Building a step at a time
While rebuilding a house I relearned that you have to do things in a specific order and if you skip a step, you most likely will have have to go back. This is what I had heard my teachers say when I was first learning asana, and later learned is an integrated part of learning the different series of ashtanga yoga. In order to be able to do kapotasana you have to learn to do surya namaskara a - to learn to synchronize breathing and movement. You learn to it for one set of suryas then you learn to do it for another set of 5, then you learn to carry that through into standing postures, seated postures and progressively complex asanas. You learn the stand and balance evenly on one foot, you gradually build your concentration enough to balance on one foot. Once You have spent enough time calming the nervous system with the breathing you can ground your attention and find a good space on one food. You have to learn about stability in standing. With each piece you learn you have a new obstacles and you gradually acquire the skills you need to meet the obstacle and find ease in the overcoming it so it can become undone so you can move past it...and so you build a home or a stable space to live in within yourself. One step at a time creating steadiness and stability at each step.
It was thanks to my teachers Barbara Verrochi and Kristin Leigh that believed in me and encouraged me to wake up early and come to mysore practice. It was thanks to their love of the practice that I went to Mysore a few months after I began practicing and it is thanks to them that I began teaching at an early age. They believed in me. They supported until that belief moved inwards…and this is what I continue to do today for my students.
It's thanks to my parents who always pushed for curiosity and believed in me despite any given circumstance, they always encouraged me to create the opportunity wether it was there or not and that if I wanted something I should go search it and work hard for it.
It is thanks to Eddie Stern that believes in me as a human. For treating me as an equal. For Sharath who in the years I spent assisting him would closely watch and tell me to watch like an eagle and to drink a little coffee now and then ;) it is thanks to those times spent watching him that I understood humor, empathy, compassion and a little exterior sternness that we guide people on the path to independence. Watching him was so beautiful, especially catching him in moments of pure love towards all of his students when no one was watching. I understood something very subtle about this practice by assisting him and it's really infused all my teaching, compassion! At the end of my first assisting experience I asked him if he had any suggestions for me. His reply was so much love is there, you keep that. And this is how I teach. When my heart is not there I know it's time to step away for a bit or make a small change, retreat within myself to regain that pure love. I always experienced him with a lot of softened. Perhaps he always saw how hard I was on myself. Spending time with him always reminds me I have the freedom to choose. That there is no one way or rigidity there is only devotion, and dedication. I've learned about boundaries and the importance of keeping the journey for yourself. Protecting it and sharing it only when asked or when it can serve as a hand for someone else to walk the path.
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Retreats coming up: