Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Yoga Immersions and Conscious Communication

Vanessa and I just finished our 3rd weekend of the Ashland Immersion. I'm happy to be halfway through both Immersions now. It's a very busy time for me, since I'm co-teaching two Immersions simultaneously, plus doing a Level 2 Immersion in addition to my weekly classes. Whoa! I've never taught the Immersions simultaneously like this. It's not my ideal schedule, but it's how it worked out, and there's a lot that I'm appreciating about it. I'm doing all the planning and scheduling for the Arcata Immersion, since it meets first, and we're using that for the Ashland one. It's more efficient for us, plus our students can do make-ups in either group if needed, which has been cool. So what's been interesting is witnessing the similarities and differences between the two groups and teaching experiences. I get to watch how my teaching evolves and improves between the two weekends, and how the different groups respond to the same material. I also enjoy watching the various group dynamics as well as how my co -teachers bring in unique perspectives and insights. I really appreciated how organized and clear Joshua's anatomy session was. I'm now in the midst of teaching my 9th Immersion and it seems there's no end to how much I can learn from these courses. It just keeps getting better!

What I especially enjoyed covering these last 2 weekends was the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, and specifically the yamas and niyamas (social restraints and personal disciplines). I felt great resonance with the topics of ahimsa (non-violence) and satya (truth), as these are very much at the forefront of my mind. I've been looking deeply into my own communication habits and those of our society at large, and have felt surprised to see all the times we mask our feelings, hide the truth, or use subtle forms of aggression (usually in the form of judgments or blaming), in our speech.

So it was fun for me to bring forward a bit of my knowledge about NVC (Non-Violent Communication) and my recent work in coaching and speaking my truth (see last blog) during that Immersion lecture. And I could see that the students were also quite inspired by the discussion. It was super juicy for them as it was so relevant to their daily struggles. And I'm guessing my enthusiasm was pretty contagious too.

For me, paying attention to my speech (vak) is a huge part of my practice (see Sept. 22 blog and April 3). It's where I am bringing so much more svadyaya (mindfulness) now than ever before, and it's what I am finding huge passion about. And I'm loving the fact that my friends and students are really open to learning about it. They are recognizing places where their communication habits are falling short or even inhibiting them from reaching their communication goals, and they're wanting to make positive change. So when appropriate, I offer my knowledge and coach them along. It seems to be helpful for them and I think it's fun!

And I really appreciate when people are willing to coach me too. I thrive on constructive and compassionate feedback, and am always happy to grow and learn, even when it's hard work. I recently had a great email session with a friend who's quite skilled in the language of ownership/truth-telling. She helped me to see where I could step it up even more in fully owning my feelings. She showed me how wanting something "for" somebody else was not taking responsibility for my feelings. It was so satisfying to get clear about what feelings were mine and which were actually projections. I can see this takes much steady practice over a long period of time (abhyasa)!

So this is my yoga: bringing mindfulness, kindness, compassion and truth into my speech in a much deeper and more conscious way. I'm excited to see how it will all unfold over time and who in my community may want to step forward and play with me in this fun game of truth. Is there somebody you'd like to be get more honest with?
Look for NVC workshops and practice groups coming to the Community Yoga Center soon!!

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