Robbie Williams sings “I am singer, I am song writer, I am a born entertainer!”, When you hear him sing and see him perform, there is no doubt he`s right. I never felt so sure about what or who I am. I would love to sing a similar song about me. But the only thing I know is my means are words. As a matter of fact, I would like to write, I am a writer, a shaper, and a born inspirer. But would the world believe me as readily as it does Robbie Williams?
He is on stage, dances, dares, and goes crazy. Since I have started the journey of becoming a yoga teacher, I sometimes truly think I am turning crazy, too. Sure, there are words that want to come out and it is actually not that hard to talk or write. But that does not necessarily mean that people listen. And what could be my stage, where could I go crazy? Who would be my audience? You might wonder by now, what does she want to say? Where is she headed? What craziness is she talking about?
Becoming a yoga teacher implies embracing the craziness
Last time I wrote that once you embark the plane to become a yoga teacher, there is no way back. This is definitely true. Actually, the turbulences of this journey just get wilder. It is not only about the physical practice. You get better doing your asanas and this is what you want, right? I mean, after all, yoga teachers are generally considered modern personal trainers with a slight touch of hippiness. But really just so much hippiness that they still fit the highly efficient modern settings that frame their students' lives. I assure the friendly reader: Yes, when we do the yoga teacher training, we get better in the physical practice and learn about how to cue our students into kind of perfect postures that meet them where they are. We learn about bones, muscles, tissues, fascia, and all the nitty gritty details the body entails. Meanwhile, we get to appreciate the flexibility and mobility of the human body even more.
Asana practice: Meeting the body where it is
However, this is not the end of the story. While meeting the human body of the students where it is and gently guiding them into deeper asanas, we also help them to connect more with their inner landscape. The longer I am on this journey of becoming a yoga teacher, the more I feel that it is particularly that inner landscape that needs study. By doing so, an entire universe opens that seems by far harder to be lined out in an anatomy book. How easy it would be to sketch the psyche and all human fears, hopes and desires in a simple book? Instead, as a future yoga teacher you start studying the so-called “Yoga Sutras of Patanjali”. This text refers back to ancient yoga traditions and dates to be around 400 CE. Though written in Sanskrit and translated and edited many times, this text seems like a collection of universal truths that never loose their relation to human life. It relates to physical practice, but really much more to leading healthy, true, pure, and enlightened lives. In that, Patanjali talks about physical practices (asanas) and the body as a gift borrowed for a certain amount of time. This body needs to be appreciated, maintained and aligned with the true existence (purusha). He also gives advice on how to be truthful and helpful to other people. Yet, he advices the human to remain cautious with their energies, especially around wicked (apunya) people. Additionally, Patanjali tries to explain a kind of trialism of body, true self and ego that eventually sums up in a person`s true purpose in this life. At least that is how I understand it.
Yoga philosophy: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
The “Yoga Sutras” come in four books. While books one and two talk a lot about the aforementioned aspects, book three goes more deeply into concentration (dharana), meditation (dhyana), and bliss (samadhi). Concentration is about centering yourself and finding a focus. For instance, a focus on your daily yoga practice or even just little things like doing laundry. The moment one is focused, nothing else but yoga or laundry matters. The chattery mind stops and you are –fullstop-. But there is much more to be gained from this first step into the honey pot of yoga: Meditation can guide you to your higher being, your purpose, and your true energy. While there is a lot to say, meditation is letting go of all the chattery stuff going on and connecting to the universe. Simple, really. Eventually, you reach a state of timelessness, where nothing and everything matters at the same time – although time itself does not really matter any more. You connect to your universe within and around, inside and outside yourself. Voliá, welcome to your state of bliss. Put differently, you are the universe and the universe is nothing and everything. Remember, when I talked about craziness at the beginning. This is where I was headed! I tried to put it simple, but I feel that these few steps are huge. They can change lives – yours, mine, everyone's.
Yoga seems like teaching craziness
By now, I have come to the understanding that being a yoga teacher is much more than assisting others to optimize their body. I rather perceive the body as a pathway from the outside to the inner landscape of every student that embarks the journey of yoga with me. I would love to translate the ancient words of Patanjali to modern songs – not necessarily Robbie William songs, but he is still kind of inspiring. The idea resembles his: I want to write, shape, and inspire people to explore not only their bodies but also their souls. Thus, I want to help them to find their own state of bliss. Saying this out loud (or writing it in black and white) sounds crazy. It feels daring, challenging, and exciting. Will I be able to assist others to focus? Maybe at first, they might only concentrate on their very own practice. Yet, later I would like them to listen increasingly to their inner self and meditate upon the feelings, voices, and questions that come up. Who knows, they might even be able to let go of some of the stuff that seems so important in their stressful, daily lives so that their true selves become more visible. Once they see more of their true self, their purusha, will I be able to hold a safe space? Will I be able to explain the craziness of their meeting with the universe? Will I be able to set up the stage for the universe right? Will my words be able to assist them, to shape their path, and my inspiration not too daring to scare students away?
Questions, so many questions.
At the end, it sums up in one word: Trust.
Me as well as my students need to trust that craziness can be a righteous way. Patanjali might give us the words to write the song of our modern life. In the end, however, it is about us to jointly sing, re-mix and dance our lives through the practices of yoga.
Let`s see how much writer, shaper and inspirer there is in me. And let`s see, how this comes together with the rhythms of my future students.
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