NEW SERIES IN THE WORDS OF A TEACHER TRAINEE JULIA JONSON COHN TELLS ALL
By Julia Jonson Cohn
Sure yoga’s a “feel good” kind of discipline, but anyone who practices regularly will tell you it goes so much deeper than that. As I go through teacher training I feel as if am drinking yoga by the gallon-ful… gulping down more classes and home practice, pouring over books, exploring places to observe classes and consuming web casts and DVD’s about yoga. I can best describe my current state of studentship by declaring I feel mighty!
I dusted off my circa 1985, three-inch thick, Webster’s Dictionary and looked up the word. It defines mighty as “great and powerful.” Another definition I found read “having or showing great power, skill, strength, or force.” Yes! I feel all of these things. But I’ve discovered that it is okay to feel weak and have obstacles that need to be conquered in order to keep feeling strong.
Our teacher Silvia had big things planned for last weekend‘s training. On Friday we would tackle handstands and Saturday would be all about arm balances. The sessions were challenging, fun and -- at for me at times -- frustrating. In my own practice, I had shied away from such poses… yet, I found I was being hard on myself for not being able to execute them. As I struggled to pull my feet off the ground in Astavakrasana (Eight Angle Pose) and sweat dripped from my brow, I muttered under my breath in irritation. My fellow classmate LeAnn Lockhart says she also experienced self doubt, but “(I learned to) just let go and realize some things take time, that I just needed to love myself for trying.”
As I scanned the room watching my classmates in, what seemed to be, slow motion -- it hit me that my inner strife had the potential to bring them down. Another reminder of how yoga reveals the effects our actions can have on one another. Then I watched in amazement at other students flying and felt exhilarated to watch them soar. Especially Ric Saguil who says “Through Silvia’s guidance I was able to reach a spiritual and physical place I only envisioned previously.”
So for me, being mighty means always remembering that every challenge I face represents a choice to either shine or wilt. I choose to shine and in doing so, have a subtly good impact on others by diligently practicing what scares me. For now I am taking baby steps by working on Bakasana (Crow or Crane), Parsva Bakasana and Pincha Mayurasana (Forearm Balance). Guess what? I’m almost there. And I really do love myself for trying.
IN THE WORDS OF A TEACHER TRAINEE JULIA JONSON COHN TELLS ALL RIGHT HERE RIGHT NOW
Right Here, Right Now
By Julia Jonson Cohn
Remember the lyrics to that 90‘s tune by Jesus Jones? “Right here, right now, there is no other place I wanna be.” That has been my mantra lately as I’m experiencing an abundance of “now” moments. I’m certain that delving deeper into yoga through teacher training has everything to do with helping me to remain present. I am consistently able to fully accept every moment as fulfilling -- and neither cling to the past nor stress about the future -- even when my “now” seems unsatisfying. I guess you could say I’ve become more accepting of whatever the Universe dishes out.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m certainly not exempt from having days when I feel bad, down or angry. I’m just constantly reminded that spending more time practicing and learning about yoga gives me what I need to pull out of a slump -- or, more importantly, to accept those slumps in life and learn from them. God knows I’ve had my fair share!
A recent physical slump involved a major bout with lower back pain. And if I wasn’t already a firm believer in the power of yoga to awaken the body’s own healing process, I certainly am after last weekend’s training with our guru, Silvia. We spent the better part of a day perfecting Ustrasana (camel), Dhanurasana (bow), Urdhva Dhanurasana (wheel) and other backbends. My back pain is not only gone, but I feel freer to experience even deeper backbends.
The physical openness I’ve been experiencing has led me to a greater understanding of the spiritual benefits of the heart-opening backbends and many other poses we‘ve been studying. I guess my “right here, right now” mantra comes from aligning with Grace and experiencing my True Nature. Author Tim Hansel says it best: “Life becomes precious and more special to us when we look for the little everyday miracles and get excited about the privileges of simply being human.”
GREEN LIGHT YOUR LIFE, STORMS AND MAGNETS
SEPTEMBER 21, 2010 (the night the lights went out)
“In a plain piece of metal, all the molecules are in chaos facing every which way. A magnet is a similar piece of metal in which all the molecules are perfectly aligned – the north pol,es facing one way, and the south poles facing in the opposite direction. Because of this alignment, the magnet gains the power to attract and hold other objects. If you stroke the ordinary metal and the magnet together in one direction only, the magnet will align all the molecules in the plain metal with itself, causing a second magnet to emerge. The power to attract and hold has been transmitted from one to the other, while amazingly enough the initial magnet retains its full strength. As we align our energies this way through regulating our breath we maintain calm through the ordinary emotional rollercoaster rides we encounter each day. We find that when we are upset, everything around us reflects the same disturbance, as if it is somehow contagious. When tranquility prevails, it magnetizes everything with the same sense of calmness.” (Story from The Secret Power Of Yoga.)
I teach yoga to be a magnet for all my students. I pass on to them what has been shared with me by my teachers who served as my magnet. I want all that come to my classes to feel the power they hold within themselves to attract their best life ever. We accomplish this by organizing our breathing, our thoughts in a way that designs the future that serves our truest potential. In my classes you do NOT hide from who you really are or your untapped strength, courage or visions for your life. I don't teach a physically challenging class I teach a mentally and emotionally challenging coaching experience.
Is this for everyone? No, not everyone is ready. Some people in our lives will never be ready and will leave this earthly body thinking it was all just some rehearsal. Those are not my students. You are my student if something I say resonates with your most authentic self from my most authentic self. And you leave inspired to gain back your power to do good in this world, to live kindly, to be your most extraordinary self on even the most ordinary days. Yoga helps us harness the power of intention. Infinite love and gratitude as Dr Darren Weissman speaks about is universal energy. In other words as is written in the Alchemist, the universe is on our side. So as the wind blew a mighty storm this night and we practiced in candlelight, me and my 30 yogi friends tapped into what it means to be driving along in life and see up ahead of you a stop light and intend it to be green, then to drive further and see that one is green, and by golly if every single stop light you approach is green.
You know you are a magnet when you "green light" your life.
And no one wants that more for you than me. Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia