Field Notes from Teacher Training
Embodyoga® In-Depth Study Weekend 1
While I have been waiting and waiting for Pam to offer a teacher training, I have to admit that the very name “embody” had me both unnerved and also deeply certain that this would be just the kind of focus I have been needing. I think I mostly have done yoga to be less in my body than more in it- or maybe to even have less body… But to be more fully in the body I have right now?
But I trust and like Pam and I will follow her lead most anywhere in the confines of a yoga studio and maybe also in the realms of adorable furniture and delicious food. So, I signed up and waited.
And then I missed day one. My dearest friend, Sarah Livesey, another yogi and spiritual master, had recently died, and her memorial was day 1 of session 1. I’d like to think I was practicing yoga all day that day. But the next day, I showed up in my body. See? Working already.
I rolled out my mat in a room that was fuller than I expected (Yay Pam) and looked around. I knew many faces from various studios over the years, mostly having migrated to Yoga Union by now, and was soon introduced to the new (to me) faces.
“Cluster up!” Pam said. And we all scooched up and surrounded her and Darlene and we began.
Pam started with storytelling. She began with the myths of Ganesha, the elephant-headed god, whom I thought I already knew, but whose origin story I hadn’t heard. So, here we go. Learning more deeply about what I thought I knew.
Mostly, what struck me was the concept of “broken making room for more.” Not broken being healed back to a messy original. A scarred Before. Here was an origin story about how we cannot keep from breaking things, our own spirits, each other’s hearts, our bodies, our relationships. And that we shouldn’t seek to avoid it. Or feel like breaking is an ending point. Because it is actually how anything new happens ever. Think broken open. Break through. We do not so much solve a break, but re-create from the old pieces plus whatever new belongs.
Parvati (Shiva’s consort) takes the very oils of her body, born of a wound, born of a heartbreak, and forms her child “Ganesha.”
Long story short, Shiva (who hurt her) now cuts off the head of her wound baby and THEN takes an elephant head and puts it on the boy’s body. Because we can’t replace what’s been broken. We must make New.
I for one live in a body and spirit broken by all kinds of ailments and seeking all kinds of remedies. But I have to admit that I have been trying to “Get Back” to a former self. The one before I had a child? The one before Lyme disease? The one before Sarah died? The thinner one? The more flexible one? Which one? Which of these “breaks” can I undo? None of them. So, I see already what is ahead of me is that I have to go from here with the pieces I have and the New I am being offered.
Sarah loved quoting Rumi who said “The wound is where the light comes in.” Vulnerability comes when we open. But it’s how the love and beauty get to come in.
And I felt and feel vulnerable. I am not in the yoga shape (body or mind) that I once was. But I am showing up anyway and that is all we are really asked to do. Show up. Open up.
Another element that struck me was the idea that the Gods and Demons are both flawed. But Gods ask for help. The demons don’t. They are nihilists. Gods want to restore order. Demons seek to keep the chaos going. I like how that sounds. Gods co-create. Even if they destroy first.
We talked too about Om and sound and a bit about tuning into the vibration of the Universe. Through our throats and ears both into our cells and back out to the universe. No boundary really.
As for the body, doing what we are discussing is a game changer. Talk. Do. Discuss. Kind of the way I always wanted to be in yoga but time won’t allow for. What do you mean I always want to say. Now I can.
We spent a good long while finding small adjustments in the pelvis. There it is! I kept hearing about that pelvic bowl. I knew I had one. But I couldn’t really find it.
And I think that is what this is about. Finding out what is already there. Layer by layer of a suddenly fluid self.
This reminds me of Wayne Dyer who said “when we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change.”
One little factoid that freaked me out was the idea that the pressure to breathe is outside the body.
The universe, it seems, is trying to get in.