This past weekend was a bit of a departure from the teachings of the past month. On Friday night, we had our first class on meditation with Dina Amsterdam. Then on Saturday, some of us went to our first support group with Marc Rappaport, and then we all proceeded to engage in our second Anatomy intensive weekend with Harvey Deutch.
While we all have been learning and practicing meditation in new ways since Chrisandra instructed us in different techniques almost as soon as we began our Alignment segment with her, Dina helped us to enhance our practice and contextualization of meditation. We learned about techniques with which to observe our “monkey minds” – the thought patterns that so often we allow take a hold of our sitting experiences. We learned about the importance of not worrying about our super egos, which so often instruct us in what to do and think, and of not identifying with the stories that we tell ourselves. Perhaps the most apropos advice that she gave us was around the importance of being “aware with care,” and without judgment. Easier said than done! I left wondering about how, in the context of a world where so much injustice takes place in almost every imaginable space, how to not judge.
Another piece of wisdom that Dina imparted in us is what she calls the 60%/40% rule – in other words, of being 60 percent present with yourself, and 40 percent present with who you are in company with. While this might seem like an easy skill to master, we soon found out through a practice exercise just how difficult it really is. I was reflecting too how much people socialized as female are inculcated in our society to overly care take others, to give more attention to those that they are with than themselves.
At the risk of not revealing anything considered confidential from our support group, I’ll just say that it was apparently the largest that Marc had ever lead in a Yoga Tree Teacher Training, and that he was thoroughly impressed with the ways that our cohort had so strongly already developed connections and ties. I’ll also say that most people in the group reported feeling changed and moved by the different experiences resultant from the training, some more intensely than others.
Anatomy with Harvey was amazing as ever. We really are so lucky to have the opportunity to study with him. So many yoga teachers don’t get to learn from someone with training and expertise as both a physical therapist and yoga teacher. We learned about the hip joint, more about the spine, and about the pelvis and sacrum. We also learned about so many bad habits that so many of us, including myself, have developed in yoga due to anatomical ignorance. Luckily we are learning now how to correct postures that we have been doing that would, or already have, resulted in various injuries. And we’ve learned when to ignore anatomically bad cues that so many yoga teachers give due to not knowing the body.