Monday, June 30, 2008

My philosophy and teaching style (part 1)

My teaching style comes from my years of experience as a student myself and a teacher, standing from 2 different platforms of life, I form my own opinions on how things should and should not be done. By understanding the very basis of human psychology and the human mind, I mold my teaching style.

I encourage a you to be yourself, and not anyone else when you come to your mat, allowing you to connect with your inner self, and unearth, well, you. Ego(asmita) is one of the largest barrier in one's practice, if you know how to let go, and just be in the moment, being in your breath, you bring a crystal quality to your practice. I nowadays teach the esoterics of yoga. The hidden path of yoga, of which not many like or want to try. The Malaysian mentality in general is not ready for this unravelling. I have found the confidence and courage to finally teach what I really want to teach.

What I teach in gyms is limited in a spiritual sense and so superficial. I have not much integrity as a yogi and a teacher when I teach at gyms. I can only teach in quantity, in a physical sense. Obviously I have no choice but to follow the gym's rules, not my own. Recently I have been so fortunate to finally meet some lovely people who are not afraid to live life by their own rules and have so forth inspired me to do the same, thus opening my very own classes. So if I feel that chanting sanskrit mantras will bring my home grown students a different quality to their practice, I will do so without care of what others will say or think. I will be in totality with my actions and even if I fail to survive, I know it is people who are not ready, because I am taking full responsiblity towards my actions, completely present, I know I would have been true to myself, and nothing else matters. I have heard a quote, "when you forfeit your soul, there's no use having just a pile of bones".

A student of mine from gym asked me recently if I had changed my teaching style, because he noticed it a couple of weeks back. I had, because I stumbled upon realisation. I wasn't looking for it, I wasn't desiring it, but it came. As Osho says, the world only knocks at your door when you are present. I didn't see light, I only saw I was carrying so much burden and stones which I thought were gems. I immediately dropped the load. I have come closer to my inner self. Each breath becomes a celebration. One of my favourite quotes are

" let your ears be the extension of your breath, listen to your breathing"

Let me tell you that the way I am now, is not how I used to be. I am greatly influenced by Osho's teachings and hold it very close to my heart, I convey his philosophy which monumentaly speaks about yoga at it's core. I fuse my yoga practice, my yogic philosophy and his words into my teachings. Years back, I was never ever interested in the esoterics in yoga, but nowadays, I find it inevitable to avoid it, it comes to me like second skin. While I do not condemn physical health or physical exercises or activities, I am growingly more interested in the health of the mind, or sh0uld I say no-mind. I recommend you to pick up any one of his "a new way of living" series of books from either Borders or MPH. It's not a prerequisite but just for better understanding of self. I learned alot about my pranayama, and I can only describe it as such,

"take a deep breath, like before a plunge into deep water.then upon diving in, take a long exhale with you, so you stay longer underwater, and notice as you begin to exhale, you are allowed to sink deeper and deeper, and allow yourself to let go, to finally hit the bottom of the pool. don't be afraid, sink deep into a inner and outer silence you never knew existed. this is your own pool of energy merged with your breath"

I am also blessed with yoga books from the 50's, given to me as pieces of heirloom, which encase old knowledge and give me the wisdom to share with others. The authors who have long gone, their work lives on. I only carry on the methods and techniques which are safe for our moderm time.

So I wouldn't say I have a specific style or just one teacher, because everyone is my teacher, whether you do or teach yoga at all. I am who I am. My only purpose is to let you bridge the gap within yourself. Remember that a teacher only gives u 1%, the student gives the rest of the 99%.

I quote from the first line of yoga sutras. Patanjali said:
"yoga chitta vritti nirodha"

Which translates : Yoga controls the whirlpool of the mind.