Making Space For Grace

I have been reflecting on the portions of the weekend workshop that certified Anusara Yoga teacher, Ross Rayburn led, here at Willow Street Yoga Center, in Maryland.

More than what Ross did, it is what he said, but primarily what he embodied, that has most stayed with me.

I had never studied with Ross before, but had met him on numerous occasions at the annual gathering of certified Anusara teachers.

Ross was genuine, present, compassionate, and most of all, he was humble - despite his great wealth of knowledge and insight. It is perhaps, his humility that has most spoken to me...

While I did not take notes, something that is unusual for me, I was able to reconstruct the parts of the sessions I attended, that most spoke to me. Here are a few things I resonated with...

"There is nothing that at its essence is wrong or bad - because everything is Divinely made...

Are you maintaining your relationship to your goodness in every thought word, and deed? This is the whole ball of wax in yoga! And if you do not become a better person through your practice, then do something else.

Can you go to the radical - to make it more mundane? This will make us less judgmental, and we do live in a judgmental culture...

If you connect with the omnipotence of God - all you can do is surrender..."

We worked a practice that was deep, and nuanced, and I realized yesterday, as I sat in meditation, that Ross had given me a great gift!

For a couple of weeks, I had been sitting in meditation and focusing on expanding my heart center and field, and I particularly focused on this as I sent blessings and prayers to the people of Japan, in the wake of the tremendous devastation experienced there.

I know how to expand my heart and soul, and "inhabit" those higher chakras. But, "living" in those lower ones, that is another matter. One of my yoga teachers, whom I have now studied the longest with, has repeatedly stressed to me, the need to embody the practice more on a physical level...

As we worked on Friday night, and Saturday afternoon, Ross repeatedly instructed us to expand in our pelvis, not only by engaging principles we knew so well, but by employing the breath, and then, creating that spaciousness within ourselves, even beyond the breath...

The work we did was rich, and subtle, and nuanced - and I realize, it was an invitation to explore all of this more deeply. But, for the first time, I got what was missing for me, and that's why I was led to attend the sessions I did...

Ross instructed us, as I mentioned, with great humility. He saw the beauty that was being embodied in the room, and acknowledged it. He taught to a room with a number of certified teachers, who sometimes asked questions about a particular instruction. But rather than get defensive, Ross thanked them for what they offered, or for reminding him of things he had omitted...

Lately, I've been reflecting on how absent humility seems to be in many teachers. Things seem, from my perspective, much more competitive in yoga these days than I remember in my 14 years of teaching. I sense a lack of humility all across the board, some times in novice teachers whom I've had to evaluate, but also in more seasoned teachers as well...

I have always admired one of my first teachers, Betsey Downing, and one of my current, Suzie Hurley, for taking introductory workshops in Anusara, rather than assisting. A teacher who is humble, exercises good studentship, and realizes there is always more to learn, and that others - are no better or worse most times. There is, in humility, an inherent ability to truly listen, and be present...

I am lucky, to be surrounded by many colleagues who recognize and embody humility. As I shared some of my insights with my dear friend, Lucy Lomax, another Anusara certified teacher, she wisely observed, that humility in teaching, goes a long way, because it is Grace. We have to make space for Grace, and when we do, we connect to the Universal, rather than the individual, which she agreed, seems to be happening on some levels...

All of that being said, humility is never easy. As a former academic, I could be quite arrogant in the past about what I felt I knew...Yet, humility is something I strive to embody, and this Lenten season, gives me a perfect opportunity to revisit this quality.

Let us all reflect more deeply on the meaning of humility in our lives, in our teaching, and explore the areas where we need to be more attentive to it...

Comments

Isvari said…
I love this. Ross definitely is tapping in.

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