As I sit here, I try to make sense of this practice of yoga I am deeply involved in. I’m in the middle of my 500hr Dharma Mittra teaching training. With this training, comes a complete vegan diet, a meditation, asana and pranayama daily practice, and many other confusions that I am found lost in. Firstly, I am asking myself why I chose this particular training. What was it about Dharma that drew me in? What about the extremity of it all made sense? I don’t consider myself an extremist at all, but perhaps I was/am looking for something that I still have yet to find.
I first met Dharma over July 4th weekend this past summer at Kripalu. At the time, I was all signed up for my 300hr teacher training at Yoga Works, and was feeling excited to pursue the additional hours, although not too familiar with Yoga Works either. I kind of made that decision on a whim, as well – which is something I work on daily… not acting out on whims! I digress… so I took a weekend long immersion with Sri Dharma himself, and during the course of that weekend was when I decided that I needed to study more with him. I felt a certain sense of foundation as he led the class. As though this was yoga at its core. I’m certain that it was that part of the practice that I found the connection to. The core of yoga. The essence of where it comes from and how we practice it in today’s world. I find that hard to come by these days, as yoga has become much more mainstream than it ever was… and some of the ancient ideas or scriptures have felt diluted to me.
So in this extreme practice, am I here because I didn’t want to pursue a kind of yoga that felt contrived? Well if that’s the case, I got what I asked for… Dharma teaches from his own experience. He teaches what worked for him and allowed him to get to the point where he is now. We are on a special diet, and the poses and breath work we have as “homework” is exactly the process he went through to arrive where he is today. As I continue on with the days, I can’t say I feel 100% connected to the practice. And I think I am hard on myself for it, as I feel I “should” be entirely convinced and I “should” be feeling all different changes happening as I go through it. But what does “should” mean? Does it mean that others are feeling it in the ways that I’m not? How could I know? It’s all speculation, and in the dissection of what it all means, the purpose or knowledge gained from it all is perhaps misconstrued. If I stop trying to make sense of it all, and stop thinking I “should” or “shouldn’t” be doing certain things, maybe it will all fall into place.
Something else I’ve noticed… it’s actually quite a strong feeling I’ve had through this process… because I “HAVE” to complete certain tasks, ex: meditation, asana and breathing exercises, I feel an extreme aversion to it all. I think I’ve been this way since I was a kid, if anyone told me I had to do something, I wanted to do the opposite. I have always had to come to things on my own, and even though I came to this training on my own (no one forced me into it), somewhere along the way, I lost some of the purpose.
I’m trying to go with all, as the days continue. I have found the diet to be somewhat manageable… I am doing the best that I can. And I have found my own way to feel connected to the practice part. Whether that means I do some form of my own version of the breathing, meditation and asana practice, or if I practice exactly according to the books and instruction. I’ve always sort of come from the school of thought that maybe sometimes things just aren’t worth trying to figure out… that not everything has answers, or reasons, and that if you focus too much on the idea, you lose the experience. Sometimes things also look and feel different from a shift in perspective. Maybe once I’ve come through this training, I will understand what it all means.