‘Better to be a slow buddy than no buddy at all.’
There were countless gems of wisdom shared for teachers, students, friends alike, by Swami Asokananda on his first visit to Australia in January 2019.
Since the events, so many people have spontaneously contacted me, to relay their gratitude for Asokananda’s teachings and how these have affected them. For many their practice has been reignited; their desire to go deeper initiated; their eyes opened to yoga off the mat; their interest in lineage-based teachings sparked; and so much more!!
There is too much to share in one blog, and so many stories I could tell!! However many have asked for photos and some key lessons, so read on..
Slow, still, deep asana practice
Many of you will know that a traditional Integral Yoga® class does not play music. Music is regarded as a distraction, drawing students externally from what should be an inward focus and experience. So, when Swami put this class on his teaching schedule in New York, I was interested!
Truly it was a sublime, meditative experience of moving slowly, allowing the body to feel supported by the music, with the mind soothed in the present moment.
It was a lesson about how to consciously practice with ‘support’ and welcome ‘noise’ as present moment awareness. I’ve already had requests for this class – interested?!
Yoga Teachers’ workshop
It was a delight to welcome 12 teachers from different traditions, not just Integral Yoga®, on this day. I met so many teachers over the events whose thirst for more than a physical practice was palpable!
We did learn a few new bendy twisty things!
However, a great take home was Swami’s ‘17 ways to keep improving as a Yoga Teacher’. I loved – we teach when we shut up, reminding us about our talk/silence ratio and that we ALL talk too much!
Come to class and see what you notice …
Weekend retreat: Strengthening our resolve to practise – On and off the mat
From suggested Ayurveda practices of scraping our tongues to remove ‘ama’ and improve our digestive fire, to swilling oil for 20 minutes to remove impurities, 20 of us enjoyed a weekend of teachings, key lessons from popular movies, music, laughter and great vegan food.
A tip from the talk on ‘Barriers to Listening’, is what to do with someone we don’t really like! Next time you approach this person, think of one thing that you respect about them, and focus on that as you communicate.
Week retreat: Bhagavad Gita – Finding guidance for the soul in this world
This week was not for the faint hearted! Most of us continued straight from the weekend into the week, morning meditation sittings increased to an hour and 40C days prevailed!
Plenty of insightful lessons from the Gita yogic text – I love this one:
Your job in this life is to paint your masterpiece but be indifferent to the outcome. Then there is no attachment to ego and no new karma is generated in this lifetime. WOW!
Day workshop: Living our Yoga – Balancing the Head, the Heart and the Hand.
Asana, meditation, chanting, teachings, Q&A and of course vegan food, filled this day.
The discussion on learning to deal with our judgemental minds and critical thoughts was revealing! Here’s one take-home for you:
Critical thoughts are poison for your mind and when shared, are poison to others’ minds and the environment.
Meditation evening: Meditation without frustration
It was great to learn from Swami, who selflessly admitted that for the first 2 decades of his meditation practice (and 3 times a day), he took the wrong approach. Trying to stop the thoughts. Ouch!
Asokananda reinforced that we need to set up our practice skilfully so that we’re not waiting for it to end. To make it a game that you enjoy! More on this approach at a workshop at Experience Yoga this year.
And the most amusing Q&A:
Q (Anonymous): How does one become a Swami?
A (Swami): Who asked that???? No one wants to do this, put your hand up….!