In a week I will be teaching here in Manila for the first time since my authorization by my teacher in India. I’m excited to be offering something here at last. To be honest, though, until recently, I was also a little nervous because, after all, coming home has a different weight and texture–in a similar way that returning to the US where I grew up, teaching in San Francisco during this year challenged some old ideas, for example, the little voice that asked deep inside my head: was I good enough to hold a space like Mysore SF, had I been gone too long from America to be able to relate? Since my time of teaching regularly in the Philippines, Manila and Boracay (where I used to live and teach) has become a popular port for visiting teachers, some of whom are senior teachers with a lifetime of experience. It rattles the ego some.
What I’ve learned along the way, however, is it’s not about my years of experience, nor is it about my level of practice, it’s not about the past years of travel and teaching in different countries–though all are fairly substantial factors (says the ego, once again).
The hard truth is it’s not about me at all. Being able to teach, here or anywhere, is about honoring this practice. It’s about having the humility to get out of the way so this intrinsically intelligent system can do what it is designed to do. It’s about supporting the bodies, the wills, the hearts of those who engage in this practice, who also put their trust in it. It’s about breathing, speaking, moving and acting not through my own wants or needs, but through the lineage, through the parampara.
This connection between us and our teacher is alive and potent. For years, I have been listening to Sharath Jois speak on this topic during conference in India, believing that I understood it. And to a point, I did.
The last year, however, has been a great lesson in surrendering to the lineage: practicing in Mysore, India at the start of the year injured, assisting Sharath (upon his recommendation that it would be strengthen my back), assisting Magnolia Zuniga–one of the strongest female teachers I’ve encountered so far–and learning from her and sharing in a space like Mysore SF, where parampara is practically tangible. I have had to let go of so much to find that I am now, ironically, more myself…
I don’t feel anxious now. I feel relieved that I don’t need to “perform” or “expect.” The word that comes to mind, instead, is “trust.”
I trust that this practice will do, through me, what it needs to do. I trust that it works, even when it feels awkward. I trust that the more I let go of my ideas of what it is to be an ashtanga teacher, the more I will be able to teach with authenticity and integrity. I trust that the students that need to come and study will come. I trust that it’s going to be a good week of seriously real, full-hearted, and honest practice.
Root, Seed & Grow. If you are in the Philippines, I will be teaching a week of Traditional Ashtanga Yoga between Monday, January 4 and Saturday, January 9, 2016, 6:30-9am. Surya Fitness and Yoga is located on the 4th Floor, Medicard Lifestyle Center Bldg., 51 Paseo de Roxas, Corner, Sen. Gil J. Puyat Ave, Makati.
Join our Facebook Event Page for more details: https://www.facebook.com/events/199794560354285/