I'm studying this weekend with yoga master, Gary Kratsow, at Moksha Yoga Center in Chicago. Gary's been on the yoga scene for almost 40 years. He's a living yoga teacher...like breathing and walking this ancient science. He spoke this morning about how he was a yogi from previous lives. I believe him. His depth of knowledge of ancient yoga is academic. His modern take on using yoga for therapeutics is amazing. I'm excited to study with him this weekend and in the future. He's next on my list after I finish Rod's ParaYoga training course (although studying with Rod is never done).
This weekend I'm learning Yoga for Anxiety, Yoga for Depression and Emotion Healing. I hope to be able to teach some of this great stuff after this weekend, although this is sensitive material that I want to get right.
I think I'll best use these new tools teaching my yoga private clients, where I can really take my time working with each client and treat them. As Gary says, we treat the patient not the disease. I hope to also treat myself with Gary's teaching, as well. Cuz the anxiety I have to be a great yoga teacher may not be serving me or my students!
Yoga Therapy to the rescue. That...& practice practice practice.
Lauren Toolin, Sue Neufeld, Katy Park in the background & I are ParaYogis, here at the NYC Yoga Journal Conference.
NYC was a blast. A tiring and lovely blast. Working with the Three Minute Egg yoga prop was better and easier than ever. We had fantastic help this year with rock stars Sean, Katy and Josie. Our commanding officer, Jason, was in great spirits, despite his chest cold.
I studied with my yoga teacher Rod Stryker and Lauren Toolin and Sue Nuefeld were assisting him. I was surrounded by wonderful yoga teachers, people who dedicate their lives to practicing and teaching authentic yoga. Wisdom, inspiration and joy emanate from these peoples' pores. They glow with vitality, warmth and authenticity. I don't know if I'd use those words to describe any ol' group of human beings or even yogis. ParaYoga people are special. This approach to yoga works. It really does. It changes people for the better and brings out the absolute best in them.
NYC was all the more great because I spent time with this sangha, this community of yoga people whom I adore, respect and want to be around all the time. Bonus: we filmed a promo video for my teacher's book, The Four Desires! I can't wait to read this book and see the video that Lauren organized.
I'm looking forward to working with commanding officer, Three Minute Egg Jason, this weekend at the Midwest Yoga Conference, but -straight up- it won't be as fun as NYC because my main sangha of ParaYoga peeps won't be there. Yes, it's all yoga, it's all love. But the special love was last weekend and I'm so happy to have tapped into that.
Kundalini ParaYoga training at Prana Del Mar in Mexico
Every yoga person eventually talks about practice. "We need to practice every day." "It doesn't matter how much you practice as long as you practice consistently." "The Yoga Sutras say to practice regularly, it's called abhyasa."
Well, they're right. We do need to practice yoga every day and I frustrate myself about this. I put pressure on myself to practice enough every day and this means all kinds of yoga. Not just the poses, but pranayama (breathing exercises), meditation, jnana (mental, academic), etc.
I continually struggle with balancing between feeling like I'm practicing "enough" with practicing consistently. As a yoga teacher, especially in the ParaYoga lineage, meditation is an anchor of what I need to practice. And when I don't meditate as long as I want to, I feel crunky and not smooth. So I have to sit longer. It's like there's no choice if I want to feel good inside and out...it's like going all day without brushing my teeth.
Absorbing a daily yoga practice is hard at first, but when I realize that connecting to god, to the best part of myself, to that which is beyond this material world, is the most important thing I can do, ot's more important than blogging, gardening, and talking to my loved ones on the phone. The greatest loved one is spirit and I need to talk to her every single day. We all do! Remember who you are! Talk to god, talk to the real you. Every day.
Mala event at Montrose Beach, 2007
There's a process we use in ParaYoga called vichara. In our lineage, it's a process to get to the root of our suffering, our dukha, which means "bad space". Then we have two choices to end the suffering - to either change something or accept what's bugging you. Truly, this is more difficult than it seems.
I'm irritated at someone because they said they'd call me and not only didn't call, but is apologizing in a way that doesn't seem like they're taking responsibility. They're saying, "I'm sorry that you were worried that I didn't call" and "sorry that there was a miscommunication about calling", as opposed to, "I'm sorry that I didn't call you."
Is this splitting hairs? Probably. Is it still irritating? Totally. Why? Why does this small disappointment become a living irritation? Here's where getting to the root of why I'm pissy comes in.
I have to find out the root of why not being called and not being "properly" apologized to is bugging me. Then, I need to accept or change. Good, I have my work cut out for me today. It's the small things that teach us, sometimes.
Mia Park is a ParaYoga teacher in Chicago, IL, specializing in teaching Basic Yoga for Advanced Misfits, as well as teaching people how to cut through the junk to shine on.