NEW SERIES IN THE WORDS OF A TEACHER TRAINEE JULIA JONSON COHN TELLS ALL
EVERYTHING SEEMS NEW
By Julia Jonson Cohn
Cobrahhh! A collective spark of enlightenment beamed across the yoga studio as our teacher Rachel guided us into the best Bhujangasana some of us had ever experienced. We yoga teacher trainees rose up simultaneously with wide eyes and let out a resounding “ahhhh!” as we achieved near perfect alignment. It was like the grand finale of teacher training that day. Executing a pose that we had all likely done hundreds of times before yet this time it felt brand new because of what we had learned.
Rachel’s enthusiasm throughout the day reverberated through me as she talked about ankle, thigh and shoulder loops. I was increasingly aware that I was much like a child learning a task for the first time. Yoga has been a trusty companion for almost half my life yet lately I feel like I’m just trying it for the first time. I suppose it is a renewed sense of wonderment about how many elements and layers of this ancient practice exist.
We began our day by taking class with our guru Silvia who challenged us to face our fears. This meant not just taking risks, but paying close to attention to everything around us so that we may be fully present as students of our own life. Silvia explained the worst part of fear is that feeling you get before you do something that scares you. She reassured us that the act itself is rarely as scary as the anticipation. We prepared, learned, watched and sometimes, in very human fashion, got distracted. The class hit a crescendo with Ahdo Mukha Vrksasana or handstand. How liberating to face my fears on the mat! As I supported the weight of my body on my hands (with a little assistance) my fear of heights, of illness and not accomplishing my goals didn‘t feel quite as daunting.
Back in the classroom we talked about opening to Grace at the beginning of practice. I cannot imagine practicing yoga without the life philosophy that our teachers so eloquently ooze. It is helping me to find the “realer” version of me and for that I am thankful. Albert Einstein said “Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” For me, a greater understanding of life and yoga is emerging as I examine my own inner nature.
Namaste to my amazing teachers for guiding me and inspiring me on this journey.
DON'T GIVE UP! ENLIGHTENMENT IS HERE NOW
SEPTEMBER 7TH, 2008: Have you ever thought about giving up, throwing in the towel? Imagine if you quit your job, sell your stuff, give away your money, and go out into the wilderness. Sound interesting? Such is the premise of a movie I love Into the Wild, the powerful true life story of Chris McCandless. McCandless graduated from
Why would we even want to move away and give it all up? Isn't it because we think if we go somewhere else we'll be happy? Right? Haven't you day dreamed about switching jobs, changing partners, moving into a different home/neighborhood with this grass is greener, I will be better off elsewhere philosophy?
You are not alone, many folks feel like they have to travel to really far off places or do something dramatic to achieve enlightenment. Now this might be right for certain people, but it is by no means necessary to attaining enlightenment. Enlightenment can take root anywhere on earth, as long as we seek to open up to a higher consciousness. As long as you want to WAKE UP.
All we need is a powerful intention, and a willingness to do the work necessary to moving forward on our path.
Robin Sharma writes, “People who study others are wise but those who study themselves are enlightened.
Those we are truly enlightened know what they want out of life, emotionally, materially, physically and spiritually. Clearly defined priorities and goals for every aspect of your life gives you direction. Lasting happiness comes from steadily working to accomplish your goals and advancing confidently in the direction of your life’s purpose.”
So may you all use this practice to discover your purpose and gain the strength to work towards it! But how we view strength is important. Think of it not as ability or a set of circumstance but as tenacity. To never give up. To stay the course!
What I wish for you all is that you can confidently stay in one place, knowing that everything that we need to attain enlightenment is always available right where we are. Just don't GIVE UP.