The first part of our week began by exploring the yogic process, the cycle of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Brahma consists of the process of creativity itself, our resourcefulness, our willingness to learn and create space for creative learning, nurturing our ability to spontaneously birth something new. Vishnu is the ability to nurture this new creation, expression, or way of life. When we’ve found something that is of value to us, something shifts within us and our desire to nurture this new found expression sets in. Following this, a time comes where we outgrow this expression. This is Shiva. The desire to move forward, to let everything go in hope of discovering something new, is so strong that it seems worth the risk and we propel ourselves into the unknown yet again. When an experience becomes too little and other things start dawning on us. Throughout this cycle, Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, all of the prana within us is alive. There is a time and place for everything to unfold in its own way. Developing our yoga practice enables us to open ourselves up to greater possibilities. Our mat grows as we grow, and it is where we go to learn from our experiences.
As our awareness shifts, we wake up to our ability to create this space for ourselves, and as teachers, for others. A space where one can nurture their sense of self and continue to grow. A space where we are available to be impacted by what is, as it is; claiming our lives and moving to where we’re interested in next. Yoga is the place in our self that we go to, to willingly accept whatever arises. There is permission to be who we are, as we are. Once we see ourselves for who we are and understand that we aren’t good for feeling good, or bad for feeling bad, we accept our polarities and understand that we are not fixed beliefs, but individuals with the ability to witness these beliefs.
Throughout the third week we began taking a closer look at relaxation as a learned skill. Slowing down the mind to the time of the body and entering this altered state of consciousness requires incredible focus in order to engage other dimensions of ourselves so that energy isn’t scattered (and we don’t just pass out). So why is Sivasana at the end of our class so important? Scientifically speaking it lowers the blood pressure, heart rate, and cholesterol and helps relieve chronic pain and insomnia. On a more esoteric level, it helps us develop the muscle of awareness, rejuvenates, regenerates and sensitizes us, decreasing stress and increasing our creativity as well as our ability to experience pleasure in life. Well isn’t that great; but now how do we relate that to the students who simply want to run out of the room when class is over? I suppose it is about generating an interest in relaxation, inspiring them to enter the NOW by making it pleasurable and meaningful. As yoga stimulates the kundalini and awakens the chakras, it is important that we take time at the end of a class to let things settle and absorb, balancing our autonomic nervous system and creating that feeling of total bliss that follows a great class. Relaxation is as vital and important to our life force as the food we eat. The intention of Savasana is not to fall asleep but to enter a state of Pratyahar, awakening our ability to draw our awareness inwards.
About half way through our third week we delved into the Chakras!! So incredible. They represent the map of our story, a way of perceiving ourselves in order to map our existence, without trying to sell a belief. Understanding them offers us the choice to consciously participate in the evolution of our organism, and my experience with them was quite intense. Without going into details, one of our morning practices was designed with each of the 7 Chakras in mind, and a conversation with the teacher following class provided me with an understanding and appreciation for the path my life has lead me down throughout the past 2 years. Now that the overwhelming feeling has settled, I feel incredibly curious to learn more about them... and I think Santa has a book about them for me next week!
Next was the journey of creating our first class! While we developed our Vinyasa, they emphasized the importance of setting an intention, and making it dynamic while including the things we love. Planning is priceless as it gives us a place to put all our thoughts, but plans are useless. There is an energy that happens in the doing that cannot be replicated in plans. So we were instructed to design it all; dot every I and cross every T, but then be willing to let it all go on our mat, and let the prana flow. Once we create the backbone to what we want to teach we can play with it by exploring the 6 movements of the spine, different orientations to gravity, different energetic polarities, and using the transitions between postures to create rhythm and balance in the brain. Transitions will create momentum which in turn will increase physical capabilities, support concentration and induce meditation. So off we went that weekend to design our classes!!