What is Yoga? Okay, sure, that’s like a serious question and all, but to me any question that starts with, “What is…?” is an inside joke. I had a buddy once who started our 3 hour training on how to run a church sound board (plug things in, turn them on, don’t touch anything else) with the question, “What is sound?”. Maybe it was his intonation, his delivery, or the seeming ridiculousness of grand theoretical question for mundane practical training, but, it just got a bunch of laughs. Turns out, it was a great question.
Ms. Trover (Torrey) started the posture mechanics with the same format: what is Hatha Yoga? We “seasoned” practitioners are of course, stymied. I mean, it’s not like its that difficult, we do “yoga” every day, we’re at a “yoga teacher training”, it shouldn’t be that hard, right? Okay, okay, we did all right, but, suffice it to say, when you put a pile of yoga nerds in a room, every one is shy to shout out an answer. What if our nerdiness is betrayed by the fact that we “don’t know” or we say something less nerdy than the nerd next door who says something infinitely more nerdy. Torrey (designated by MD as the chief nerd (or was it dork?)) did an excellent job of discussing hatha yoga as a holistic practice of energy in body, mind and spirit. And that through the process of harnessing and using energy with a singular point of focus, hatha yoga differentiates itself from most other physical activity…until you realize that doing any physical activity can be yoga with the right awareness and intention.
Sh*t. Yoga nerd point of the day #1: everything can be yoga. Rewind to last night, yoga is your state of mind. Well that complicates things, but does it? Or does it just make them simpler. Moving on.
Moving on to the teaching clinic, which was also the lecture, which was also the teaching clinic. We took our turns standing up to demonstrate, dialogue with personal demonstration and then teach the postures to others. Of course, everyone is nervous, but I think there is a bit of relaxation as we learn to embrace the concept of “attachment and letting go” in the application of the asana essentials. Yes we must memorize it, learn to recall it, and, then learn to teach it. Through our attachment we will learn to take in this knowledge energy, and, through our detachment we will learn to let it go out, into those around us, whom we seek to offer the ‘higher good’ (don’t get me started on this, at least not just yet).
Ding Dong, yoga nerd point of the day #2: you have to attach to it, in order to let it go. Wait, what?
I had originally intended this post to be about the greatest differences I surmise between this training and the traditional training, about how we seem to spend all day just realizing and bandying about ideas and thoughts on what it is that we are doing here. I’ll get there, there will be approximately 54 or so more days to post. There was also the (too?) lengthy and (somewhat?) awkward discussion about sex and other attachments during training. Maybe that’s NSFW. However, I will leave you with my favorite quote of the day and the yoga nerd point of the day #3, from Mark:
“Yoga is the only subject(?) in the world where the subject is the object, and, the object is the subject.”
Think about that for awhile…
PS: If you’re in a hurry, ask about the MD martini method of teaching postures.
After a brief career in fine dining and wine from Oregon to Edinburgh, Benjamin spent his 20s making the best espresso in New Haven, CT and eugene, OR. He recently headed south for an entirely different addictive drug, yoga. Benjamin is one of the newest teachers at SGY after completion of The Hot TT. His princess is six years old and recently started yoga herself, in between pool sessions and ballet practice. His favorite posture is Rabbit.