I am writing from Sydney, Australia after a lovely visit to Japan where I taught in Osaka and Tokyo. I had a wonderful time and learned so much from my visit. We had great luck to be in the country during the blossoming of the cherry trees so that was super fun. The Japanese people are incredibly friendly, hospitable and gracious. We ate amazing and interesting food. The yoga students were attentive, hard-working and super-fun to be with. This was my first time teaching with a tranlator and the insights from that experience alone could fill more than one blog entry for sure.
All in all, I can't imagine a better first visit to a country. I feel like I learned and grew a ton as both a teacher and a person.
I was talking the other day about teaching in different countries and I told my friend that in some ways it sounds exotic and yet in the experience of it, teaching in a different country is actually quite ordinary. I love having the opportunity to travel, to visit different cultures and I consider it my great and good fortune to get to teach yoga to people all over thr world. But the thing is, people who do yoga in every country are also very simliar to each other and the task of teaching yoga postures is very simlilar no matter what language we speak. There is the pose, how to do the pose, how to unlock the energy of it, how to keep it safe, how to deepen it and so on andno matter what country the class is in.
Even travelling to teach yoga in America gives me lots of chances to experience regional differences and there are certainly cultural differences country to country. I am not discounting that aspects of the work in any way. Those differences are part of what makes what I do fun for me. And I have always love travelling and exploring different places so I also enjoy that part of my job. And I am somewhat amazed that people invite me to come teach in places that require crossing an ocean. It’s definitely a cool thing and I am grateful for the opportunites so many wonderful hosts and students make possible. Having said all that, the actual teaching of the actual yoga is very ordinary to me.
I think because yoga is aiming us at a deeper layer of who we are than where our cultural identities reside what I notice most about teaching in different countries and with people of different cultures is how similar the work is and how similar the people are who practice yoga. I benefit a lot from considering our differences and every visit teaches me so much about myself and what makes me tick but my repeated experience on the road is a return to how much alike we are as people and as practitioners.
More on this soon. In the meantime, here are some scenes and pcitures to enjoy.
Scenes from Osaka
Teaching Moment in Osaka
A Few Pictures From Out and About inTokyo
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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."