Curiosity Enlivened the Cat
"We teach because we are fractured. It is not to answer the questions, but to be big enough to live with the ambiguity, to be bigger than the answer. Practice is not about eradicating our frailties, our dark side. It is about accepting our full spectrum, large and courageous enough to embrace those human aspects of ourselves, and stay in our center
as these feelings wash over us."
Donna Farhi, 2001, Yoga Spirt Teaching Training, Lake George, NY
I am a professional student. From that first English Lit class in 1973 that lit the fire of my fascination to .... well, today. I'm in full studentship mode now to tell you about my most recent life's lesson on being stuck. It was revealed to me while in a state of yoga. Yes, yoga is a state more than a particular way to arrange your body. That is my ultimate thesis. Being southern, and in love with playing with words, I can be circuitous in getting to the point. But that's the creativity, and creativity is like the A train to the yoga frame of mind. (Cue: Billy Joel, "I'm in a yoga state of mind.")
The opening quote is from the first page of my first journal in my first masters level teacher training. I've been in continuous trainings ever since, and filled dozens of journals with inspiration from many illumined teachers. I was feeling stuck this morning in deciding what to share in this space, so I turned to my trusty protagonist, Curiosity. In a light bulb moment, I got curious about what it was that first intrigued me to record the first sentence of my multi-volumes of training journals.
On that day a week before 9/11, Donna Farhi planted the seed that would slowly grow to be the core of my teachings and guidance today. I jotted down "we teach because we are fractured," because that is what first drew me to yoga. I had no doubt that it was the Divine (as I would come to know it) that guided the pen across the page. At that moment I was not aware that over the course of the next 20 years I would evolve from teaching people how to do poses into teaching the principles of:
"Practice is not about eradicating
our frailties, our dark side. It is about accepting our full spectrum, large and courageous enough to embrace those human aspects of ourselves and stay in our center
as these feelings wash over us."
This could very well serve as my mission statement in my work as a Yoga Mindset Coach. I've lived the crashes, burns, ecstasies, fulfillments, disappointments, and joys that are our "human aspects," as well as witnessed them transform with my students and clients. I am absolutely gobsmacked that Donna felt it important to call our attention to acceptance, courageousness, and staying in our center. That folks, is the yoga state of mind. Helping you find that is my job! I see the most impact in my one-on-one sessions. This is where we can work with the frailties and dark sides, and find out what they need so we may move into more presence, more calm, more joy.
I feel graced that I've had that resource both for myself and for those who now "sit at my feet." I see the trajectory of my evolution from yoga instructor, to yoga teacher, to yoga educator, to a facilitator of moving to our center. Moving to our center is not static, few can actually stay in their center at all times. This is why we have the practices of yoga, so we may find that inner compass.
Okay, time for this Southerner to stop beating around the azalea bush. The title of this piece is from one of the very first cues I created for yoga asana. I encourage you to experiment with it next time you are in cat pose. The usual cue is to dynamically articulate your vertebrae like a row of dominos, moving from the base of your spine up. At this point, I would say,
"Curiosity didn't kill the cat, it enlivened it." Let your cat pose be playful. I find that
allowing ourselves to be curious about how it feels to be in a particular pose, and to shape it so it fits us is the true definition of the "full expression" of a pose. Call forth curiosity, and add it to courageous and centered as qualities that cultivate that yoga state of mind.
The next opportunity for my group offerings is this Sunday, April 9th, 8:00-9:30am Pacific, in my online Second Sundays Satsang. I know it is Easter Sunday, but if the Easter basket has already been discovered and the feast has yet to begin, I'd love to see you. Though I don't identify as Christian, I'll share a yoga mindset metaphor about Easter Saturday. It's one I turn to when a part of me feels like All is lost, and reassures me that transformation is on its way.
Second Sundays Satsang
Online, 8:00-9:30am Pacific, every second Sunday
"Satsang"is a gathering to explore spiritual reflection under the guidance of a teacher. In these monthly sessions, all are the teacher, as participants are invited to bring their own interests and curiosities about all things "yoga" to the table. We'll enjoy movement, meditation, relaxation, and discussion as vehicles to truly master your inner world and be more effective in your outer world.
$25 per session or $65 for a bundle of three
Sign up here:
Are you ... curious ... about how you can move from frailties to centeredness?
Schedule a complimentary 20-minute 1-on-1 coaching consultation call with me!
I also continue to offer two weekly in-person classes a week at blue door yoga & wellness.
Sonoma, you can join me for Gentle Yoga & Yoga Nidra on the following Sundays, 4:30-5:45pm:
May 14, May 28, June 11, June 25, and July 2.