I'm just back from nine days at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health where I led a retreat and training for the Advanced Yoga Teacher Training program on the topic of meditation.
What a treat to be with such deep, authentic and caring people. We balanced our time between understanding more challenging postures and techniques for assisting, but the overall theme was about meditation. Each morning we chanted prayers in the Kripalu tradition and explored various doorways into meditation ranging from sense-based practices as breath, slow motion movement, walking and scanning to approaches such as mantra and metta.
While my first take on spiritual practice was through meditation, I found the embodied practice of yoga to be grounding and balancing.
The two work together beautifully, though there are traps in both. A yoga practice unto itself can reinforce the idea that we need to do something to improve our experience. All the techniques can lead us to believe that we can subtly (or not so subtly) manipulate our way to feeling better and better inside. A meditation practice alone, if not connected with the wisdom of the body, can lead to a sense of disengagement and delusion.
I celebrate the blending of yoga and meditation and am thrilled to have shared nine days with fellow teachers exploring how we can offer this to a suffering world.
A fellow teacher who has been teaching meditation for over 30 years said that each time he ends a retreat he feels like he just barely has his fingernails in the iceberg. It's daunting to take on even the idea of teaching meditation.
One thing I tend to repeat, ad nauseum perhaps, is my definition of a teacher. "A teacher is one who shares the radiance of her own discovery.' When we share what we're most lit up about, the result is not so much teaching as a transmission of energy and inspiration.
Jack Kornfield was asked his advice on being the best teacher one can be. His response: "Be Yourself."
Now there's a lifetime inquiry.