My lovely yoga family and I have just finished our second weekend of our 200 hour yoga teacher training. Our setup is one full weekend a month from January – July (8am-7pm Saturday and Sunday). By which point we will be qualified yoga teachers ready to take on the big bad world. Both the weekends have served to broaden my mind, quieten my thoughts and strengthen my practice.
Here are a few things that really inspired me this weekend.
Resting in class is OK
We do a lot of physical practice during the weekend, so finding ways in which we can still flow without pushing our bodies is a challenge. I usually push myself in a yoga class, feeling like it is weakness to perform a chaturanga with my knees down, or to come into childs pose. This weekend I had no choice but to take these modifications, plus more. I realised that you can still have a strong practice with your knees down, and thats ok. It’s about listening to your body and doing whatever movement serves you at that time. Once you can master this, it can manifest itself off your mat. This made me realise that learning that its ok to modify your yoga practice to your own needs can lead to an inner acceptance in your life. It can help you notice when you need to slow down, and when you need to take time to come back to your body and back to your self.
“We are body-minds that can talk”
This is a little quote from a film we watched called Yoga Unveiled. The context was around Western vs. Eastern schools of thought concerning the mind. In the West, tradition tells us that the mind and the spirit are one and the same i.e your thoughts and feelings are connected to your soul which will live on beyond your physical body. In contrast, Eastern traditions say that your mind is as external from your true self as your body i.e your thoughts and feelings are not you and distract you from your true self and your true purpose. Yoga serves to train the body and the mind, so it can be used purely to observe, without judgement or opinion.
The lotus flower
Who would have thought that the lotus flower is the perfect analogy for human life. The lotus flower emerges from muddy pools in perfect condition and form with the sunrise, and retreats back into the water when night falls. The lotus flower has become a symbol for the hardships and difficult times in life, and like the lotus flower, we can use our own muddy pools to grow, and eventually emerge, flowering into something beautiful.
Everyone has a story
The most important thing I have learn from this weekend, is that everyone has a story to tell, everyone has had life changing experiences to share. By supporting each other we can learn compassion, and we can become more aware of what is going on around us, in our lives and in the lives of others. As human beings we have so much to learn from each other and equally so much to teach. In our culture, we are too often disconnected from each other, hiding our true selves behind masks and metaphorical disguises, walking past others as though they were inanimate objects. You only have to open your eyes and awareness a little to realise how many opportunities there are to listen and how many opportunities there are to share some love and compassion.
I leave you with a quote that has inspired a lot of thought for me
“The constantly changing universe is mirrored in our own brief physical incarnation”