About seven years ago, I began teaching students who wanted to become teachers, or very often, just wanted to deepen their study of yoga. Since ISHTA Yoga opened its own doors, I’ve taught in a majority of the trainings, working alongside some of my teachers and helping to impart some wisdom and know how to students who are now established teachers themselves.
It was humbling and awe-inspiring, as ever, to begin a new first-level training last night; to see the familiarity factor give way to the uniqueness of the new group. I also feel the power of the bonding of the new students, as facilitated by my teacher Alan Finger, ever more deeply.
The hardest part of the evening for me is always choosing the few words of introduction in the circle. Some students are new to yoga; some are established practitioners. I have decades of stories to pick from and respect for all the teachers along my path, and sometimes, I get lost in the moment. In one training introduction, I forgot to mention Alan, yesterday, I barely mentioned any other teachers besides Alan and my training mentor Jean Koerner.
Nonetheless, I’m thrilled to begin the process once again, with all my colleagues: Ann, Evelyn, Julia, Kara, Sarah, and Alan, and all the eager students of TT219, the 19th 200-hr ISHTA training.
The beginning of the Sutras so concisely states the reason for yoga. I needed some placeholder text for a web page, and paraphrased the first five. It seemed worth recording:
Yoga is the stilling of the mind. Then the Consciousness focuses on things as they are. At other times, the mind becomes associated with the experiences of the senses and — as in a dream — lives in a fantasy.
I gave myself one Christmas present this year. It was Steal Like an Artist, by Austin Kleon. I’m about half way through what I figured would be a reminder book, that is, one full of thoughts I know or have heard, but could use to hear again as inspiration. (Sometimes that feels like nagging, sometimes like restating the obvious, sometimes Pollyannaish.*)
The book is inspiring, but done with such a creative flair that for me it avoids all the potential cynical escapes. The drawings help make the messages more real, serving as an example of the advice from the page I’m currently on: use your hands, and turn off the computer.
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*Following some other advice from the book, I’ll remix in something that occurred to me during my research (Rhymes with POLLYANNA: French Guiana, Indiana, Juliana, poinciana (source, Merriam-Webster.com):
Who wouldn’t be a Pollyanna lounging in French Guiana — shit, even Indiana — with Juliana in that poinciana print dress.