Sukham means good space. Make the body and the content of your mind a good space. Yoga helped me to transform my mind into a good container for positive encouraging thoughts. The practice taught me what it means to have courage. I remember going into learning some of the intermediate and later some of the advanced asanas having no faith that I would ever come to understand them or see past them. But day in and day out I showed up and learned to fail, learned to continue to try no matter how many times I fell. The constant failure, learning to accept it as part of the process, and allowing it to humble you is a key part of the learning process. Understanding that it's ok to not be perfect, to not achieve, to have to stay in one place until something inside settles, to do less. To be so exhausted that the mind ceases to take charge and the subtle intelligence of our being becomes louder and more accessible, and then a sense of peace arises where You realize that you are part of all and all is part of something greater and in that failing, falling and imperfection are parts of the fabric of life. Through this process we understand that our body is a recipient and that each thought, action and word either fills or empties this recipient. When it's empty it is more prone to listening and to receiving, it is a good space. When it's full there is too much noise for the truth to be heard.
When I came to yoga I was in search for a good space, I didn't know yet, I was too scared to admit it, but I needed to empty my recipient, I needed to find some peace of mind. I needed to experience what it felt like to not judge myself. I was good at moving my body and performing asanas. So I showed up to the mat. The mat felt like I had come home. I felt nourished, supported. Initially I identified this with the teacher or the space I was in. It wasn't until I made my first few trips to India where I finally realized that this process wasn't about pleasing the teacher, or having a pleasant experience, it was about finding a pleasant good space within. The rawness of India, of Sharath, of the practice itself showed me that it wasn't about the external but about something subtler more private, more intimate. I didn't really know at the time what Ashtanga was, I had just began practicing and I was on a journey to 'master it' as I had mastered the art of not eating years before. But instead I discovered myself, I discovered that the mastery was of studying the self and refining the quality of the mind. I discovered that through concentration I could quieten the constant inner judgement, and that with the breath I could choose what thoughts to allow to fill my inner space. Slowly I began to clean out the 'bad space' and created room for a good space within myself. The asanas thought me to not have fear. With every pose I would gain a little more inner spiritual strength that helped me feel strong and steady from within, less attached to the external to rely on self worth, more accepting to myself, more receptive of what surrounded me.
It's taken a lot of asanas to come to a beginning place where I can say I have a clean slate. Every day I feel like a beginner, every day I know I have a chance to fall, and yet I see how I can also pick myself back up and start again. Just like with asana. You try, over and over and over. You learn to have faith in the teacher, then in the practice, then in yourself. You develop a deep sense of trust and devotion to the practice because you see the process. Like a jungle doctor you let it heal you. As a teacher I hold space for my students to go through that journey for themselves.
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