Sunset in Samara, an ocean village on the west coast of Costa Rica, our varied yoga teacher training group in vrksasana on the cliff above the beach (Costa Rica, Mexico, Texas, Switzerland, Poland, Minnesota, New Mexico, Oregon, New Orleans, Massachusetts and Virginia are represented!) and finally Sam Saladino Blackthorn and Peggy Kelley on that same cliff are reproduced for your viewing pleasure. These intense days of study and teaching and practice and sharing will be treasured memories for me, I can already tell.
It's always been the NAME of this great ocean off the west coast of North, Central and South America. that has entranced me--Pacific--the word itself is an inspiration to yoga teachers in training. Beginning a third decade of training teachers, I'm a bit amazed that this project of encouraging people with a passion for yoga to learn to pass the practice on to others has lasted so long in my life.
Back when I started to teach in 1976 or so, there were no yoga teacher trainings that I could find. Community schools in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia were looking for yoga teachers, so I applied for the jobs. I'd had some introduction to yoga in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where I'd lived when my son was born. B.C. was where I went to college, and Austin has been where I have done this long work of developing techniques to train yoga teachers.
The topic is so vast and so unlike all else that I studied in colleges and universities. Marine biology, languages, education, law and literature were what I dug into then. On a parallel track I was reading Light on Yoga, The Autobiography of a Yogi, The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, the Bhagavad Gita, and Hatha Yoga Pradipika. It's my parents I thank for a love of reading, and my father in particular for encouraging me to think for myself. This technique of testing what one reads in books or scripture against one's own personal experience could even be called the Heart of Yoga itself. We encourage student teachers to see how these philosophical buildling blocks (yama and niyama-- postures, pranayama, sense withdrawal, concentration, meditation and absorption) serve them in their quest to build a life of purpose, harmony and meaning.
The thoughtful people in the group present here at the Costa Rica School of Massage (and now Yoga), the hard work of my colleague Sam Saladino, the generosity of the other faculty and staff, all make this time possible. AND, most auspicious of all, we will be here for the International Day of Yoga. The plan is to offer a free class to the community, team taught by all in our merry band. Stay tuned for next week's blog post for further details on that happening!
This weekend it's off to tide pools, and getting to know each other better. There may be time for reiki, massage, personal practice, even laundry! The imperative that "it is more important to know oneself as a physical body is more important at this moment in human history than at any other time" has been with me so long that I honestly don't know if I made it up or read it somewhere. So long have I loved the way yoga practice brings me into this body and helps me rub the dust off the mirror of my consciousness to see the inseparability of body, mind and soul, that I run out of metaphors to explain the beauty of the path. As they say here--"Pura Vida!"