I paid a long overdue visit yesterday to my first yoga teacher, Joan Ruvinsky, who spoke to us about an expression that comes from Maine that goes something like, “You can’t get there from here.” I’ve already mentioned in past posts how the occasional expression or saying will resonate with me due to its succinctness, to its relevance to my experience so far…this is one of those sayings.
One of the funniest things I hear from students on a semi-regular basis is that they really want to “do the fun poses.” I’ve stopped asking them to define “fun” for me as the answers are always the same: headstand, handstand, crow, etc…The balancing postures, especially the inversions, hold a shiny allure for newcomers and experienced yogis alike. I am no exception, as one of the postures that encouraged me to explore yoga as a physical practice was Sirsasana. Standing on my head was a commonplace occurrence when I was a child, so when I discovered that there was a spiritual practice that incorporated what I already was familiar with, I began to dig deeper.
After spending the day with all the fathers in my family, I came home and caught an episode of Les Francs-tireurs documenting the world of extreme sports in our lovely province…from base diving to speedboarding, most of the people interviewed who spent their time pushing the limits of adrenaline-chasing gave the same answer when questioned what drew them to and kept them coming back to their chosen extreme sport: it was what brought them to their personal state of meditation.
There is a lot of information to process from the Yogic teachings, all of which can discombobulate the most grounded of people. Filtering through and processing it all may indeed prove to be exhausting, but allowing yourself to challenge what you consider true is always enlightening and more often than not, illuminating. One aspect of Yoga continues to this day to challenge my beliefs, and I believe that it poses some of the same questions for others as it does me. The Yogic scriptures and teachings bring everything back to one thing: union. The word Yoga comes from the Sanskrit root word yuj, which means to unite or to yolk. We refer most often to the union of the mind, body and breath…the aim of which is to return or reunite with the source of all life, which is most often referred to as God in the teachings. This poses somewhat of a problem for me.
I’m alone. Approaching the end of my latest 2-week voyage over to see my England-based extended family, I find myself in the rarest of situations: Helene has taken the kids out, Kerry is off at a football game…and I’m alone in the house…the always kinetic center of it all, the flurry of activity that starts around 7am and doesn’t stop until the children go to sleep slightly more than 12 hours later. Reuniting with complete stillness after 11 days (obviously excluding those sweet hours of repose I take full advantage of), tapping back into that serenity and groundedness, literally feels like coming home…in a place I consider my home away from home. All of which reinforces my belief that home is wherever you want it to be, at any given moment. Right now, I’m home.
We are surrounded by doubt and fear, from all directions, all around us. We are bombarded by images of who we should be, what we should wear, eat, and drive, and how our bodies should look. All these “standards” that we inevitably hold ourselves up to (in spite of ourselves and our better, innate judgement) succeed in driving, and sometimes even creating, that fear. Fear of not fitting in, of not belonging, of being outcast…and all the while, the only thing we are accomplishing is the complete and utter suppression of our true selves…of our innate light, of our inspiring individuality that stems from the source of all energy which we all come from and to which we all return.
As my students floated through their post-Savasana haze this evening, I was approached by Lindsay, a regular student of mine, who wanted to know why we roll over onto the right side of the body when coming back into a seated posture after the deep relaxation of Savasana. I had my suspicions from an anatomical […]
Our annual Centre Luna Yoga Spring yoga retreat has come to an end, and now that I’m back home, languishing in the drizzle of cold rain and misty fog (beach? did someone say beach?), I thought I’d share one of the most interesting insights I brought back with me from our time in gorgeous Tulum, […]
I have to take my hat off to Tim Burton (once again)…the visionary behind the defining film moments that include characters like Edward Scissorhands, Sweeney Todd and Beetlejuice has once again given me a cinematic moment that will stay with me for the rest of my life. There are aspects of Burton’s films that always […]
This week I have the honour of teaching 2 classes at the Palais des Congrès (Montreal’s main convention centre) for federal workers in the public sector from across Canada who are coming to our unusually temperate city (for this time of the year). Getting everyone off to the best start possible as they trek through the 2-day convention is already something to look forward to, but what I’m really excited about is the theme of the event, which is connecting to community, something absolutely essential for these federal employees who deal with the public day in and day out.