Wednesday, July 16, 2014

yoga body buddha mind

one of a million things i've discovered about myself during my 20-some-year yoga journey is that i need a big dose of spiritual with my asana.  while i experienced many benefits from hot yoga and love my bikram teachers, i needed more heart yoga.  the body-mind was all there and then some; for me, not so much the -spirit.  (ken loves doing bikram yoga and others have told me that the spiritual practice of bikram is the discipline and routine.  unfortunately, feeling spiritual in the hot room was as elusive to me as the endorphine rush that runners supposedly get that makes running feel good.)

i can't tell you how excited i was when i learned last summer that om yoga founder and teacher cyndi lee would be moving to our sweet town.  her partner is the president of randolph college where ken teaches (and me, once in a while).  she's been teaching yoga at a local studio between her numerous teaching gigs around the world.

i jumped at the opportunity to join cyndi's three-day workshop yoga body buddha mind.  i have collected bits of buddhist guidance here and there throughout my life, but the practice and my understanding of it felt a little fragmented and unknit to me.  i feel a pull toward buddhism and an intuitive knowledge that there is material and process there that i need in this life.

before the workshop began on friday, i felt some resistance (shocking, i know) and the options for excusing myself from the experience started rolling through my head.  since this summer (um, life) is all about examining and working through my resistance, i did some quick journaling and then made myself get in the car.  i pulled up to this sign.  it's a normal sign, but really felt powerful to me.

yoga participant.

yes, that's me.

once i entered the room there was no going back.  and i am so happy i entered.

cyndi has a teaching style that i really resonate with.  her level of expertise is mindblowing; she has so much knowledge and wisdom in both yoga and buddhism.  she is also very down-to-earth and direct in her teaching style, not afraid to ask tough questions that help students recognize and move through their resistance, while still being supportive and emotionally present for her students.  she brings stories, a great sense of humor and the willingness to play.

we worked hard.  you can always tell when i am especially focused and present because there are few photographs.

turns out, a big chunk of the workshop was looking at resistance from the perspective of this ancient practice.  which, by the way, is the actual beginning of looking at resistance.  hello attachment, aversion and ignorance (in buddhism, the three afflictions), you are foundation of modern social work and mental health practice.

while my memory card may be light, my mind, heart and notebook are overflowing with new wisdom, new practices, a new direction.

my view from savasana included the brilliant midsummer sky through 12-foot french windows, a tree that housed the bird who gently challenged my practice by chirping louder and louder and louder and louder and louder during mindfulness meditation, and this large ink-on-paper chinese calligraphy piece with the taoist characters wu wei: non-action or not-doing.

this is us (not me, i have the camera) post-workshop.  i really wish i would have thought to snap a group photo at the beginning of the weekend to see the changes in our faces and beings. by sunday afternoon we were completely blissed-out and full of new practices and new questions for life.

i am looking forward to doing more work with cyndi.  i am grateful that she is here.