Hatha Yoga Anvitasanam
(Now begins the teaching of yoga)
Amazing yoga teacher, Andrea Thibodeau of Heart Space Yoga Center offers a program entitled Deepen Your Connections – A three month immersion.
From her site:
What you will learn:
Discover the beauty of YOU and what you have to offer.
Find your own authentic voice.
How to improve and design your own home practice.
Begin to develop the skills and confidence for becoming a skillful and inspirational yoga teacher.
Build a foundation of yoga anatomy as well as how to safely practice and instruct poses.
Learn to create modifications to adapt to specific needs.
Explore Yoga therapy for specific injuries or limitations.
All of that sounds wonderful and necessary as part of a full life, but the main draw for me was “How to improve and design your own home practice”.
Since taking my first yoga classes with Andrea about 10 years ago I have been hooked. I love how it stretches me both physically and emotionally. Yoga has a way of making me feel balanced in life. In the past year and a half I have been doing boot camp regularly and have felt that yoga would be the perfect pairing with the tough endurance and muscle building work we do there. I have never been one to fully embrace an exercise routine of any kind at home, but when I think about what I might develop as a home routine, for the remainder of this lifetime, yoga is the thing that I keep coming back to.
When the opportunity presented itself, I knew it was the right time to do it.
The Deepen Your Connections training takes place over the course of three months – give or take. There are three immersion weekends – Friday night and all day Saturday and Sunday. And there are twenty yoga classes in between.
There are 13 students in the class and it’s a diverse and amazing group of people.
Our first weekend was full. FULL full.
Andrea began with the early history of yogis, who really began by focusing on insight through direct meditative experiences.
Our texts are Anusara Yoga Teacher Training Manual by John Friend and The Yoga Practice Guide – Dynamic Sequencing for Home Practice and Teachers by Bruce Bowditch. In addition Andrea put a notebook together for us, with articles, quotes, and worksheets.
We covered much in the first 3 sessions, and I kept noticing truths that came up for me.
Here’s a quote from Andrea that, on the surface, seems like a simple statement, but looking deeper has some powerful truth to it:
“Sometimes you’ve gotta’ get out of your own way.”
I don’t know about you all, but I know there have been many times in my life I could have used this advice. I think of all the times I was sure I knew what other people were thinking, or what motivated them, and realize now how much that kind of thinking can block a person. When I am able to let go of what I think I know and just ‘be’ then life gets a lot less complicated.
On Saturday morning we were asked to think about what our intention is for being on this earth. Have you ever been asked that question? Have you ever asked yourself that question? Well, here it is – being offered up for your consideration. . .
My response was that my intention is to better understand either the masculine of the feminine aspect of myself. In the moment I wasn’t sure which one was my focus, but when I thought about it more deeply it became clearer.
The Shiva, or masculine, is the side of one which focuses on these qualities:
steadfastness, right effort, integrity, boldness, vitality, stillness, patience, mindfulness, steadiness, truthfulness, purity, confidence, fortitude, silence, forbearance, discrimination, resolution, faith, courage, aspiration, vigor, quiet, simplicity, will power, trust, fearlessness, intention, equipoise, tolerance wisdom.
Many of those qualities are ones I feel I have been working on in this life, or need to continue working on.
Shakti, on the other hand, the feminine emphasizes these qualities:
joy, celebration, acceptance, non-harming, non-stealing, devotion, generosity, creativity, happiness, surrender, love, compassion, contentment, reverence, gentleness, playfulness, enthusiasm, renunciation, kindness, sensitivity, harmony, gratitude, humility, softness, opening, yielding, friendliness, non-clinging, beauty, freedom, modesty, willingness to serve.
By no means do I have all of these qualities perfected, but do feel these are among my more grounded qualities and less in need of strengthening.
Prior to understanding Shiva/Shakti we were asked what qualities in ourselves we wanted to cultivate. My response: patience and tolerance; both Shiva traits.
While I am on the Shiva traits, did anyone notice the word equipoise there?
Well, that was new to me so I looked it up. (Of course I did!)
balance of forces or interests.
balance or counterbalance (something)
Yeah. Perfect. Balance in all things. That’s the mantra.
Mantra: (originally in Hinduism and Buddhism) a word or sound repeated to aid concentration in meditation.
We practiced this mantra and it was powerful, uplifing, and beautiful.
“Shiva Shiva Shiva Shambo
Shiva Shiva Shiva Shambo
Máha Déva Shambo Máha Déva Shambo
Máha Déva Shambo Máha Déva Shambo”
Loosely translated it means “Hail to the supreme Lord, the auspicious one who brings happiness and joy, who dwells in the hearts of all!”
With all 14 of our voices we sang the chant for about 18 rounds and it was a perfect celebration of happiness and joy.
Sometimes I wonder what would happen if hundreds of thousands, or even millions of people around the globe came together and sang a mantra like this altogether for a minute, five minutes, or an hour. Imagine – millions with the intention of sharing happiness and joy simultaneously! I think it could change the world.
Should you want to try chanting the mantra for yourself I have shared a video of it that continues for over nine minutes – long enough for you to feel how lovely it is.
An ancient Sanskrit greeting still in everyday use in India and especially on the trail in the Nepal Himalaya. Translated roughly, it means “I bow to the God within you”, or “The Spirit within me salutes the Spirit in you” – a knowing that we are all made from the same One Divine Consciousness.