where the rubber hits the road

“Buddhism is a practice,” says Levine. “It’s not a bumper sticker. It’s not about attending the Dalai Lama’s teachings with 10,000 other people. It’s about practicing generosity in your daily life. It’s getting on your ass and training your own mind on your meditation cushion.”

from Dive-bar Dharma

Considering that I just spent two days in the Dalai Lama’s teachings in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the last paragraph from this salon.com article was pretty potent.

I love that quote — get off your ass to get your ass on the cushion or on your yoga mat.

I am certainly guilty of laziness just like the next person, but when I feel the need to get my yoga butt on the cushion or the mat, I do it. it may not be daily, but I stopped beating myself up about that a long time ago. it is a tangible feeling I get in my body that says “get thee to your yoga room” or to someone’s class.

I teach seven classes a week so I need to feel another’s yoga. I did my first teacher training in 2002 and I still go to my trainer’s studio in Chicago every other week, besides doing my own personal yoga therapy practice. frankly, I don’t understand how any yoga teacher can NOT do their own practice or take someone else’s yoga class because you always have to feed and nourish your own practice or else you become stale, at least in my opinion.

How can a teacher feed his or her students unless they are feeding themselves? in my mind, it’s impossible. when I returned from India this third time I really felt like I needed to stop teaching for a while and totally immerse myself in being a student again. I just might do that — I’m feeling in my bones that I need to spend 6 months in India but that involves giving up my classes, a scary thought giving up my yoga security — you know, all that attachment and clinging.

My siddha yoga sista in California told me that it’s her experience to see people return from long India retreats to find their “material world” suddenly do a change up for the better. she asked me, “what would happen if you went, like you’d come back and nobody would sign up for classes? I don’t think so…because when you’re off on your retreat, you’ll be posting on your blog and otherwise stay connected to your past students and other interested types, even once a month, just to keep it fresh and alive. …I tell ya, sista, when you’re plugged into the divine Ma Shakti of India, good stuff happens…”

In her book Bringing Yoga to Life, Donna Farhi writes:

“…determine whether this teacher has his or her own strongly developed personal practice. Such a teacher will naturally stress the importance of self-practice. Teachers who believe that teaching class is their personal practice are likely using the students as their motivation for practice and have probably yet to develop a strong allegiance with their own inner atman. …Any teacher who claims that personal practice is no longer necessary has probably stopped learning and is ill prepared to foster an appetite for fresh inquiry in students.”

I am always a student first, and a teacher second.


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3 thoughts on “where the rubber hits the road

  1. that quote reminds me of the dharma I getfrom my own root guru Ven. Robins Courtin. I first heard the dharma from her nearly five years ago thismonth. :-)

  2. Can’t wait to hear about it (here I am, crawling out from under my rock. . .).Of course, it’s always primarily about the practice–as Pattabhi Jois says, 99 percent practice, one percent theory–but it’s still got to be incredible to spend time with someone like the Dalai Lama.

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