We are half way through the Teacher training course at Yoga West now and White Tantric yoga was two months ago. I found a pair of wings on the beach the day after the White Tantric Yoga course. It wasn’t a pretty spectacle, but very symbolic some might say. The bird was all eaten away but the wings remained. I can identify with feeling like that sometimes… Middle age… Before this find, I had been finding single feathers on my path continually for months. I heard that finding feathers means angels are telling you they are present. So when I found a whole set of wings I was over the moon! I felt like I was being shown I’d made it through to the next tier of personal development... as I had recently dealt with a lot of difficult issues in my life, strongly focusing on using angelic qualities, which had not been at all easy…
Since writing the White Tantric Yoga blog I can say that it is remarkable to me how different I feel now. I feel a lot more reverence for the work we are doing, more gratitude for the experience I am having. I feel more gentleness towards others with my vision, more willingness to be more open, more courage to fail, to succeed.
It was my first time getting up to teach as a Kundalini Yoga Teacher this last teacher training week-end. I was very nervous beforehand, worried I wouldn’t be any good… I shared this with a few other students who said ‘but you’re an actress and a singer..’ thinking it therefore seemed odd that I would be nervous to perform anything in front of a crowd. I replied ‘Yes but I usually know what I’m doing..’ I wasn’t sure what kind of a Kundalini Yoga teacher I would make. Not knowing if anything was going to dance through me at all, or if I’d be left alone and bare with nothing to share. As I sat there waiting for my turn, I thought of the things I had learned as a singer/songwriter and realized that a lot of it applied now. The importance of understanding that this is not about me, that it’s about the work that can come through me if I humble myself to it, if I let it sing me, like I do my songs. Guru Raj, our teacher, had said some of the same things to us about teaching that I had learned from performing my songs. She said that we need to get over ourselves, and not be so self indulgent by being nervous. That it isn’t about us!
Once in the teacher’s seat I just felt really comfortable and warm. There was an energy that was taking care of everything and doing a decent job through me. Spirit was able to use me. I felt very relieved and grateful for this. Afterwards when I got home, I felt a really strong sense of my Sat Nam, my true identity. A power I can feel disconnected from often. The feedback I received reflected the way the experience had felt for me.
I learned a pretty good lesson from doing Open mic regularly at one particular place where the audience mostly of other artists drink and talk loudly with their friends throughout the night. They don’t pay that much attention to the artists on the stage, unless they are their friends. It’s a tough gig for most artists, however skilled or talented they may be. I’ve seen many a disheartened looking new performer there. But sometimes spirit really speaks beautifully through an artist, and it turns the audiences heads, they listen powerfully and the atmosphere is incredible. I got up on that stage many, many times giving it all with my songs and singing, eventually I got to a point where I didn’t care if most of them ignored me or not. It has been my experience that when I don’t need any validation at all from others that this is when I enter a sweet zone, when spirit can speak, and success with whatever I’m doing is most likely to come.
I understood while I practiced alone on the stage in that room of about 200 people week after week, being largely ignored, that I was strengthening my ability to really connect with the crowd from my heart. – an ability to connect with real authenticity, to be truly genuine and humble to the experience – to just simply be there without a need from the crowd for anything for myself, just a desire to connect my heart with theirs. I did get there in the end, to the magic place, after many performances, and I grateful that I am well received these days.
I appreciate that this experience transfers to teaching Kundalini yoga. Yet I am also aware of the underdeveloped skills sets I have that this course calls for and inspires me to work harder at – which are also transferable with music – the donkey work some call it – work that is arduous because things don’t just happen – it requires focused attention, repeatedly. A lot of self discipline has to be put in for the best gems to be released. I woke at 4.44 this morning to a dream voice telling me to ‘master self discipline’. Now that would be an achievement!
By Maya Lee