Svadhyaya: Yoga Teacher Training… 5-1-13

I was supposed to blog about what was outstanding from the anatomy lesson on Sunday but I had to miss this weekend of training. California Spirit Fest was simply amazing and I missed the camaraderie and stimulating learning that has become part of my life since early in January. So this blog reflects the three qustions I answered about svadhyaya—the niyama that encourages us to take on self-study as a lifelong habit.


a) This teacher training is a beautiful well-mapped road in self study. Svadhyaya is my nature and has been as far back as I can remember. I have self-reflective poems from when I was ten years old, philosophical book reports from way back and a memory of deep listening to and reading from Baba Ram Dass well when I was but 18 years old. I don’t feel the need to make a plan for continuing education for when we are done with this course work because I will always be sniffing around for the next attention puller. That being said, it would be really useful to pull each asana sheet out and keep honing it. I dig around and find what is ringing true in my personal unfolding and that investigation becomes in service to what will come forth in the classroom. Each week in this current chakra journey has been like that. Now that we have really rooted into that instinctual survival, that ancestral lineage, and discovered the 2 bellies–tender & powerful—I wasn’t sure where to go with anahata. But during the memorial service in Sedona, I felt how the free flow of emotions happens when the heart channel is clear. That all the stuff that brews in 2 and seeks expression in 3 needs to funnel through 4 unabated—no forcing, no holding back, the way it is with children (thank you Rilke). I never quite felt it like this before; I could circle the chakras 50 more times and keep learning. Same with the yamas/niyamas. For me the key is keeping my awareness perspective all inclusive and broad. That way when something grabs my attention, I can naturally zero in and investigate.

b) I suppose I really don’t have much patience for super-challenging writing so I looked for a sutra translation more spoon-feeding nature. I am more interested in getting the basics, just enough to send me on my way to feel what is in it for me. Too much information or information I cannot really access frustrates me. I appreciated Mary Paffard’s out of the box slant on the sutras that challenged me to take on a new perspective, a great source of inspiration.

c) My deepest teacher of the last dozen years has been Gabrielle and even in her death, she continues to inspire me. She was never someone I was close to, a very private person, holding herself distant to most students, though not all. There was a clique-like atmosphere around her, an edginess, a danger I was aware of, did not know what it was really about but it drew me in, along with the substance of the teaching. I had been a good girl a long time and this wicked sensibility really intrigued me. Now in her passing the information is tumbling out and it is all much more clear and every day she becomes more and more human. I went through some real anger (and still am moving through that) along with deep sadness and there is a healthy dose of fear about the future. All of this unraveling has paralleled this training…quite interesting. So I would have to say that she was so NOT a serve it up on a plate teacher. She kept you moving until you were so fucking empty that whatever emerged had to be your authentic truth because nothing else was possible. I am grateful for the hours and hours I spent under her careful tutelage but none of them were simple or easy or spoon fed—every moment was held in the spirit of investigation, she was part of the circle of trackers, no one was in the middle or at the top. She took the life long seeker that I was, stripped away a lot of the baggage, amped up my awareness, honed my attention, crafted a keen witness and set me free. Grateful.