I’ve been reflecting.

How much time do I actually spend on reading, gathering information from different sources, watching instructional videos on YouTube, and find space for all these in my already full head?

When I was going through my yoga teacher training, many moons ago, and a dreadful feelings of being overwhelmed with loads of information was taking over me every day a little bit more, my teacher told me, “What you need to remember will stay with you, the rest don’t worry about it.” I still live by these precious words.

To be honest, over the past several years I have cut down significantly on the amount of stuff I allow into my space: it was getting cramped in there and I need room to breathe. I have made conscious choices on where I spend my precious hours of the day and night and beside eating, sleeping, cooking , you know the usual stuff that is part of the human experience a lot of my free hours are spent on reading, writing, and deepening my spiritual journey. In reverse order. There is only so much time in one’s life. Thinking about my mortality has brought me to value where I direct my attention and above all to what, with whom I share it. Do you relate to this?

What prompted these reflections was an incident that happened over a year ago with a couple of my students who will remain anonymous, because privacy. Can you believe my mind is still mulling over this? Let’s call these two humans person A and person B. I had been hired by them to share the path of yoga not on the mat alone, but the one off the mat. Basically, how to live a yogic life not just in the world of asana but in the world of human beings, where we all belong.

Let me tell you yoga philosophy’s subjects that range from the Patanjali Sutras to the Bhagavad Gita, to talking about the Devas and/or explaining about the chakras are some of the topics there are dear to my heart. I have spent a lot of years learning from different teachers around the world and only now I have been blessed with coming into contact (although not physically, yet) with our beloved Swamiji. But this is another story.

Many days I shared this sacred knowledge with A and B over the course of several months, and during this together time I experienced a sudden loss. I did not take it well. My body was present, doing all the things it did before my heart was broken (again) following one action after the other, like on auto pilot. I was suffering especially because I saw my children in so much despair, I did not know how to take that heavy blanket of darkness that had enveloped their heart out of the way.

I did not speak about the pain I was in because I believe the strength to overcome it was/is inside one’s heart. We have to go there and find it apne aap by ourselves. Like a piece of candy you need to unwrap to taste its sweetness. I canceled my classes for about two weeks, as it was unbearable to face any human, let alone holding space for others, as I usually do. 

When I felt I was still wobbly yet ready to resume my teaching I went back to A and B, who were well aware of my situation. I was not expecting a particular anything, expectations being the source of disappointment and anger, I have stopped having any a long time ago. But what about compassion, what about ahimsa, non violence, the first rule of yoga? What about the teachings I had shared? Don’t they all have one thread in common, well, three: kindness, compassion, seeing yourself in others?

As soon as I walked into the door I was bombarded with questions, like darts shot this way and that, oh Elena, what is your plan? What are you going to do next? When are you leaving? Where are your children? What are they doing?  What is the emoji for what the heck? I felt as if I involuntarily stepped into a fire I did not know it was in front of me. So when I replied, I don’t want to talk about it. Let’s get to our yoga please, the interrogation continued. Have you made nay decisions? Are you going back to India? My response did not go well. I mean what about letting someone grieve his/her own way? In peace, that is. I was told I was not behaving in a yogic way, what does that even mean, and the energy was not appropriate for us to share the practice. So I picked up my mat and books, put them in my shoulder bag, opened the door I had previously closed behind me, and left. I could hear B loudly saying to A let her go, she can do what she wants. 

Oh hello! What did just happen? A cascade of bricks falling on my head, that’s what it felt like. What had I been doing for almost a year? What had I been teaching A and B? Where did the yoga in action go? And so I am asking, not in a rhetorical way, rather in an actual way of please give me an answers if you have one. What do we do with the stuff we learn, we read, we watch, we share, we experience? Where do we store this information? Is it in such safe place that we can’t get to it, when we actually need to apply it in real life? Is it all so precious that we cannot make use of it? Then, what is the point of it all? What is the purpose of knowing verses of sacred scrupitres by heart? Of having notebook after notebook filled with notes in different colored opens, underlined, highlighted and all. For what? 

What do you personally do with the teachings? Where do you place them? Do you have easy access to them? Is it with difficulty that you apply them in your everyday life? Phew that’s a lot of questions! I’d love for you to share your insight, though.

Like I wrote before, we are all in this together. 

Thanks for reading❤️