by Kara-Leah Grant
Many years ago, access to true wisdom was extremely limited. Distance and language meant that only those in the immediate vicinity who spoke the same language could access a wise person like Jesus or Buddha or Artistotle.
Even recently, the only way to study with a true yoga teacher, or guru, was to travel to their place of abode.
Family commitments, work commitments, or financial constraints have prevented many people from being able to do this. Instead, we make do with what we’ve got, studying our yoga out of a book, or with local teacher who may have studied with a truly wise teacher.
Yet no matter how wonderful that local yoga teacher is, even if they have studied with the wisest of the wise, their transmission of that understanding is still coloured by the filter of their ego, mind and life experience. Which isn’t always a bad thing, but does add a layer of maya to the teachings.
The internet has changed all that, and it’s really only happened in the last year or two.
Now, via new technology like Skype, it’s possible to access online training courses with a huge variety of teachers – some wise, some becoming wise, some not so wise.
In the last three months or so, it seems I’ve been knocking up against online course after online course. They’re everywhere, they’re everywhere! And to tell the truth, I was a bit dubious. I mean, how can this possibly work?
So I jumped on the bandwagon and signed up for Shiva Rea’s online course Living Yoga Sadhana – Tending the Sacred Fire. Plus I’m doing Marianne Elliott’s 30 Days of Yoga in January. And I’m contemplating committing to the Mohan’s Yoga Sutra course coming next year.
That’s a whole lot of learning and connecting and imbibing without even leaving my kitchen.
Not only can my 11-month-old Samuel be in the room with me, but I can be attending to whatever he needs, and I can still be taking part in the course.
Shiva’s course has been fascinating, on many levels. It focuses on tuning us into the natural rhythms and cycles of the world around us so we can be more in tune with ourselves and the world as a whole. In practical terms, this means honouring the needs of our body based on what time of year it is. Or as Shiva describes it:
For many yoga practitioners in urban centers, it is essential to know how to synch your being to the larger macro rhythms of the Sun and the Moon as a way of creating optimum flow in one’s body and life. This ultimately connects to Energy Activism and how we circulate, support, and express our life-force in harmony with nature.
There’s 150 people from all over the world taking part on the course, and at the designated times, we call on the number given, enter our pin, and join the conference call. I’m using Skype to make the call (to a USA number) and it’s costing me 2 cents a minute. Once connected, we listen to Shiva, or whatever guest teacher she’s hosting, ask questions and get immediate responses, meditate together and even chant together.
Course materials are emailed out prior to every call, and there’s a private facebook group we’re all a part of – meaning we can see each other’s faces and where in the world we’re all located.
Part of our sadhana for this online course is chanting a mantra at sunrise and sunset – quite the challenge when you’re living in New Zealand and heading towards the longest day of the year!
My alarm’s been going off at 5:40am each morning…. although often I’ve been chanting in bed and going straight back to sleep. I’m not quite ready for regular 5:30am risings – yet!
The beauty of this practice is that everyone’s been posting photos of their sunrise or sunset on the facebook page, creating this on-going montage of locations from around the earth.
Lately we’ve had postings from India, Malaysia, Florida, Switzerland, Oregon, Wisconsin, Turkey, Germany… And that means in all these places there are yogis chanting the same mantra at the sunset and the sunrise – likely every hour somewhere on Planet Earth, someone is doing the Agnihotra chant.
Talk about global consciousness at work! And that’s the fantastic thing about the Internet – it’s now possible to gather a group of like-minded individuals from all around the planet and collectively join together to share information and practice at the same time.
Take a moment to visualise that if you will, with a dollop of creative license for effect.
Each person in their location of the earth sits down in front of their computer and logs in. Energetically, focusing their consciousness… imagine it rising up into the atmosphere and connecting with the thread of the other people’s consciousness forming a web that encircles the planet.
In this way, the internet is a practical, discernible way to create and perceive global consciousness, as we each tune into and share the same understandings and insights at the same time.
Most of all, it’s totally accessible to nearly everyone (in a first world country). If you’ve got an internet connection, an email address, and a Skype account – you can sign up for an online course. It’s also low cost. No travel expenses, and often no material costs, mean that online courses offer fantastic value for money. Plus many longer courses offer a monthly payment plan where for as little as $100 a month you can study with extraordinary people.
I suspect that in the next year or two, the power of the ‘net to connect us to each other will help us to make the changes and shifts necessary to thrive on Planet Earth. After all, it’s hard to feel alone, or isolated, or a freak when you can reach out and be part of a group of people scattered right around the globe all focused on conscious living.
In the meantime, as truly excellent courses come to my notice – like Marianne Elliott’s Thirty Days of Yoga course – I’ll be writing about them and giving you a chance to take a concrete step towards experiencing global consciousness without even living your house.
This is one bandwagon we all want to be on!