My Teacher Shares His Wisdom

I have concluded a week of sitting at my teacher's feet with about 100 or so students within the Anusara Yoga community. Some of those attending were Certified teachers, some Inspired, and many were fairly new on the path. But that did not matter - for each soul in attendance reflected a unique ray of the Divine's light. Each one of us is simply in a different stage on the path. And, we were all there as students with a beginner's mind...

The week was filled with insights, doubts, fears, breakthroughs, inspirations, turning points, revelations - all the typical things that a week spent with John Friend, the founder of Anusara Yoga always seems to elicit. He never says that we should not have doubts or fears - but it is how we use and transmute them that makes a difference in our practice and ultimately in our lives. Every time I study with him, I come away with profound insights and gems that I take and cast in the river of my students' hearts, where the ripples widen. They expand in my heart and soul as well for a very long time...

One of the many highlights of the week was listening to Professor Bill Mahoney, who teaches at Davidson College, give the most exquisite summary on the Yoga Sutras by Patanjali, that I have ever heard. Listening to him was like imbibing the sweetest nectar - or like drinking a vintage Bordeaux. I could have listened to him forever.

Bill introduced yoga as being both - "a state of being" - and "a technique that leads to a state of being." He spoke of yoga as being a state in which one sees the Divine in all beings. That statement simply took my breath away... And, he referred to yoga as a dance, that while experienced in the drama of life, can lead to luminosity and liberation. As practitioners we must dance the dance in the drama of life, without being part of the drama.

Bill Mahoney ended by discussing the last of the Niyamas, personal observances described in the Yoga Sutras as an important practice. This last Niyama is the practice of Ishvara Pranidhana - or of devotion to the Lord. Bill reminded us once again that the Divine is in each and every one of us, and that this teaching really means that we should just simply bow to the Lord in everything that we do - every action, word, or practice - be it our asana or meditation. We should bow to the Lord, in every act of compassion - in equanimity and in all moments..Just simply bow to the Lord, he repeated over and over again, like a mantra, and I could see that he embodied this practice in his own life...

There is so much more I could write and share - but instead, I will share some of the wisdom I transcribed and imbibed from my teacher, John Friend - some of these were instructions received in our asana practices, and some came from our philosophical discussions...

"Open to the light of the sky - and become spacious. Then melt with sensitivity. The Universal is behind you. Trust in the Guru Principle (particularly in inversions!)

A true teacher teaches you that the Guru Principle is in you. God dwells in you as you...

The Guru's light cuts through you with great gravitas...

When you do everything with effort and surrender, that is perfection...

When we move from the core, it connects us to the Universal...

The more energy splits out from the focal point, the more opening you get in a pose...

The drama is a problem only when you forget that you are playing a role...

The game is to stay awake when you go into the shadow...

Let go of the footnotes of your life and embrace your blessings...

Anusara Yoga is a mindfulness practice that enables you to stay in the Guru Principle...

Shraddha (faith) is trusting that the Guru is holding you...

Look always for the highest.

100% is the delicate balance between effort and grace - this is the threshold of the practice and when it is sattvic.

If your practice is not at 100% - the body will tell you - the shakti comes in when it is...

I root down to rise up and show the beauty of my heart...

Honor your highest self - not your neuroses. That is not your essence.

The gateway to the heart is in the middle of 100% of rooting and rising...

Everything you think, say, or do - leaves an imprint on the akasha..."

I have 75 pages of notes and so many good things to review and nourish my soul, and those that I encounter, for a long while!

Comments

Katie Lane said…
Thanks for sharing Olga! Would have loved to have been there sipping that nectar with you. 75 pages of pure potent presence. Amazing! xx
Katie
www.yogakula.co.nz
Olga Rasmussen said…
Thought of you there! When I type them - they'll be about half that amount - but I will send you a copy via email! Love to you!
Nancy said…
Olga,
I am so glad that you were able to experience Bill Mahoney. I met him for the first time in Estes Park two years ago and left with a thirst for more.
Your blog is beautiful!
Olga Rasmussen said…
Thanks Nancy!

I do remember you raving about him and he was amazing! Hope to see you soon!
Benjamin Dean said…
Good stuff. This material reminds me of The Flower Sutra, especially with the bowing to the Lord. Bowing to the Buddha, even in dust particles. Thank you.

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