Certified Anusara Yoga teachers undergo a yearly peer review in order to maintain their certification status. It is a wonderful opportunity to study with and observe a colleague's teaching.
I had the pleasure of taking and observing a class by Lucy Lomax yesterday. She and I have known each other for a decade or so - and have done many workshops and trainings together - but we have never been in each other's classroom.
I was blown away by Lucy's teaching and deeply nourished by it.
The theme of her class was the dance of yes and no - which she wove in an exquisite fashion in every instruction and action - and in every pose she taught.
She began by illustrating how all of our actions and experiences can be distilled to either a yes or a no response. Both are equally necessary experiences in life. Lucy related this theme of saying yes and no to life - to the Anusara Yoga Universal Principles of Alignment.
For example - when we open to grace - we soften and we say yes to life and to the universal. (First Principle)
But then we draw in - we engage muscular energy - and our body says no. This can only come after opening first. Then it provides the structure and the underlying support that we need in our poses. (Second Principle)
We begin with opening and saying yes as we journey and dance our way through all the Universal Principles of Alignment.
Keeping the two previous principles engaged - we then widen and root (Third and Fourth Principles) and finally end where we began - by extending out with organic energy and saying yes once again. (Fifth Principle)
Yes and no are both necessary responses - both serve a purpose in life. They also provide us with the experience of balanced action - not only in our practice - but in life, in nature, in our relationships - indeed - in everything.
For example - when we say yes - we open the door to transformation and change. But when we say no - we engage and establish proper boundaries - like the banks of a river.
I thought of the river Seine in Paris - and its banks - and how it frames the magnificent structure of Notre Dame - which overlooks this ancient and mighty river. If the banks were not there in this city - the river would over run it and consume many of its treasures.
I also thought of my life these last few months as exemplifying a dance between yes and no. I needed to have the experience of many no's - to provide the structure and boundaries that I had to establish and which are now in place.
Now I can open my arms wide and on this brightly sun lit day - exclaim a resounding yes - to all of life - and all that it offers - and its continual dance of yes and no.