I had a lot of admiration, and still do, for my first ever Anusara teacher, Kathy. She transmitted a healing, loving, nurturing vibe from the day I met her and meeting her changed my life for the better. Shortly after I met Kathy, I met Josh. When I practiced with Josh for the first time, something in me woke up. That day I met him, I was filled with new hope, wonder, and joy. It wasn’t his nurture, or his incredible alignment and precision-oriented cuing though, those things had much to do with the fact that once I met him I knew I’d found my favorite teacher and that I wanted to make his teachers my teachers, too.
For my 200 hour TT, I chose to follow the teachers that had trained Josh. I was so motivated by his teaching. In fact, I felt primordially attached to him as if we had connections that went back thousands of years and that I’d been waiting my whole life (in this life time) to meet him. He led me from darkness into light with his teaching, and when I began teaching, I could feel both his and Kathy’s influence in my style. I am grateful for all of my teachers and there are so many.
Blown Away take 2
I’m on my meditation cushion. I’m supposed to be working on letting my thoughts go. First, you put your attention on your breath, then, you keep breathing. Within seconds, your mind will be wandering to and fro. You notice it. You bring your attention back to the breath and say, “thinking.” By labeling it “thinking” we simply identify it, and bring the attention back to the breath. No big deal. Except that in five minutes it feels like you’ve sifted through universes of thoughts. There’s so much information to process. This last weekend, spending four solid days in the company of Christina Sell and others who are drawn to her, I experienced something unlike anything I have experienced before. I tried to compare it to 200 hour yoga teacher training I had in 2012. Nope, doesn’t work. I want to give you finite details of why the experience was so exceptional: Christina’s heart felt sincerity, down to earth real-ness, and straight forward brilliant articulations all make me want to cry. She radiates such pure, honest, modern, mature beauty. I am overwhelmed with joy over the experience. If I had any kind of power in the United States as a law-maker, I’d somehow make it mandatory that all high school children read her book, Yoga from the Inside Out. Not only read it, but discuss it and write essays about it and how they see their own lives in relationship to her wisdom.
This is the kind of education I needed at age 14. I found what I have been looking for. I didn’t want to admit I was looking. I really wasn’t looking, but I was. I knew I wanted a teacher when I fled Phoenix for Denver. I knew I needed guidance I couldn’t find in Arizona. Here it is. A room full of wisdom and beauty, breath and understanding, warmth mingled with rich senses of humor. I will be corrected. I’ll be shown greater wisdom, and in fact, it’s already been done. I danced with the divine all weekend long, and encountered horrible fears and anxieties about myself, about my worthiness, about my ability to teach and to move forward, about my ability to pay back my debts to society. It’s an ongoing process. You don’t defeat these mental attacks and have the struggle be over. You meet struggle every day and you embrace it, you dance with it, and you sing glorious chants while you breathe the freshest mountain airs all around; knowing that you are exactly where you need to be. These are thoughts I can’t let go. Or I do let go, and they come flooding back. There was a profound parallel in everything I encountered this weekend. I had insomnia for two nights in a row as I somehow spiritually downloaded an expansion model that I’m still not sure my system has the capacity to hold. I am still recovering from the sheer exhilaration of it all. It is exactly what my soul has needed. I am blown away.
Blown Away Take 3
I woke up this morning to my father’s video messages from his wife – he’s in the hospital. His blood pressure sky-rocketed and he couldn’t get enough air last night. Basically, they admitted him from ER to ICU to keep an eye on him. Luckily, I have a sister who is a nurse and she’s called in sick today to go look after dad and his wife and is sending us all Marco Polo videos to keep us all in the loop.
I made coffee, ate a little breakfast and thought about driving to make some money but I’m feeling like I need to do some studying and reflecting. I picked up Christina’s book again and have to put this out there as an example of how and why I am so moved to have found my new teacher:
In talking with people for this project, I saw that the more honest someone was about the challenges she faced, the more willing she was to confront the conditioning that shaped her perception. My friend and student shared with me “that you have to go to hell to heal yourself.” And in many ways my research reflected that sentiment. In 12-Step Recovery language, this translates to “hitting bottom.” Hitting bottom is what makes us willing to do something different, to try something new. Hitting bottom makes us willing to ask for help. Having exhausted all known avenues, we surrender and open ourselves to the unknown, to the breath of life that only the Divine can bring. For many people, dieting, plastic surgery, over-exercising and self-criticism will actually help to create a feeling of invulnerability to pain. The invulnerability will hold throughout their life and will always be able to distract them from what is real. These people will live forever in the Sleeping World, caught in the mesmerizing web of vanity and the endless pursuit of the unattainable. But for the lucky ones, within the despair of hitting bottom an invitation for a relationship with the Divine will be discovered. When the Sleeping World’s message is exposed as a lie, the only option left for some is spiritual life.
My teacher Lee frequently speaks about not indulging vanity in the typical ways of the sleeping world. For what is vanity but the attempt to steel ourselves against our feeling of unworthiness by focusing our attention and aspirations on how we look, what we have on the endless variations of materialistic, superficial “fixes”? Vanity attaches itself to our feelings of separateness and brokenness – “feelings” that, in truth, are purely phantoms. Since vanity gets its fuel from a myth, why not use our valuable life energy for spiritual work and service rather than for manicuring ourselves or for “looking good.” Think about it – if we really knew that the Divine unconditionally loved us, would the concept of a “bad hair day” even make sense? Would we really care so deeply about designer clothes, our complexion, breast size, cellulite, or the number of fat grams we consumed in a day?
Oh, Christina, I want to thank you so much for writing this book. I want to put you on a pedestal and say that I wish all women, everywhere, were so open, honest, and real. I wish that all people everywhere were as genuine about sharing what it is to be of service to the greater good; I want all young women (and men) everywhere to have open, honest dialog about these issues. I want all humans to grow up in an environment where the truest self is safe enough to come out and be seen and heard. I am just so incredibly blown away by the beauty and timing of all of this. So very grateful. So very blown away.