At 5 p.m., I met with Madhavan, who is teaching me about Theory of Asana. You’d think that, having taught yoga for 8 years, I’d know a thing or two about teaching asana. Regardless, I’m approaching my experience at KYM as a humble beginner. I know that what I know is a tiny fraction of the knowledge available at KYM.
My beginner mentality proved to be the right track for my lesson with Madhavan. He spent a good 30 minutes, if not longer, explaining the concepts of Sthira and Sukham, Effort and Ease, or as he translate them Stable and Comfortable. If you’ve attended my class, you know I talk about Effort and Ease all the time, but my level of understanding was blown out of the water by what I learned from Madhavan.
I left KYM yesterday utterly exhausted, not only from my early morning travel, but mostly because my mind was overwhelmed with new knowledge. It was fantastic.
Today, Day 2, looked a lot like Day 1.
I met with Anand at 3:00 so that he could review my progress on the practice he assigned me yesterday. He corrected my mistakes. Then he created a new practice for me and taught me the practice. The new practice is my homework before I see him tomorrow.
I met with Sangeetha at 4:00 and she spent an hour and fifteen minutes (AN HOUR AND FIFTEEN MINUTES!) teaching me the very first sutra: 1.1 Atha Yoganusasanam. The first 45 minutes was spent on the single word Atha. No kidding. So rich, the wisdom she shared. Just. Blown. Away.
I absolutely love the Yoga Sutras and I am so, so grateful for this one-on-one instruction. As we walked back up the stairs to the lobby she was still teaching me. She concluded by saying, “Yoga is not about how we can change, how we can improve ourselves, it’s about how we can improve the other person’s life.”
After over an hour’s discussion about how we use yoga to change our patterns, to have her turn the tables and tell me it’s not actually about my own personal progress just blew my mind. Of course, she is totally right. And now I need to find some quiet time to sit and think and figure out exactly what she means. And this is yoga.
Today wrapped up with Madhavan again. It was another hour of absolutely mind-blowing instruction. One Aha! moment after another. I’ll summarize it with one story. He asked me if I’m familiar with Ujjayi breath. Of course, I am. I practice and teach it every day. At least I think I know what Ujjayi breath is. I tell him I learned that Ujjayi breath is for heating the body.
He pondered my response with a bit of a puzzled expression, trying to make sense of it. Finally, he said something like, Yes, I suppose it is a little bit about heating, and then proceeded to explain the real purpose of Ujjayi.
Here I’ve been teaching for 8 years (and thinking I’m doing a pretty good job) and now I realize I don’t even know the whole story about what I thought was a simple and basic practice, Ujjayi.
Then he filets open my 17 years of yoga practice by saying, “Wait, if you’ve been practicing Ujjayi for all these years, then something else is missing from your practice.” And I was like, What?! Tell me, please!
And so it turns out (and of course he’s exactly right) that I’ve been doing Ujjayi mechanically, without real awareness. I’m multi-tasking with Ujjayi, observing sensations in my body, and thinking about which pose comes next, and I haven’t been *really* *really* present with my breathing.
So as you can tell, I’m absolutely blown away by the vastness and depth of knowledge at KYM. I feel like a baby beginner. I’m so grateful to be here and I’m soaking in as much as a can, as a student and also as a teacher.
I can’t wait to see what the rest of the week brings and I can’t wait to bring my new knowledge back to share at The Yoga Room.
Miss you and see you soon!
All my best,