“Be the observer observing the observed. You are the observer and the observed.” There is an iridescent magic to learning the most profound wisdom in the most simple terms at the most simple moments. And Jess, our teacher, is truly a maestro at that.
The journey within through the practice of yoga for me starts with the following :
- The body: take a look at your neck, wrists, palms, arms, elbows, shoulders, ribs, chest, spine, hips, thighs, knees, calves, shins, ankles and feet. Examine each body part, inspect it one by one and study them.
– Is there hyperextension in my elbows and knees? Oh yes.
– Were my shoulders rounding forward and my neck protruding? For sure.
– Was I arching my lower back at all times? You just bet.
- The prana: learning how to breathe in Ujjayi for the first time, I was dizzy from all the oxygen rushing to my lungs at a much higher volume. But nevertheless, the forever optimist was feeling rather confident in her easy seated position. How very graceful you say? Nope! With eyes closed, I was leaning forward and my left shoulder was jerking up towards my ear. .
- The mind: focusing on one thought sounds like an easy enough task. Well, perhaps just before lunch time? But I have come to cherish and thoroughly enjoy starting our days together in Pramanaya. Some days my mind is calm, like a lake on a still autumn day. Some days my mind is restless with past memories fleeting by. Some days it daydreams. And some days, it gets lost in the comforting sound of Ocean Breath. For a split second, my surroundings blur and I embrace the self that is present. Time stands still yet it travels at lightspeed. When I open my eyes, I am exactly where I need to be, no matter where I started that morning.
- The emotions: it is natural to feel, we are all humans. The awe and deep gratitude I have towards my teachers and my batch friends, the momentary euphoria when I was able to get into a shoulder stand, the quiet yet powerful contentment during pranayama. But every day, behind my smiles, I felt shame. I felt weak and vulnerable when I was the only one left learning to stay in crow pose while all my friends are onto teddy bear pose and beyond. I felt inadequate and undeserving and one day, tears rolled down my cheeks silently as I lay down in Savasana.
- Then comes the wisdom: my ego is in the way of appreciating all the things I can do and how far I have already come. Every day I am humbled by the things I can’t do and in that, I practise non-attachment during all the asanas, the ones I can do and the ones I can’t do – free from arrogance and impetuosity.
Above all, the most important observation is that the body, the prana, the mind and the wisdom are all a part of the yogic practice that removes the veil and ignorance separating me and the Self. The veil has no beginning but has an end. The Self, the very being that exists needs no practice, no knowledge, no healing. We are already pure, love and bliss.
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