Thursday, March 22, 2012

Teachings on Space: Discipline and the Sivananda Yoga Teaching Training

For yogis there are two states of being: sukha and dukha. Often translated as happiness and suffering, the actual meaning as translated from Sanskrit comes from the root words:

Kha = space
Su  = good
Du = bad
Sukha--such good space!
Dukha--for the person who shovels!

Here in the ashram, and particularly as a Karma yogi and a teacher trainee, there is much discomfort for many people with regard to the daily schedule (5:30 rise, bed only after 10 PM every day, no day off for good behavior or just to sleep in). Role is checked going into and out of every class and each required event for the teacher trainees. This morning someone was sent around to rouse staff and karma yogis out of their tents around 6:45 AM when they were missing from the morning satsang. (You might wonder how I know this. After checking into satang this morning, during the meditation period, I left. I needed to attend to my aching mind which was full of thoughts and lacking caffeine! I did return to hear the end of the lecture and chant the final prayers. I felt 100% better after taking this bit of time for myself. No dukha, only regained sukha.)

Another difficult aspect in the teacher training is the amount of information that is disseminated and the short amount of time in which it is offered. The month long yoga teacher training is really a year-long course squeezed into 28 days.

Both the daily schedule and the classes leave very little room for one's self. This can bring a feeling of being in a very tight box--especially when you also live in a 9X9 tent!

In the asana class the Sivananda sequence of postures is very specific and very inward. In the flowing section of poses called Surya Namaskar, all of the upward arm movements are from the front of the body, not the side, which keeps the space of the body quite contained. The idea is that such physical containment keeps the Prana or life force within the body, increasing well-being--eventually.

Crow pose done easily by Vishnu--dukha for me!
What I am learning:

Space is an inside job.

•Not having much time to myself every day makes the occasional 10 minutes from getting out of satsang or class early, feel like infinity. 


•Not being given time to process the information (mental and physical) is teaching me to be in the moment without holding onto it--giving me freedom and space to breath and be. Such a schedule keeps me moving. 


•From the many returns to the Savasana pose in the Sivananda yoga asana sequence, the lesson learned is that you can find deep relaxation in the midst of much doing.

Who knew this was what discipline was all about?

Om shanti


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