03 July 2009


Teaching up at Kripalu this weekend about acceptance.
Full, unbridled acceptance, inspired recently by a talk with Lida Ahmady.

Through a rigorous series of twists this morning, followed by a slightly more sane sequence with juicy hip openers this afternoon, we explored our capacity for unraveling doubt, fear, blame, frustration, through the unraveling of the physical twist itself, observing the way the breathing in the interior space opens, releases, revealing any remaining toxicity as a light on the path to healing. A landmark. A way in.

This spacious breathing can be carefully described. Last night i offered the words of Gopala Ayer Sundaramoorthy, my teacher Douglas Brooks' teacher, to describe the breathing. "The breathing is like moonlight, soft and light." The moonlight's soft luminosity is also an apt description of the post-twist sensation in and around the organs. It's not a super-sharp bright light - it's an all-over, diffused ease. Might we actually have that sort of receptive, luminous experience internally with more consistency?

Yes. What lights me up about teaching is the possibility for consistent interior receptivity in every moment of the day. To this end, prior to asana this afternoon we had a dialogue. I'd hoped to bring about a real awareness of the way to that ease; not through adding something else to do, but something we can all edit out. So i brought up that inner talk, those comments we make in the privacy of our own being - those things we think but would never dare say aloud.

In my experience, the inner talk must cease. Cease. With thanks to Hugo Cory -and Manly P. Hall, Road to Inner Light- i understand that anytime we entertain a negative thought - even privately - the negative field that sweeps our world is strengthened through our contribution.

The big question is how to cease the inner talk and have a more consistent experience of that soft, warming interior light. We cannot expect to stop this commentary immediately; we must first watch its effects on our own state and on those around us, vigilantly and honestly, to see what it does to us. "It is not necessary to keep one's mind completely free of thoughts and conditions in order to heal. What is necessary is... [to observe them] - to slow down the internal dialogue... to not identify with its most flagrant conditioning factors. This will be enough to produce a space in which we can remain alert." - Sat Nam Rasayan.

This alertness, i realized today, is my "spirituality." This alertness is my only offering to the students, teachers, and the practice of yoga. This alertness is the way to that moonlight-esque sensation internally, where you feel softly, cleanly lit up from the inside out. When the desire of your mind becomes the desire of your heart.

And it was with this sweet alertness that we reveled in the music of John DeKadt and Wah! as they played for us, bringing some strong gratitude along with the thundering rain that surrounded us in the superb new sustainable annex up here at Kripalu.

And in the generous words of Bill Gluck in a recent email: "The transformative power of the spiritual alchemy of your classes is embodied in the following synergistic calculus: "Open your heart and the mind will follow. Open your mind and the heart will follow."

Photo: Eric Cahan