I am home. Completely the same and completely different. This is my third TT with John and I just keep getting clearer. I was feeling pretty good because John asked me a question when I was a little off guard- I was actually laughing hysterically- and I just spit it out like it was second nature. Total thanks to Christina Sell for that one- her teaching methods really work. ( can you say repetition?) It gave me a sense of confidence . I felt now I knew better what my strengths and weaknesses were- which really is what you want out of a training like this.
Day 5 was a focus onpurna– the sanskrit word for full or perfect- and shri – the sanskrit word for beauty. The interesting thing about fullness and perfection is that every time you experience it the boundary line grows. For example, when I do a pose that is challenging but I get further in it then before when I come out I think “Wow- that’s it-it was so full- I could feel the growth.” I feel uplifted and elated. My pose might not have looked like something off the cover of Yoga Journal, but it was the fullest I had ever experienced it in my body. The physical boundary not just grew, but a spiritual boundary grew also. The universal gives you enough Grace to fill you up at that moment. You see yourself more clearly, you see greater connection to the world around you. The interesting thing is that every time you do that your spiritual and physical vessel gets stronger and the next time that happens Grace fills you up even more. It is limitless.
So if our spirit and bodies are a vessel for Grace, then don’t you want to create a beautiful vessel? Doing things to ourselves that are self defeating, malicious, not in alignment with Nature, can create dents and dings in ourselves. We don’t feel worthy for Grace to fill us- we feel small. Grace can only fill what we have to offer. If we feel small the vessel is blocked. If we align all our parts in a harmonious way- a way that creates spaciousness and strength- than even if we feel small sometimes- we can invite Grace to come to fill us again. We unblock ourselves and allow Grace to wash away that limited idea of ourselves as she fills us up. When we are full we are uplifted. When others see us in this state they are uplifted. This feeling is Shri.
Unfortunately, the feeling doesn’t last. We become cloaked again when we are pushed off center by life, but we can remember how to align again. The more times we do it, the less likely we are to let ourselves stay off center for long. One of the teachers there had a great story about always fighting with her sister and having a poor relationship with her. Her sister lived in Boston so she hoped that maybe they could get together while she was in town. Instead they talked on the phone and had a fight. She was totally frustrated but now, with her yoga practice, something that would have bothered her for days she let go 30 minutes after the conversation. She went back to her center. This is a great lesson. Yoga will not turn you into a saint- you will still fight, say unkind things or have them said to you, make mistakes, experience tragedy. You will be keenly aware of when you have come away from your center- your home- but you will have a pathway back there.
John wanted us to to answer the question “How do you make beauty?” How is Anusara different than other systems? The answer is is the 3 A’s: Attitude, Alignment and Action.
Attitude: a willingness to see and to embody/express
Alignment: The knowledge of how to line up- creating structure
Action: actually doing it
I thought about it this way. I want to paint a beautiful painting- I am an artist- I am skilled. How do I do create beauty- create art?
Attitude: I have a desire to paint- to express my ideas and feelings on canvas
Alignment: I went to art school, I have all the paint brushes and paints, I have a good easel and good light. I prepare all my tools.
Action: I paint. But I don’t just paint- I stop and look at what I am painting and it re-inspires me and I paint more ( pulsation)
So what has this week left me with in retrospect?
1) number one really was the bond I feel I began to create with Christine and Sjanie- they really are inspiring women.
2) The second was that I need to get my centering more concise- I don’t know if it will be only 6 words but the overarching theme might be. The theme doesn’t have to be so drawn out at the beginning of the class either- that was new.
3) Always say the focal point in the pose and to where and from where much more explicitly. There was a little group shakiness on this – every one was ” pull into your core” “pull into your heart” when the focal point in the pose was the pelvic focal point.
4) stay with your theme- keep it simple.
5) know that you are on the right track.
6) chowder and beer with Sjanie in the Rosebud cafe is a good way to say goodbye to Boston.
Now I just have to go and implement all that stuff.