TAT PARAM PURUSA KHYATER GUNAVAITRSNYAM
Each AcroYoga immersion you enter has a similar feel. There is a wonderful anticipation and welcoming of new people, places and spaces. Each Immersion with its very unique blend of individuals also seems to take on its distinctive community signature or vibe that is unlike the pulse of any other immersion you have participated in. It is a co-created adventure between students and teachers, individuals and small groups.
During the final day (5) of the Nelson Elemental Immersion, we had collectively discovered that the topic of consciously choosing your path had surfaced repeatedly among the various groups. Several of the participants were moving toward powerful life shifts just before, during, or immediately after this event. Changing jobs, schools, moving, having children, and many other life altering situations were bringing about a level of excitement coupled with the perfectly normal amount of uncertainty. We continues to work throughout the week to find personal clarity in all that we were doing while actively trying to let go.
According to Ayurveda (the sister science of yoga, or life science) the constituents of nature (the gunas) are either Sattva (Pure) or leaning toward one of the extremes; Tamas (heavy, dull, lethargic) or Rajas (stimulating, action, mutation). it is human nature to dip towards the sides, but the aim is to ease ourselves towards the middle where we are light in thought, word and deed. This middle state brings us closer to finding our True Self.
The true self is always there, but like Waldo, it can be difficult to locate. We distract ourselves by assuming we are the temporary thought or action rather than understanding that we are the constant that is simply experiencing the thought or the action. When we take ourselves to be these impermanent cloaks when can settle into a path that might be the most skillful way to illuminate our path. Many of us will create our own roadblocks and barriers to our own happiness by never really looking at who we really are or what we are wanting from this life. It is scary to ask such questions when we know that often it will lead us in a potentially different direction from where we are and change is often a frightening concept. In reality it is usually our massive personally created mental dance around our excuses not to step towards our ultimate happiness that causes more pain than the actual shift itself. We must be willing to release all to gain even more.
I have currently transitioned to Sydney, AU where I am having a heartfelt reunion with my acro-sisters Stefanie Glasenapp and Julia Weis. It has been several years since our last reunion. We are so grateful for this opportunity to reconnect.
On our way to Wellington, just before B heads back to the states and I head to Sydney, our ferry was canceled so we had a joyful little ride in a very tiny plane. The cows wished us well on our journey.
Brian will be almost home after almost 36 hours of constant travel (Picton to Nelson to Wellington to Auckland to LA to NYC, bus to Delaware Water Gap and a cab ride home) by the time I get this posted.
DRSTANUSRAVIKA VISAYA VITRSNASYA VASIKARA SAMJNA VAIRAGYAM
Non-attachment is often misunderstood. It is not indifference. In more literal translations the term Vairagya (non-attachment) means without color. Our human nature is to desire and be distracted so practice will not stop desire but allow us to not be continually swayed but every want and temptation. By keeping an attitude of non-attachment and releasing the immediacy of the urges that bind us we can have more calm in the mind and contentment in our current state.
We have reached days three and four of the Nelson Elemental AcroYoga Immersion. Non-attachment becomes a harder idea to bring to your participation. The physical moves increase in difficulty. The types of sequences get longer and link more complex moves together. Your body begins to feel the effects of training six hours a day. You don’t want to miss learning the next move, but often the brain and body might not be fully communicating with one another to the degree that you as the observer would like them to achieve these results for you. The desire climbs for the next trick and you find yourself stumbling through move by move, grateful the spotter pulled you through, when you realize you are upside down and have no idea how you actually moved to get into that position.
It is interesting to have participated in that very type of conversation with myself (many times over) and to witness it now in various students. Some students are so relaxed and shrug everything off, knowing they have done their best and all will come with time and practice. Other students get it intellectually but struggle with the fact that they aren’t THERE yet and you can feel their mind racing with anxious anticipation about when and how they are going to get the move. I smile as I see myself reflected in all of them.
I always give my best to my physical practice. I the works do not shift as easily as my attitude towards them. I feel at ease when I have given my best and remain a bit dispassionate about the results of my labor. I fall into grumbles and frustrations when I allow myself to get caught up in the pure desire of the next movement. I don’t “get” the move any faster by getting frustrated or any slower by releasing the intensity of my wanting what I have seen. I know this wholeheartedly. I am getting better at it, but I still have some solid lines to my desires that will not be so easily removed. I am inspired to be more aware of my mental gymnastics as I watch the reactions of other students mirror my own nature.
