Thursday, July 12, 2012

Yoga in the Heart of the City

I took a week's vacation to replenish at a workshop held at the Toronto Yoga Centre.  After the first day I came home feeling exhausted and a bit defeated.  After the second day, I still felt exhausted but a bit less defeated.  To tell the truth, if this had been pay-as-you-go I might not even have shown up for Wednesday.

This was hard work.  Where was the jubilation and exhilaration I had felt when I attended in 2010?  Immediate gratification wasn't on the itinerary.

We started each day with one hour pranayama, followed by 2 hours asana.  The full day program included afternoon classes in symbolism, where we further explored the meaning behind the poses.  When we introduced ourselves the first day after lunch, I discovered ten of the thirteen who had signed up were in the first or second year of rigorous teacher-training and had to attend because this was part of their curriculum. What had I gotten myself into, I wondered?

I reminded myself that I was there because I wanted to deepen my daily practice, and  I also wanted to spend more time with Marlene, a gifted and inspiring teacher.

B.K.S. Iyengar in Parivrtta Trikonasana
One more day to go and I can say I've now been able to take certain concepts and feel them on a visceral level that will transform the way I approach my yoga.  This workshop has definitely renewed my practice.

Parivrtta Trikonasana (revolved triangle) seems to be my nemesis.  I only need to hear the words and my whole body tightens up, which makes it even harder to take the shape of this asana.  What is it about this pose that defeats me?  I spent a great deal of time analyzing that and trying to understand new ways to approach the conundrum.  I fixated on the pose for quite some time, forgetting there was another dimension to this question.  My visceral revelation was that the pose itself is just a small part  of my yoga, the real yoga is the pursuit of the answers to those questions.  One of the insights I had was to try to find the triangles in space and let that space support me. Of course yoga is far more than asana, it is transporting those attitudes and insights to other parts of your life.  As Iyengar himself would say, life is yoga, yoga is life.

Everyone was working with different poses in different ways and today we shared some of those insights and revelations.  It was incredible to hear everyone speak from their heart.  There were many powerful stories in the room and great diversity.  People from other countries, different faiths, some working through the loss of loved ones, a few established teachers speaking about what drives them... I felt humbled and very connected to those other souls who just days before were perfect strangers.  What had changed was my level of understanding of their journey, and comprehending we were all  sharing the same path to some extent.  This feeling of connectedness is also yoga - the 'union'.  I love catching a glimpse of this, however fleeting.


Annika said...

I struggle with the Revolving Triangle Pose as well. All I can think of while in the pose is "when is this gonna be over"... I guess I should practice it more often... Maybe that will help.

Diane said...

Once you take the shape you are only supposed to stay for 30 seconds, breathing normally....

Teacher training in yoga said...

Being on these poses are little difficult during beginning but you can easily do it by regular practice.