Thursday, January 20, 2011

If you're going to San Francisco...

...Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair

One of my students is leaving. He is moving to San Francisco at the end of the month. Actually, it isn't just one of my students, he is essentially my first real student. He's the one who showed up religiously for the past three years. He made up one third of the class for the first two years and he stuck with me through many fits and starts. He tried to pay me extra for a class he once attended where he turned out to be the only student. And he's the one really the only one who has been through the entire teaching journey with me to this point. Seen me through the transformation of what was to what is happening now after YTT. He saw classes of 1 to 3, grow into classes of 16 or more. And now he's leaving. Sunday will be his last class with us. It makes me quite sad to think about it.
In the last week he said that he's gotten most things in order and he said very profoundly (though not unexpected from him given he's a longtime meditator) that he's trying to stay in his heart, because if he goes to his head he's wild and lost.
It's got me thinking about Being Present within Transitions. And how for me, and I'm sure for many, this is a very very difficult task. To really be awake and aware to everything that happens as we make a transition in life, big or small, requires a commitment to staying connected to the present moment, connected to our experiences, connected to what will surely be difficult or at least intense emotions and hopefully connected into a deeper core. It is paradoxical, of course, that to stay aware to changes and experiences in the external world we actually have to root more deeply into the Self and the unchanging internal space of the Heart. Gotta love how a Tantric Paradox can hold it all, right?
In yoga practice this equates to staying aware of and connected to the Focal Point as we move into, experience, and move out of each pose. The focal point is the nexus of energy, the seat of power and gravity in the pose, and in Anusara-speak it is the place to which Muscular Energy draws in and pools and where Organic Energy expands out from. Staying steady in the focal point allows us to transition easily between postures without having to readjust and remake our alignment each time. It keeps us more connected to Grace and therefore better able to expand the practice over time.
To try it, you can practice pooling your energy into the core of the pelvis in trikonasana and keeping your mind's eye and all of your power there as you move into ardha chandrasana and back again. Keeping center in this way is profoundly stabilizing.
And so, as this Sunday is rapidly approaching and I know I will need to say good-bye I am trying to stay deeply rooted in my heart. With steadiness I will move forward to wish him well and say what needs to be said (THANK YOU, and You are a wonderful gift of a person) With awareness, commitment, and Grace I'll try to feel my own emotions and be a bit of a holding place for those of the other students. Then I'll wish him well and hope he finds the gift the fabulous kula that I know exists in San Fran. All the while knowing we hold him deeply rooted in our hearts.

A contemplation as you listen to the song: How do I handle transitions big and small? What can I bring more attention to? How can I be more present to even the smallest transitions in my life?


Anonymous said...

I really appreciate reading your blog, and what timing! I am also going through a huge transition in my life, except I am moving (back home) to Virginia (from NYC)... (Which is, actually, exactly how I found you, as I started researching teachers or classes that I would like to try when I move to VA, and seek my yoga home.)

Anyways, your student is very wise, and I will remember his great "advice" and try out your suggestion for trikonasana as I finish my final week before the move.

dancingyogini said...

Hi -- Thank you so much for commenting. Isn't it a wonderful thought to try to stay in our hearts instead of our heads as we go through the trying experience of moving? (or life for that matter!) This student is so wise and will absolutely be missed. If you are moving to RVA I hope you will come and introduce yourself and possibly join our fun, loving little kula here. And I wish you ease and joy with your move.
all the best -- Sarah