Monday, March 21, 2011

What I Didn't Write in that Last Post (Epilogue to Notes from the Kripalu Teacher Training Thang)


Every time you judge yourself, you break your own heart.
Swami Kripalu

Welcome to the camp, I guess you all know why we’re here...
Pete Townshend, Tommy

Friday morning, when we were hanging out on the couches after breakfast, procrastinating about packing and looking vaguely forward to the big graduation ceremony, somebody asked us about just how many hours of yoga a day people in the teacher training actually have to do....we were silent for a few seconds, and I told him it was kinda like we’d walked into a yoga class a month ago and were still there...

...a couple hours later, procrastinating about leaving, sitting in the coffee shop with my lap-top, getting up to hug people goodbye whenever they walked past, tried to post some thoughts I’d been writing up in the previous days...which went kinda like this:

Tadah drastuh svarupe vasthanam
The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, 1.3

...but don’t believe everything the Yoga Sutras say...
Ancient and Revered Yoga Cynic Sutra 121.341

...last Friday, went into bridge pose and stayed there half an hour...earlier this week, wrote I HATE YOGA on an unused notebook page, later scribbling the words out, though they could still be read, and tried to use them in a kind of photographic still life with the Ganesha statue on the Kripalu lawn, but the page came out blank...two nights ago felt myself a winged and carapaced insect, struggling to escape its chrysalis....one day, it might’ve been last weekend, dreamed in a deep savasana that I’d misplaced my head, but it didn’t seem too much of a problem...

...as well as a bunch of other stuff I kept deleting...(not even mentioning the performance of You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman...in a bathrobe...with backup singers...including a guy in a bikini...in front of the altar with the statue of Shiva and pictures of Swami Kripalu...to Devarshi, dean of the Kripalu School of Yoga, sitting up front in full lotus...and about seventy other people, instructed to maintain dirgha and ujjayi pranayama...and not to laugh....but you’d probably have to've been there for that)...

...drifting in and out of lifetimes, unmentionable by name...
Bob Dylan

...anyway, then, early Friday afternoon, after the big graduation ceremony...they got ceremonies for taking a crap up there at Kripalu, but this one was actually kinda special...the post felt insufficient...too vague, too slight, too focused on myself...

...and now I’m back in Philly, where there’s police sirens, pollution, and people aren’t nice to each other all the time....but, the snow’s all gone, early flowers taking its place along the sidewalks, and I get to sleep in my own bedroom, crap in my own bathroom, and don’t have to get up every morning for 6:30 yoga....so there’s a balance, kinda...

...and what I really wanted to say, but couldn’t quite get the words out onto the virtual page on Friday...(or was worried about how they’d translate beyond our magic mountain)...(which is still a concern)...(think I’m corny or done drunk the kool-aid if ya wish)...was this: that, on the first night at Kripalu, we were asked about fears and concerns regarding the training, and someone said something to the effect that she was the kind of person who...and Devarshi responded promptly with something to the effect that we could expect any assumptions about what kinds of people we were to be challenged...

...and, a month later, standing there amongst the people with whom I’d shared so much, I was struck with the realization that, far beyond learning how to lead people through downward facing dog...adha mukha svanasana...or upward pigeon...raja kapotasna...not to mention a whole lotta Sanskrit...atha yoga nushasanam...we were all actually a little bit kinder, a bit more open, a bit more compassionate, a bit more conscious human beings than when we arrived...

13 comments:

Sandra said...

having graduated from the Kripalu School of Ayurveda (last year) I understand everything you say really well! It was the best of times, challenging but definitely worth the ceremony for taking a crap....

earthtoholly said...

I love that first quote, drjay.

Wish you had a video, though I saw a still elsewhere, and am wondering...why a bath robe? And why pants? A little "leg" woulda been appreciated. :o)

I can deal happily with just about anything if I have "own bedroom" and "own bathroom."

And your last paragraph made me think of Daniel Day Lewis' quote while looking down from some mountain somewhere: It's easy to love humanity when you're this far away from it. But that's just me (sometimes). May you keep and nurture all that you took away from Kripalu. Again, welcome back.

Tony said...

Hey Jay,

No surprise here. Evacuating the bowels properly is part of "saucha" or "purity." (And remember not to wipe with the same hand that counts your Mala beads and shovels dahl into your pie hole. ;-))

Thoreau writes in Walden:

We are so degraded that we cannot speak simply of the necessary functions of human nature. In earlier ages, in some countries, every function was reverently spoken of and regulated by law. Nothing was too trivial for the Hindoo lawgiver, however offensive it may be to modern taste. He teaches how to eat, drink, cohabit, void excrement and urine, and the like, elevating what is mean, and does not falsely excuse himself by calling these things trifles.

Elie said...

Your honesty and candor make me want to visit Kripalu this summer! Sounds like a challenging and wonderful experience.

Claudia said...

Sweet realization there... you are such a good story teller... 'Natural Woman' for real? talk about not taking ourselves seriously and forgetting the ego!

Kavindra said...

Absolutely lovely.

And I'd hold bridge pose for 30 minute ONLY IF I then got to see you and your cronies perform "Natural Woman."

nora said...

So Wonderful to read your thoughts, and perspective, Jay! :) Made me laugh too. Hope you're well.

Love and Light
Nora

'Vinyasa' Vanessa said...

Rock on, Jay! Interesting perspective on our month at Kripalu & I enjoyed the summary at the end. I also needed to read that first quote by Swami Kripalu, especially after teaching my first class tonight as a "Kripalu Certified Yoga Teacher" ...my love to all!

Brittany said...

Congratulations on your graduation! Will you be teaching in Philly? I would love to come to one of your classes!

Barbara said...

Hey D-Jay, you are a bit less the cynic too I think, and a pretty good comic too;) --Barbara

Silliyak said...

Ripples in the pond. I liked the beginning quote and sent it off to one of my yoga instructors, thinking it would be a good thing to quote in class. Saw her a few hours ago and she said it was "perfectly timed" for her and her boyfriend (something about [actual] dancing lessons I believe)

Eleanor said...

Beautiful - love your openness.

Lydia said...

Those final two paragraphs brought tears. I am so happy for you to have had that experience, and happy for us (and especially your students) to feel some of the rays from your sunshine.