Into the Unknown – or the Faith after the Leap of Faith

10/11/2012 18:38



It is always interesting to hear people's yoga story. I love to hear what brought people to this practice and what it then did to their lives. More often than not, as we go deeper into the practice, it does quite dramatic things to us. We break up with a significant other, we quit our job, we change our eating and sleeping habits, we move... For the simple reason that yoga makes us aware of what is going on and maybe more specifically of what can no longer work for us. And because we realize what we need, some changes are usually in order.


Especially here, as we go deeper into our teacher training, I get to hear more and more yoga stories. That makes me remember the first time I heard Stephen's yoga story. It was just at the time that I had decided to start teaching yoga full-time. There is one sentence I remember like it was yesterday: “So I jumped off the cliff... into the unknown, but luckily I had a parachute.”


This is what all of us did by deciding to come here. You never know what awaits you in a teacher training. Even if you've done a teacher training before or if you know the teacher – it is bound to be an intense period of time. You will not only deepen your practice, you will get to know yourself, the ripples on the surface of the mind, from very up close.


This morning Stephen keeps interrupting the flow of the Asana practice to point out principles of alignment. I can tell some of us are a bit snubbed. Like we always are when we thought we had something down. And what, now we need to rethink everything?


It is that moment of in between. We found the courage to jump off the cliff. It is just the only thing that makes sense, because inside the chips fall where they're meant to go, and the outside situation needs to realign itself with that inner truth. This is why we came. But then the ego gets in the way. Jumping into the unknown is scary. It's uncomfortable to replace the old and well-worn with the unfamiliar and the new. At the same time, however, it is also quite miraculous, because you have been longing for it. You have been longing to break the shell and know more and find answers.


I find it quite miraculous how the mind has this creative power – by changing the inner life the outer realigns itself with it. Then again, the mind/the ego can be limiting or even destructive as we resist that new order of things by holding on to the familiar scaffolding that we've created over time. Today Stephen called this the magical aspect of yoga: When we start to understand how the mind, or prakriti (nature) or the gunas (qualities of nature) work, that almost gives us “magical powers”.


As we discuss the first of Patanjali's sutras in the afternoon (1.1.  Atha yoganushasanam ), Stephen tells us about his pilgrimage to Mount Kailash. Apparently, their guide told them it can only be Karma that they ended up on this pilgrimage. If you undertake something as rough and challenging, then it really must be written in your stars. And then you can also trust that it will just lead into the right direction.


In a way, we were the ones who created this situation by our readiness, by saying to the universe: I am ready and I am willing. If the desire for this transformation hadn't formed in us, we wouldn't be here. This opportunity wouldn't have presented itself, things wouldn't have worked out for us to come. It takes a little bit of faith after the leap of faith. But if you see what you can create as the energies within you shift – then maybe, you can also trust the rest of the process. You are always exactly where you are meant to be.