We had a great time in San Marcos this weekend with Mari Young. We spent the mornings with mantra and meditation and then a strong asana practice. Then after a short lunch break we worked with Mari on Dream Yoga and exploring the inner work of symbols, dreams and the unconscious.
I have written about the topic of discernment and spiritual authority a lot over the last few years but it seems to me that as a yoga community we are in a bit of a transition in regards to our relationship with these themes. I personally think old models have collapsed in the last few years primarily because it is time for us to grow into a new relationship with the teachings that involves a greater degree of independent thinking, autonomy and self-affirmation.
Paradoxically, it can be helpful to have good teachers to help us learn those things. Of course there is a paradox. This is yoga I am talking about which seems to be mostly "paradoxes to embrace rather than problems to solve." It is like in asana- yes, listen to the wisdom of your body but sometimes we need help cracking the code and teachers can help us with that. Our body may be telling us everything we need to know but we may need help learning to speak and understand its language. So as a teacher I am more interested these days in working on the tools of how to "crack the code" or perhaps we might call that "tools of the trade of studentship" than I am in teaching people what I think they should find or experience in the practice. Okay, more on that as time goes on. It is not quite a digression but it is heading that way...
So as we worked with dreams and decoding some of our own inner language of symbols I was really struck by how this avenue of inquiry can be very helpful to us as modern day yogis exploring how to relate to a tradition from another time, another culture and how to teach the principles of practice in such a way that wisdom grows as a result as opposed to greater division, dogma and dependency. There is, after all, a bit of inner work required to navigate the domains of what the teaching says, what we think and feel about what it says and how we might practice certain principles and why we might chose not to implement others. I mean different teachers see the work of the arms in chataranga differently and we are still in the bio-mechanical domain which is more concrete. Imagine the nuances and difficulty when we get to the sticky wicket of ethics!
Anyway, over and over again I was so inspired by the wisdom speaking to the members of the group through their dreams and the potent access point they could be if we could truly mine them for the gold they offer us. We had great conversations both in the sessions and on the breaks. The asana sessions were fun, intelligent and challenging. Everyone in the room was a yoga teacher with a committed and sustained practice and we navigated through the asana with plenty of work for the body and lots of curiosity for the mind and joy for the heart. And we laughed a ton.
All in all, an amazing intensive.
Scenes from the Fall Intensive 2013
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"There is a light that shines beyond all things on Earth, beyond us all, beyond the heaven, beyond the highest, the very highest heavens. This is the light that shines in our heart."