The babies have continued to be an enjoyable addition to the mix. They love to fly and today Peko the most amazing recipient of the Prone Thai Massage Sequence. It was touching to see mama Yola tenderly pressing her fingers on his little feet and seeing his smile get bigger as she gave small circular rubs to his back. Manu stood in a full balance in my hand today. He didn’t stay long before he decided it was more interesting to sit on me and try to eat my fingers.
Tomorrow is the last full day in Nelson. Tonight, sleep, lots of sleep is in order!
1.14 sa tu dirgha kala nairantarya satka rasevito drdhabhumih
Seeds need time to grow. There is a careful and amazing balance once a seed has been planted that you must water it (feeding the idea), keep the weeds out (with drawl from the senses), giving it the sun (energy) it needs to grow and enough dark (cultivating space and quiet in the mind) in between.
I was chatting with Brian on the beach and he was trying to plant a specific seed in my mind, however he was also pulling the seed up every minute or so to see if the roots had grown and not giving the thought time to plant. I pointed this out (with great love, of course). I laughed pretty hard when I got back to out room and was reading the commentary on the days Sutra. Swami Satchidananda writes," So let us not be like little children who sow the seed today and dig it up tomorrow to see how much the roots went down." I wouldn't have shared this if Brian hadn't laugh as hard as I did. We continued to discuss our personal efforts to find firmly rooted practice with full attention that allows us to stay steady in practice without having to say, "are we there yet". Truth is if we have to ask, the answer is probably, keep practicing.
We have just completed day 2 of the AcroYoga Elemental Immersion in Nelson, NZ. One full day of Therapeutics and another full day of Acrobatics. All of my assistants have taken immersions with me in the last two years. I have had the opportunity to witness their practice and dedication to building community, personal relationships and physical embodiment of the practice. It is such a joy to see that process reflected. I could also feel today how much I have grown in my practice and my teaching.
I was dropped today by a student who was learning how to spot, but was a bit hesitant to get hands on. I fell onto my elbow and fortunately only got a little brush burn. I could hear the gasp of the students watching and feel the tension in the room. Realizing I was going to be fine. I stood up and brushed myself off. I joked that , " I had taken one for the team". The truth was I felt a bit rattled, but I had reached a place in my practice that I could recognize what was important and transform the experience, I spoke to the inherent dangers of any practice and importance of safety with calmness and clarity. I shared my own story of when I foolishly didn't have a spotter and dropped my own teacher early on in my acro career. I had the students finish the trust exercise and then sit in groups and chat about the experience. It was so powerful. One student shared how he felt himself getting overly confident and realized he needed to give full attention no matter how easy some moves may have felt,; another girl actually said she was thankful to witness my fall as it brought home the importance of the spotting role. I knew I had shifted in my own practice because I could find my center when thrown off balance mentally and physically. A few years ago this would have left me flustered even though no actual damage was done. I realize the gift of this moment to teach others and as a sort of diagnostic test to see how far my roots have grown.
Spotting is often a misunderstood role and an easy one to tune out on. The growth of any acrobat is proportional to the amount of trust and safety they feel. The very nature of supporting another human in this way requires consistence in practice and a solid foundation in awareness. The group today was already helpful and loving, but after the trust building you could see the shift to empowered teams of ninjas really working their edges. I can't wait to see where they are after three more days.
One of the blessings of this week is the presence of two 4 month old babies who are here for the whole event with their parents. The parents work in shifts to practice and care for the babies and the fellow students and I are soaking up the precious giggles and baby babble. Another little girl will be here for portions with her dad after school gets out mon-fri. The balance has worked surprisingly well and it is a pleasure to experience a more inclusive space for children. The parents are also amazing circus performers an acrobats so these little ones will not be strangers to people and movement. I am most impressed that the little ones will be growing up tri-lingual. (Italian, German and English)
Boundless Yoga Staff & Students
We are continuously interested on how our reactions and responses to our personal journeys, albeit travel, adventure, new job, etc. mirror and reflect our social, emotional and spiritual ups and downs. We try every day to apply what we learn about ourselves on the yoga mat to our personal lives. Thank you for tuning in as we share some of those aspects with you.