My friend Deepika left her corporate job in Dec 2012 to learn and teach Yoga. She shares her lessons in this GUEST POST.
Recently, I graduated from YogaVahini, a centre specializing in Yoga teacher training and therapist training programs.
As I set off officially into the world as a Yoga teacher and therapist after 1.5 years of intense learning, practising and discovering, I am penning down some thoughts. This is partly an attempt to share something from the course and partly a reminder of the years of learning still to come.
While it is known that yoga helps us in various ways, this course unravelled how that happens and led to a journey much beyond the knowledge of tools and techniques. We were so beautifully led through the entire course contents including yoga concepts, practices, knowledge of the human body and human psychology. Interacting and learning with my colleagues and teachers was a deeply enriching experience.
Here are some important concepts and practices that I would like to continue to imbibe as a life-long guide. After all, I can only truly teach what I internalize.
Observing is a powerful action. An eye-opening experience during the course was the concept of observing one’s own actions, words and thoughts. Because I realized the only way we can change patterns (samskaras), that do not serve us, and replace them with positive patterns is by becoming aware of them. We cannot fundamentally change what we are not even aware of. And these could be thought patterns, behaviour patterns etc. I realized that if I can learn to observe myself, each time, only then can I learn to refine that action the next time.
Being in atha; in the present: While there are countless books being written about the power of the present moment, the practices of using the breath and movement made me experience how we can bring the mind to the present moment. And while we may still continue to tune in and out at different points of time, I think the goal is to shift the balance towards tuning in, and living more in the now.
A calm, clear and one-pointed mind is important to cultivate. Very often we don’t see solutions as a result of a very busy mind. We may be able to observe our actions and words but the only way to really observe our thoughts is if the mind is quiet enough. And it is from this space of clarity that the right perception of reality and solutions can emerge. While it is an important step in healing, it is also an important skill to learn and practice for life.
Abhyasa (practice) is key. Perhaps the single most important lesson is that no amount of theoretical knowledge in the world can replace practice. And this could include any practice that is beneficial to us and to our environment like a yoga practice, practice of mindfulness, practice of a yoga sutra etc. At times I wonder, if our whole life can become a practice, then perhaps we can have more control over our thoughts, emotions and eventually our lives. I also realise that the only way I can achieve my goals with practice is by becoming the goal.
It has been wonderful to be part of this growing conscious community at YogaVahini and I look forward eagerly to the learning, teaching and new challenges ahead.