The few weeks leading up to this workshop I had fretted and worried about my hamstring. My practice was at a low level and with my hamstring still causing me grief, I was sure that this weekend would be a disaster. My backbends had felt nasty- that really is the only to describe it- and my stamina was down. I knew that I was walking into a two hour back bend practice with John and I just didn’t know how I was going to be able to do it. This is when I changed- something in me made a profound shift.
I put my mat down in the room and thought I should probably tell John about my hamstring but as I saw the line of people waiting to tell him of every ache and pain and I just thought- “No- he will know something is wrong after my first couple of poses”. Yes- in a group of 120 John will know when you are not performing at your normal level as unbelievable as that is. He has this ability to sense across a room when you are out of alignment. It is a crazy gift.
As we came together to listen to John and chant, something in me started to alter. My fear and apprehension fell away and I put myself in the flow of energy around me. I trusted in the flow and I realized that I trusted in it because I now trusted John. I trusted that he would guide me in a way that would keep me safe and if I allowed myself to sync up with him that he would help carry me through the practice. This trust is called Shraddha. Faith.
I have always had trust in Christina, my mentor teacher. I knew as long as I listened to her and did not decide to be a maverick that I would be fine. The thing that was different between John and Christina is that I was injured and fearful with John and that I do not have a close relationship with him like I do with Christina. But what I did not realize is that I do not have a friendship with John but I have a relationship. At some point in my trainings with him, my energy started to sync with his, and now when I am in his presence I just move according to his energy. This is called entrainment and can be seen as part of the Guru principle.
You see I don’t walk around saying John is my “Guru”. Guru can mean teacher in today’s lexicon but in Sanskrit it means heavy one, weighty one- heavy with knowledge and energy. The history of entrainment comes from a Dutch scientist named Christian Huygen who put pendulum clocks in a room and had them all swinging at different rates. Over time the clocks all began to oscillate at the same rate. This is a phenomenon of resonance. It is a tendency for two oscillating bodies to lock into phase so that they vibrate in harmony- synchronization. I noticed this weekend that it took almost no time for this entrainment to happen. That is because I wasn’t letting other things block that resonance- I just stepped into it with trust.
My leg still bugged me but I did every single pose to the best of my ability. The thing I really noticed was how open my backbends were- I got my leg up in urdva dhanarasana and I did dwi pada for the first time – I have never been able to get my forarms on the ground and head off the mat before…and the best part was that it felt so GOOD!!! Eka pada rajakopatasana was a breeze. I knew all this openess came from steady practice and something more powerful- a willingness to be carried on the flow. Being in the presence of a true teacher can take you deeper into your practice. Your boundary lines shift not just externally but internally. You change.
I remember once saying to Christina that I didn’t know if I would bother going to see John in Seattle again and save my money for longer trainings instead. She just looked at me aghast and said, “I would take every opportunity possible to practice with my teacher.” I now understand that. When you are in resonance, even a small amount of time in their presence can bring such profound openings.
It was a wonderful amazing weekend with great friends and new friends. I love the women I practice and play with and their energy helped to contribute and grow this beautiful resonance that carried us all. I can’t wait for next year!