3 Wednesdays from 6:30-8pm
11839 Sorrento Valley Road, Suite 39E, San Diego, CA 92121
Corner of Carmel Mountain Road and Sorrento Valley Road
New Yoga Mat included
all for only $110
So, very painfully, I crept into a new chiropractor’s office last week. No physical yoga practice for 10 days. And when I start again, it won’t look like anything that I’ve been practicing. No, this is called slow progress back. And it was time to take the practice of yoga from one of the eight-limbs and reflect on the other 7 and how I’m practicing or not practicing. For those not familiar, there’s a great article from Yoga Journal about it:
1. Yamas – this is how we practice off the mat with others. There are five of them:
Ahimsa: nonviolence = I pushed and ignored my body, and my body-workers recommendations and didn’t do some much needed self-care.
Satya: truthfulness = Was I lying to myself about how things were affecting me?
Asteya: nonstealing = Am I’m stealing someone’s time by not following good advice, procrastinating, time wasting, etc.
Brahmacharya: the idea of walking like God. Am I doing that in my actions with others or am I feeding my ego or having thoughts that do not serve?
Aparigraha: non-hoarding, not grasping. This has literally manifested in the right side of my back. My right hand literally grips. What am I gripping and holding onto so tightly? What do I need to let go of?
2. Niyamas – self-discipline and spiritual observances. There are five of these.
Saucha: cleanliness = What am I putting into my body? Am I putting in sugary foods to make me feel good?
Samtosa: contentment. Am I present with today? Can I cultivate gratitude for what I have right now?
Tapas: heat; spiritual austerities. Ahh, what is also known as the friction of conflict. Sitting right in the middle of this right now.
Svadhyaya: Self-study, reading of the sutras, mantras. Suddenly I have way more time for this. But self-study is not limited to reading of these books, it’s the application of this. Taking time to reflect, taking an inventory of my life and thoughts at this moment.
Isvara pranidhana: Surrendering to God. Some people reading this will know a whole bunch about this. Surrendering to what is. To sit before a teacher and learn. The understanding that you are a small part in a greater universe.
3. Asana. (physical posture practice) This one is out.
4. Pranayama – breathwork. Thought I’d actually try and practice that 45 minutes a day BKS Iyengar suggests but he also said if there is a back issue don’t do it.
5. Pratyahara – withdrawl of the senses. First stages of a meditation practice. Why yes, I have time for a daily practice now. Simply closing the eyes.
6. Dharana – focused attention. Another phase of meditation practice, focusing on an object, diety or mantra. Keeping the focus regardless of noise outside or a noisy fly.
7. Dhyana – meditation. The prior two get us in the arena. This is staying in the arena. Staying with the stillness.
8. Samadhi – Deep down, we all want peace. This is the realization and experience of that peace. While vigorous asana practice has brought me to this place, as my teacher says, don’t grasp onto that as the goal everytime. Because you may not get there. So it becomes the practice. So I bring myself to the mat or cushion, with the idea that I may not get here. This is the discipline.
So out of this, stems a new appreciation for my practice. It is also making me a better teacher as I can’t physically demonstrate so I get to explain things really well. And I get the opportunity to walk around more and physically adjust people rather than get caught up in demonstrating.
My experience in the past few years is that it takes a lot of work, self-promotion and marketing to be a yoga teacher or run a yoga studio. Like other jobs, there are a lot of people applying for the same jobs, as a number of yoga studios have discovered teacher trainings are a great way to make money. Don’t get me wrong, I think that it’s incredibly hard to run a studio. The expenses on just the building alone and utilities can be astronomical. And the insurgence of corporate run studios churning out teacher trainees, even advertising “become a teacher in one week” makes it really difficult for the smaller studio to compete. Or does it?
While the rise of the corporate chains have brought more locations, more exposure to yoga and more opportunities for those teaching, smaller studios often have more seasoned and experienced teachers, a variety of styles of yoga and often more pay to teachers. However, these generalizations don’t always dictate experiences. While attending a class at one of the chain studios, with teacher who probably had six months of experience, I experienced a deep savasana at the end of one of the classes where I went into that alpha-state of pure consciousness and non-attachment, true bliss. And at a studio, a teacher with a lot of experience insisted I go into a headstand after I explained about my constant neck injuries resurfacing afterwards, insisting on instructing me the “proper way” and that I had been practicing it “wrong.” And yes, I was injured afterwards.
When I was seeking my teacher training the first time, my values were how can I do this quickly and least expensively. I also didn’t want to wait on a waiting list to get in. The cheapest and quickest took place over three months. 90 days. And then I was done. My values were different that what they are now. Now, in my second teacher training, I want to learn specifically from a specific teacher that has amassed a large amount of knowledge over decades on the teaching and practice of yoga. The training takes place over a period of two years. My values have shifted. The first time, I needed to finish quickly and least expensively. Now I value the learning process over a period of time. I will actually end up paying less that I paid for the original teacher training and I get the value of paying that over two years.
There is a value in each and every experience in life. Whether it is learning something, the hard way, the easy way, whatever way or having an experience that you normally don’t have. When I open myself up for something new, I am inviting myself to take a step into the void and experience something that ultimately shows me something. Wherever I find myself practicing. If it’s in a gym, corporate studio or a converted garage, I open myself up to the experience.
And in terms of competition, I read this in my classes sometimes, it was a letter from Martha Graham to a friend:
“There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is; nor how valuable it is; nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. “
Susan Foxley is coming in June to do a workshop in San Diego for us. Coming from the LA area, she is a life coach, yoga teacher and massage therapist. I have been subscribing to her blog feed for a while. You can connect to it here. I find her simple yet effective suggestions for living life on life’s terms to be insightful and authentic.
I find that often times I am overwhelmed with the amount of information that comes to me, hundreds (wish I was exaggerating don’t ever give your email out to a bridal show) of emails, blogs to be read, books to read, programs and movies to watch. I am looking forward to an afternoon that doesn’t require any of those things.