Saturday, 24 December 2016

Finding THAT Teaching Voice

I've been practicing yoga over the past 7 years or so (without counting the time spent as a kid performing asanas completely unaware that they were yoga poses!). Only until now it has become a "serious" thing to do. I'm formally studying to become a Yoga Teacher at Samadhi Studios Dublin.

It's a strange journey. I'm starting to see the bigger picture behind yoga just now. The postures have a whole new meaning to me and my body awareness is increasing day by day. However, I'm in the process of finding my teaching voice. Yes, I know it's there, I'm just beginning to hear it, and the experience has been completely astonishing. That voice is the same voice that has been guiding me for several years without speaking out loud. It's overwhelming to hear it, so my personality and fears take over when I intend to use it. I know it's only temporal, and I trust that voice will step out and guide me and my future students from now on. She lives within me and my main goal is set her free and let her do her job (My 2017 Goal).

I also know this voice is part of my connection with the Divine Consciousness known as God, but I'm sure this Force doesn't care about titles and/or religions as long as you connect with its centre, which is Divine Love. (I won't dig deeper on it, as that subject deserves a completely new post).

Teaching yoga goes beyond knowing how to do the poses yourself... It's about being confident to demonstrate them, and using your teaching voice to guide others towards the "final" goal. You need to consider your student's type of body, weaknesses and strengths, in order to tell them what to do next. I'm sure each student might become a unique master in your yoga teaching path.

Yoga asanas must be explored by the practitioner following the guidelines that are given to them by their teacher. Sometimes words are not enough to make a stiff body to move towards an "ideal" position. However, the thing that took me a while to understand, is that there are not "ideal" positions. There are only unique journeys to awake our Body/Mind Awareness, and the capacity to being present and conscious about our body, mind and emotions. 

How do you teach that?

I know I am very flexible, but many people are not, and I need to show them that that's ok too; because what matters the most is your inner process towards Awareness (among other subtle things). You need to explore your body in ways you never imagine in order to teach others how to do so, and that's what I'm doing at this time.

When you do a yoga class you explore your body alignment, balance, flexibility and strength. You start knowing yourself a little bit more, you get closer to your inner-self, from your abdominal core to your mind and emotions (not to mention the understanding of your chakras system and glands co-relation).

Some people do yoga as a body exercise or a relaxation technique (and that's ok), but the benefits go beyond that initial approach. When we do yoga, our minds also train to achieve stillness and self-control. Sooner or later we understand that our inner-self is there, just waiting until we silence our mind and let it be in control of our existence and Self-Realisation.

I think you don't have to do asanas in order to practice yoga and achieve Self-Realisation, but it's a much more fun way to do so. That's why the practice I do and I wish to teach is one ON and OFF the mat.

NAMASTE and Merry Christmas!

Sunday, 4 December 2016

The Truth About Movement & Awareness

When we question our lifestyle and beliefs (thoughts), willing to change our minds and find out who we really are, we begin to taste freedom.

I'm just realising this perspective after reading several sacred texts and experiencing life from another point view. Although my family didn't teach me any of these things I know now, their catholic answers made me begin this journey to dig deeper and find convincing answers about my existence.

Yoga and meditation have helped me to unveil parts of the hidden truth. However, even when we think we already found the truth, life can surprise you... The truth seems to have many levels of understanding and it can change from person to person. So, please read this lines carefully. I hope these ideas only serve you to awaken the sacred curiosity you need to begin your journey towards freedom.

Freedom is a complex concept, it can mean many things really, however, I see true freedom as the capacity to realise who you really are, to be self-aware of your own thoughts and know that YOU ARE NOT WHAT YOU THINK. That's a strange sentence, I know... but here is where everything begins to make sense. I made this drawing to express my perspective, in other words, my level of truth (which I'm sure is subject to change) at any time. This journey seems almost infinite.

Self Awareness - I am: 
This phrase is in the middle of the board because is the main reason of my existence, to be able to explore who I really am in the world. In my case, I think that I am spiritual being (living in a female body) playing a role in society. Again, this is just a thought, a perspective I chose to believe. I consider this my inner truth, and this perception can't be fully expressed using words. Considering this personal point of view, I presume other humans beings must be the same as me.
All of us seem to be trying to make sense of our own existence. How? Most of us agree to do it through our belief systems (consciously or unconsciously), we all do it, that's perfectly fine. And these beliefs need to be based on something solid. Let's say that the 3 most common pillars in people's life are: Your studies - Your job - Your creative project.

So we play our society roles through these and many others... We are free to choose how to play our roles as we wish. If we don't play a role related to any of these 3 pillars, at least we play a role in our family or friends group. That's the common way we organise our life in modern society. No problem with that.

What about Body Movement then? Why is it highlighted like that on the board? Because Movement is a GIFT. We experience life through our bodies. When we were children, we were in touch with our own body on a deeper level. We felt its needs and gave it what it wanted (as much as we could or adults allow to) following a sacred connection with it. We grew up and started judging not only our own bodies but others people's bodies as well. Our external image became an important aspect of our life, we gave movement for granted. Sadly, we became attached to external stimulus and forgot the true purpose of this sacred gift.

I would say that Movement is one of the most obvious equivalents of LIFE. We move with our physical body all the time, however, we forgot how to connect with it. We get sick because we're not being aware of the signs our body is sending us before being severe ill. We need to learn again to enjoy the movement that our body allow us to perform. We need to release the tension we hold in our bodies, and our mind is the key to achieving this.

There's movement coming from our minds as well as our emotions. These are like subtle bodies we need to be aware of in order to let go of tension and mindfully enjoy the gift that has been given to us: Movement.

Movement leads to stillness and stillness to movement, like the waves of the ocean, they are two and one at the same time. Movement and stillness are part of our nature on so many levels... 

That's why my passion for yoga has increased so much over the last years. When you start exploring your body through sequences of movement (and stillness), you know you're releasing tension, but you also realise there are many layers of awareness still to unveil. Many philosophies agree: Being fully aware of your physical body, mind and emotions is just the beginning of a magnificent journey towards freedom and self-realisation.