Last week I spent a memorable four days leading the YogaFit Level 4 teacher training at our Toronto Mind Body Fitness Conference. Such a wonderful group that came together, and I found myself as inspired by there questions as they were by the material we were discussing. Level 4 is centered on Yoga History and Philosophy, learning Sanskrit and reading some of the oldest known texts on Yoga, The Sutras of Patanjali and The Living Gita. Much of the discussion centered around connecting to our true Self. Our Purusha, the divine or light within us that is impermeable never changes. In order to connect to our Self we must first understand and accept our self. The difference noted by capital “S” Self versus small “s” self. Our Prakriti or nature is centered on our small “s” self. This self does change and change constantly. It is our physical body that changes with age, it is our preferences in life that also change with maturity. In understanding our nature and learning to love and care for ourselves in this ever-changing world we are able to connect on a deeper level to our “S” Self.
The thing that I love the most in training is that this stuff really can’t be taught. It must be explored and questioned and ripped apart and brought into the light. Sometimes tears must be shed, sometimes ferocious journaling and sometimes just sitting in pure silence and presence is the right thing. For all it is different and then of course constantly changing as does our nature. What matters is we create the space. We empty our cups. Often this work is done outside of the training days, in reflection and solitude. In the training what I get to do is light the spark.
I have been through this work, many times and I expect many more times. This is the beauty of our Yoga journeys. As a teacher there is something so powerful in truly being the observer. Of watching this spark take hold. Rarely words are spoken, what I see comes to light in the eyes of the student. Like watching a small child learn something new. It is honest and pure in its discovery.
Our paths are our own, yet coming together whether in a training or satsang (gathering of people sharing ideas) shines the light on just how vast our paths are, how many roads we can take, that our discoveries of both our self and Self are never ending. I am so grateful for the continuous learning I receive from my students. The questions I have not thought to ask, the mirror of reflection, of seeing myself in others and of sharing pain, love and lightness.
And so humbly I leave you with the wise words of my teacher, Swami Vivekananda from The Pathways to Joy:
“There is no mystery in what I shall teach. What I know I will tell you, but you must not blindly believe. You must exercise your own reason and judgment, and learn from your own experience whether these things are true or not. Just as you would take up any other science, exactly in the same manner should you take up the study of this grand science of Yoga.”