Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Goal-Setting & Reassessing & Wide Open Spaces

I was *THIS* close to signing up for Yoga Teacher Training.  [ ] <---this close, I mean

But I didn't.

Let me back up.  I have always felt it in me to teach, but what that setting looks like (and what the subject matter might be) often eludes me.   My MFA in Poetry allows me to teach at the collegiate level, but I'm disillusioned by the adjunct process (I won't go into that long story now).

Enter the realization that a very excellent yoga certification school is right around the corner from me.  Yoga + teaching? Could it be?

I was on the list ready to go.  I felt the pull and voice of something else saying, Do this.  It is right.

Except something happened.


Literally, nothing happened.

My schedule changed and my practice fell short for over 3 weeks.  Life happens and things I'd rather not be doing monopolized the time I'd rather spend doing that which I love.  Guilt wears heavy on my shoulders; I'd argue heavier than most since I wear all my tension in my head, neck, and shoulders. And it was all there, weighing heavy in all the tight tense spots on my body.

But this was the best thing that could happen to me.

I have never wanted to be a teacher of something I wasn't LIVING.  I can't simply instruct and go through motions.  I have always worn my emotion-full (not to be confused with emotional) throbbing heart on my tattoo sleeves.  So to begin to teach something I wasn't breathing seemed fraudulent.

Remember that one teacher or that one friend who just GLOWED when they talked about history/cars/physics/Kerouac/opera/____enter subject here____? That is a real Teacher.  Anyone can stand in front of a room/studio and spout form and rule and concept, but we learn best from those who live it best.

This little break with Yoga was the  best thing that could happen to me.

I realized: I'm not ready to learn to teach others when I wasn't encouraging teaching in myself.

I remembered: My first and richest goals have always been to deepen my own practice and understand Yoga as it truly is--a full immersion of yoking & union, not just the postures on the mat.

And like a serendipitous Angel, there she stood. Sri Siri Dharma Galliano.

Well, she stood as a name on a list of possible classes to take at the Big Bear Yoga Festival.  And the class?  Kundalini Yoga.

I almost cried.  A class that held no reservation about incorporating all the limbs of Yoga and not just the mainstream (P.C. or "safe") ones. 

I took the class, and I felt real and raw.  I was me, tremors and weak atrophied muscles and head noise and bright spirit and emotion-full heart. And I was me, a little awestruck to find out she lives about 5 minutes from me, and would be willing to take me on as a student.  A door blown wide open.

That was over a week ago and we have met once since then, sharing ideas on how to work together and what we could bring to the table for each other, then letting it stew in the mind to later cement details.  How wonderful and realistic.

At the Big Bear Yoga Festival, I rededicated myself to those goals of deepening my own practice in the way I want it to be, not the way a Gaiam video suggests.  That, coupled with moving my body as a vessel of service for the Festival itself, really lent itself to opening up those doors that I might have otherwise been afraid to open.  I tend to shy away from chatting up with teachers after class, but here I was meeting so many wonderful people including two different shaman (one who worked on releasing kundalini on me with no expectation in return and the other a local who would like to meet for tea and discuss writing!).  (Btw, what is the plural of shaman!? Shamans? Shamens?)

Something in the re-dedication process, the acceptance of the body's tightness, moving towards servitude, and the flexibility of decision created all this space inside so fear was third rate to reality and possibility.  I sometimes meditate on images of how I desire  my body-heart to feel: a large rambling farm or expansive beach with nothing but sound and sky and smell and SPACE.  If you've ever felt that space you know what I'm talking about: it comes after meditation, a deep massage, a good run, an orgasm felt on the cellular level.

And there it is, the reassessment: To deepen the practice and create wide open space in myself and around myself. And as other students seek out and explore those spaces, we will inevitably meet and teach each other.

Funny how avoidance can be a beautiful Teacher, too, eh?

 Namaste & Sat Nam, Yoga Junkies <3


  1. I would like to get more into yoga and I wish I was at the point that I knew more positions so I could come up with my own flow. Also, Big Bear has a Yoga Festival? How cool is that?

    1. It is cool!! I was floating the whole time I was there; it was AMAZING.

      The hardest answer is also the easiest answer--just do it. Take classes, buy DVDs, watch videos on Youtube. has EXCELLENT resources for all the different types of yoga and asana practices. The more you venture out of your comfort zone, the more you'll develop your own flow. And the funny thing is, it's never the same flow from one time to the next. Sometimes, I'll want complete silence, quiet meditative sound, or I incorporate a station I made on my Pandora called Sitar Ritual Radio which has lots of beats and well, of course, sitar and do a more bob-and-dance-style practice on the mat. Have you looked into taking classes in your city?