Sunday, April 17, 2011

Toronto Yoga Conference 2011- Day One

The book...
Cyndi Lee runs and owns OM Yoga Centre in NYC, writes a monthly column for Yoga Journal and teaches internationally.  When I saw her listed on the visiting faculty for this year's conference, I signed up for the full day class on "Yoga Body, Buddha Mind" that linked vinyasa with meditation.

Cyndi is a long-time yoga practioner and student of Tibetan Buddhism. I've really 'connected' with her writing and insights whenever I've come across them, and I connected with her just as much in person.

In the morning we practised a Mindfulness Meditation, and in the afternoon did a contemplative session to cultivate Loving Kindness.  The awareness brought heightened sensation to the vinyasa sessions, which we traveled through very, very slowly.  So we could observe each moment arising, abiding, dissolving.

We spent some time talking, but more time doing and experiencing.  The best teachers I've ever had recognize that experience is the best teacher.  They help to create an environment that will bring you directly to the moment of insight.  It is then up to the student to receive.  As a result of this great workshop approach,  there were many AHA moments for me.

Cyndi does a pose of the month at her studio, and sometimes it is "freeze", where you stop in the pose and observe without immediately correcting.  Just observing:  what is your impulse to fix; what do you habitually fix, should you try correcting something different this time around?  AHA!

"Balance" comes from the Greek word 'bilanc', to dance.  It is not a static state.  You do not 'arrive'.  You can observe it arising, abiding, dissolving.  You can find the state of arising, abiding, dissolving in each transitory moment. AHA!

I usually meditate with eyes closed, so was surprised when I was first introduced by Pema Chodrin to keep my eyes open.  We did the mindfulness meditation eyes open with Cyndi as well.  I like the rationale:  it helps to keep you awake; it connects you to those moments in the day when your eyes are open and you need to bring minudfulness into a difficult or challenging moment. AHA!

Don't wait until you "feel like it" to practise or to meditate.  Come as you are.  Start each day where you are.  Don't expect progress.  Expect boredom:  hot boredom, when you are agitated and 5 minutes feels like 20 and your monkey mind is racing; cold boredom when you are so detached you fall asleep.  I have enough knowledge now that I can design a practise that will suit my ability and energy level for the day, so there really shouldn't be any excuse to skip a day.

I've had Cyndi's 'Guide to Daily Practice', on my shelf for a few years & brought it along so she could sign.  Inside the cover she drew a sitting yogi, labeled it Diane, and wrote a personal message.  Very nice!

1 comment:

Carô said...

AHA! Always nice to read you Diane. Your are just a blogging fool today. I mean that in a good way :)!