It has been almost two years to the day when I began my Yoga Teacher Training at Samadhi. I had just gotten rid of my car, knew I was moving to SF, and muscle tested with my doctor whether or not to pay $4,000 for this training. I had a channeler tell me that I would enjoy practicing Anusara yoga but that there were lots (anna forest) of instructors and I wouldn’t teach. I was confused about whether or not this was the path for me. Only now, several years later am I finally able to appreciated the lessons yoga has to teach me.
For me hatha yoga is a path I want to learn and not necessarily teach to others. Teaching yoga I felt so disconnected and had a difficult time sharing a personal practice I couldn’t quite translate through words, the unfortunate only medium mostly used in teaching these days.;)
Hatha yoga in Sanskrit means the yoga of immortality. One of the most amazing things I learned in my training (besides how to properly pronounce “chakra”) was that the ancient yogis believed “Ha” was the sound of our first breath and “tha” last sound before we die. How beautiful we die anew each time we do our hatha yoga practice, in svasana. Lately my practice hasn’t been a source of inspiration and I’m reminded of what the practice of hatha yoga has taught me about life since I allowed its lessons to enter my life.
Here’s what I learned from physical yoga over the past few years:
-How you do life how you do yoga is how you tend to do life. Do you push through and forget to breath or enjoy each posture? Are you excited to move on and fidgety?
-It’s important to do things your own way and in your own time. No rushing to keep up with a teacher’s breathing…go at your own pace. Enjoy your process
-To love and appreciate our bodies. My body REALLy doesn’t like headstand and I probably won’t be able to do dragonfly because a hip injury. That’s okay. Others may be in full lotus, while my feet prefer to stay off my hips.
So now for the real reason for my post, I’m finally getting to. My practice needed a boost, and a boost it got…right up to the roof (sorry, the word play here isn’t as clever as I had hoped). Hatha yoga has its roots in imitation. The Vedas of ancient India(say 5,000-10,000 BCE) went into the forest to live and in order to understand the world around them they began mimicking in sound and motion what they saw. Sanskrit itself sounds like different each vowel to sound like a part of the animal kingdom. Okay, back to my dorky story…I took my yoga mat up to the roof (thank goodness my landlord doesn’t read my blog). I rolled out my mat and started imitating whatever I saw, just as the ancients did. A crow gawked and flew overhead, then a treetop caught my eye, a bug, a dog below, birds, and even an airplane (I even made noises for that one).
In downward dog I stared at the clouds and an emerging star. I even watched someone watching me (if that isn’t creepy than I don’t know what is). Just as the sun was setting to my right and the moon at half and half waxing I came to my own understanding about yoga. Ancient people wanted to orient themselves as much back then as we do today. They wanted to feel secure in all they didn’t know about their place in this vast cosmos. I have that same feeling, they used movement and the body to find that connection. They found comfort in the moon and sun were their constant, consistent companions. Sun salutations and moon salutations (more modern) came from the yogi’s deep gratitude for their continued presence. Maybe that’s why we still cling to knowledge about them.
I was up there for almost an hour, when usually I get bored enough without being in a class setting that I can only last about 20 minutes. I even had the crazy idea to stay in svasana until the sun came up the next day to fully die and awaken with the sun. However, then my feet started to get cold. As the sunset and I heard a bird calling out for its mate…I answered. Not because it was looking for me, but because on that rooftop in SF I felt on top of the world and reborn in my love for yoga.