The Celebration

08/12/2012 17:37


Ironically the last couple of days at Yoga Thailand we were without power (electricity , not yogic power). This is how our last full day of teacher training begins – no light, no fans in the yoga shala, no toaster, no internet. So for our last 24 hours of TT, we are being tested in our yogic ability to truly detach from outside distractions. Or we are being given a chance to focus only on what is: our little sangha, multi-faceted yet tight-knit after as much rain as sunshine.


The day of graduation we have a nice quiet practice with Stephen himself rolling out his mat and sweating with us – 42 bodies moving as one into Savasana. Or as Bhanu puts it: letting the death die, letting the experience come to a close.

4pm, the graduation ceremony begins, and we have no certificates to hand out – no power, no printer. All we have are the very cliche' red roses with silver glitter that I ordered with the Samahita staff.

Stephen grants me the honor to represent all of us assistants and hand a rose to every newborn teacher, while he sits calmly next to me. Of course, the first person getting their rose is my good friend Andrew, so I lose it right away. For a moment it crosses my mind: “Maybe I am not supposed to give everyone a hug? Is this too emotional? Maybe I'm just to join my palms and bow?” But I don't care. I want to do this. To be the feminine, upright, next to Stephen's seated Shiva-wisdom.


Person after person comes, and suddenly, I realize that with every single one, I have built a relationship. I know how their body moves through their practice, I know a little bit their stories and I know the little light behind their eyes. I know a little bit of the struggles they've had during this month. And as I press the them close to me, I can sense that ,even though the struggles may not have ceased, everyone has gained a new perspective. Everyone has found more space in their bodies to move with obstacles. Like the river does when it encounters a rock: It finds a way to flow around it, it does not stop. Everyone vibrates with something I can only describe as new-found trust in wherever the journey takes us.


And so tears keep streaming down my cheeks. I believe we all look back onto an intense month, including me, or maybe especially me. Yoga really is the mirror, as Andrew reminds me, after we have left Yoga Thailand. Which is why during an intense month of daily practicing and studying, we lose all opportunities to look away. Suddenly we see ourselves up close. At first, it is painful, comes as a shock. But then we realize it is liberating. Here finally, is honesty. And once we see what is, there is something we can work with. We realign, we dig down to the root, we create a course of healing.


Many of us came with questions that seemed to have no answer. Many of us still don't know what will be after. But all seem more grounded, more centered, closer to themselves. When we are closer to our inner home, there is less urgency to reach the outer home.
I think of Donna's Urdhva Dhanurasana which suddenly went all heart-open. The outer layer has shifted along with the inner. Not just for her.


Transformation requires friction”. Another little piece of wisdom, which Andrew points out to me, as we have already left the island behind. We sure all bumped into obstacles throughout this month. We sure all were afraid, have felt inadequate and lost and help- or hopeless. And here we are, coming out the other side.


I know that we often don't see the changes in ourselves until much later. So let me be your mirror: As everyone comes to get their rose I am truly moved because in everyone I see new pieces. Aspects that create balance for their individual being. In the fearful, I see courage. In the wavering, I see determination. In the introverts, I see eyes that meet mine. In the chirpy ones, I see a different vibration called silence. In former tough shells, I see a mother's touch.


And in each and everyone I see unobstructed light.


Truly, a celebration of life.


In eternal gratitude.