to expand intelligently from the foundation we establish together.  Also, by the end of three days, most folks were pretty well at capacity- in body, mind and emotion, for sure. I am not really sure if you can hit  a “spiritual limit” as such but I do know that the other aspects of the being can get quite saturated which makes accessing the spiritual domain a bit more difficult.
At any rate, I think it was a wonderful and rich few days AND it will be great to switch gears to teacher training where the pace and the conversation are very different. I am also hoping that with three days of teacher training rather than six, I can present a manageable and digestible  amount of information for the trainees. 
The intensive format of learning is so great in a lot of ways but it is, for sure, an “overfeeding” of sorts. The students receive a huge amount of information and experience-- kind of like going to an all-you-can-eat buffet. And like anyone knows at an all-you can-eat buffet, it is quite common that you have combined foods that do not go together and eat all-you-can which is often more-than-you-should. So its normal after such a meal to be a little full, to have some indigestion and to need to allow some time before eating again.  Same with an intensive yoga training, you have to allow time for digestion and assimilation. Also, you need to take digestive enzymes sometimes- like more personal practice, going to class, reviewing your notes, conversations with your classmates, researching the ideas presented, writing in your journal, visiting your therapist, getting some bodywork, taking a nap, soaking in epsom salts and so on.
One part of digestion that is also dear to my heart is the process of elimination. And before that line of discussion goes into the direction of gross, I am talking here metaphorically, in terms of studying the teachings. The thing is that in any training we go to we are going to be fed all kinds of information and experiences. We have to eat them, chew on them, swallow them, digest and assimilate them for the outside teachings to, in a very real way,  “become us”. (I do not think we should be eating indiscriminately here, but assuming that we have a decent amount of trust in the presenter, we actually have to “buy in” in a sense in order to benefit most. This kind of learning is experiential, not spectator-based. this kind of learning requires our participation. This idea could be an entire blog entry in and of itself, so I  will just leave it at that.) 
So, assuming that we have eaten the meal,  one part of the process that I do not hear talked about enough is elimination. We also have to give ourselves and each other sincere permission to let go of what we have taken in that does not serve our personal aims and ideals. Just because something was in the curriculum and just because our teacher said something and believes it, etc. does not mean that we are obligated to take the teaching or principle on as our truth. Hopefully we participate in learning communities that allow for the digestive process to include this aspect of conscious participation and individual discernment.
The thing is that fifty people come to a training and hear the teacher say the same words but have fifty different experiences of what was said. If you interview people at the end of a course and ask them what the “take away” for them was, it is remarkable how varied the individual responses can be. It is such an interesting point to consider for me as both a teacher and a student in community. We are moving through both as a group and as a individual and both domains have their truths, their lessons and their challenges.  
More could be said about this for sure, but I must get ready to teach. It was a great three days and I am excited about the next three. I am enjoying Australia even more than I thought I would- the people are nice, the weather is beautiful, the scenery is fantastic and the food is amazing. And who knew the coffee here would be so good? Oh my god.
Have a great day. more soon.

3 comments:

Spring Cooper Robbins said...

sydney is amazing! and sydney obviously loves you! i'm already looking forward to your next trip! (exclamation overload?)

carol said...

I'm still in assimilation and digestion mode after Tucson! People keep asking me about my experience and my answers are so vague. I'm hesitant to talk about it because I don't want the potency to escape. I've been over my notes dozens of times and new insights / perspective show up each time. Good stuff!

carol said...

I'm still in assimilation and digestion mode after Tucson! People keep asking me about my experience and my answers are so vague. I'm hesitant to talk about it because I don't want the potency to escape. I've been over my notes dozens of times and new insights / perspective show up each time. Good stuff!