IN THE WORDS OF A TEACHER TRAINEE JULIA JONSON COHN TELLS ALL HUMILITY, OPENNESS, GRATITUDE
Humility, Openness, Gratitude
By Julia Jonson Cohn
April 8, 2011. Teacher training is over. On our final day together I thought the room would be filled with tears… but instead there was a calm happiness. A knowing that even though this leg of the journey had come to an end, we were about to experience another new beginning. When I signed up for this program, I thought my biggest lessons would be learning the best ways to teach alignment in poses and then putting them together in really smart sequences. I did learn all about that, but there was so much more. I’ve always understood that yoga balances energy in the body/mind… but now I am directly in touch with my spirit as a result of this experience.
The three qualities that I feel now embody my personal mission statement for teaching are these:
1. Humility. I consider it the highest honor to be one who shares the wisdom of this ancient practice of yoga. I am aware that the participants who step into any class I might be conducting are going to be my greatest teachers. And they already have! I also know that being a non-judging observer of life will not only help me to deepen my own practice, but will help me connect more deeply with those who seek me out for class.
2. Openness. The world seems much less complicated and things more clear now that I have connected with the essence of who I am. I have gained the ability to be much more empathetic with all people… even those who I used to view as the biggest obstacles to my own happiness. Now I know my happiness and peacefulness only depends on me… and not losing my connection to my Self. I pledge to convey this awareness to others and share my personal experiences with students.
3. Gratitude. Being grateful for everything that happens is far from an easy practice. I really do view every tough time and every good time as an opportunity for growth because I am thankful for my life. I used to walk around with a “why me” attitude, but now I think why not me… Every hardship has helped me grow in leaps and bounds. I’m not to the point of saying “bring it on.” However, embracing the dark and the light the ups and downs has certainly gotten easier.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart to my teachers Silvia and Rachel. You probably don’t even know the scope of how you have changed my life (and certainly many others) forever. Thank you to my fellow students. It was no coincidence the Universe brought us together. This is not the end. I love you all.
NOVEMBER 10, 2010. Jon Kabat Zinn says, "too often our lives cease working because we cease working at life."
Yoga teaches us that when we are not present our minds become totally distracted and our thoughts are all over the place, starting stopping, wandering from one thing to the other at often break neck speed. If we pay attention we harness the power of our thoughts. As a human being this is what distinguishes us from other creatures and is our GREATEST STRENGTH! Yet our least utilized. When we start the practice first thing we do is remind everyone to be conscious of their breathing, to pay attention to the breath: anapana sati breathing technique. Not being bossy just watching it. For as Gabrielle Roth writes in the book Sweat your Prayers, "the breath is promiscuous, and if you don't pay it attention it will find another lover."
Consider how tuned in to your breath you have to be to experience this from Pieree Teilhard De Chardin “The inhale and the exhale. Breathing out carbon dioxide to the trees and breathing in their fresh exudations. Oxygen kissing each cell awake, atoms dancing in orderly metabolism, interpenetrating. That dance of the air cycle, breathing the universe in and out again, is what you are, is what I am.” Wow! All he is talking about is paying attention to the breath.
Then by paying attention to the breath the breath reveals your state of mind and heart. “If you want to know the past, to know what has caused you, look at yourself in the present, for that is the past’s effect. If you want to know your future, then look at yourself in the present, for that is the cause of the future.” Majihima Nikaya
And as we pay attention to breath, we then pay attention to aligning our movements or poses with the breath. There is this really on purpose experience of where we put our hands and feet and energy without judgement, just observation. For what we know and don't know eventually become one. Rumi says it like this:
why are you so busy
with this or that or good or bad
pay attention to how things blend
why talk about all
the known and the unknown
see how unknown merges into the known
All that you know, all that you don't know are no longer things to be feared or apologized for or worried about. Just by paying attention the universal intelligence that loves and supports us all is working on our behalf. All we have to do is pay attention and the rest works itself out for our greater happiness. Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia
PS And if you need a way to re-establish the ability to pay attention without distraction come on retreat with me. Stretch your mental and physical boundaries! Alchemy tours. Facebook us, facebook me anytime, visit our website www.alchemytours.com or www.silviamordini.com
ALCHEMY OF YOGA
OCTOBER 16, 2010. I along with my partner named our company Alchemy Tours because of the combined influence of the book The Alchemist and the practice of Yoga. Really Yoga is about taking the personal growth we experience on the mat as a result of this unique alchemy of yoga into making the changes we want in our lives, in our bodies, in our minds, in our hearts. Anytime you want to transform and move beyond your limitations to me this is the Alchemy of Yoga. And this what I call the life coaching work I do through yoga.
Chapter 2 verse 1 of the Yoga Sutras sets forth how the Alchemy of Yoga actually works. "Tapas svadhyaya ishvara pranidhana kriya yoga." Translated to mean that yoga helps us transforms ourselves on three levels:
1. Physical Alchemy - Tapas
2. Mental Alchemy - Svadhaya
3. Spiritual Alchemy - ishvara pranidahana
Tapas helps us ignite the changes we want to make in our lives. It is about the getting fired up, literally heating the body through moving and breathing in the vinyasa
While we are following the discipline of tapas and engaging in physical practice to help move our stuck energy we are watching ourselves. In yoga we study the self to learn about the self. (Different than studying what other people to do to try to learn about you, which many of us have tried in other modalities). Here the mental alchemy is through self-observation. We witness what is going on in our thoughts, what are we thinking, why are we thinking that (but without over analysis) more like an older brother would look after a little sister. In this way we are the actor on the stage starring in our life story as well as sitting front row center as the audience.
As we are doing and watching we let go of the ego of judgment. We move beyond wanting life to be different and begin to feel the surrender that allows what is being offered to mix together and marinate. We practice ishvara pranidhana as we trust the universal intelligence that hugs us from all directions to know what it's doing. And once we find this trust we begin to believe that beauty and goodness are within us flowing nonstop and there is no reason to stop this flow for its natural current is to align with the current of grace that is everywhere outisde us. Beauty becomes our way of life. Happiness becomes our natural alchemy.
You see when we come to the mat we are like the Alchemist in his laboratory mixing ingredients. For us as yogis our laboratory is our mat and the ingredients are our bodies, our poses, our breath, our thoughts and the mixing it all together creates a result every time. We are always different from the beginning of class to the end. Whether we want to be or not, we are changed, we are free. In that freedom is love. Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia
PS This is why and what lies at the heart of leading Yoga Retreats around the world. I want to help facilitate the Alchemy of Yoga, the changes that YOU want in your life. And I am convinced we can make amazing transformations in a long weekend, a week with the right facilitation and life coaching. Join me! Facebook Alchemy Tours. Set intention for 2011 this December 8-12 Haramara Retreat Mexico.