by guest author Elissa Jordan
It started with a story about a mouse in a toaster.
Looking back over my notes from the weekend I see the conversation ebb and flow as only appropriate for a weekend focusing on energy.
The movement of stories rode one energetic wave after the next – starting with that mouse in a toaster, and moving to a life in a far away land, and a story about a far away time.
Most of the time though, it was stories of the group. Who we are as people, students and teachers. And how the energy moves through each of us.
The first hurdle we tackled was: what is the energy body?
For at least a few of us the answer was: I don’t know.
In the small group there were varying degrees of comfort with the idea of an energy body. At one end were the people who fully believed and at the other end were those with a lot of questions. And a lot of doubt.
In the West we’re raised to disregard those things we can’t explain. Even still, admitting your doubts in a group of yoga teachers is a tricky thing.
And as we probed these areas of doubt we discussed the difference between knowledge and wisdom.
Knowledge is rational knowing – the sky is blue, the sun is hot – while wisdom is non-rational knowing, like a connection to something greater than yourself. And understanding energy is a non-rational knowing. Blindly trusting this thing we can’t explain, but which we know to be true, is a challenging leap. Finding ways to talk about it is an even greater challenge.
How do you intelligently articulate a feeling in your gut that tells you the answers to questions you didn’t ask?
As we moved through the group describing what we understood our experiences with the energy body to be, different members talked about seeing, feeling or hearing the subtleties of the flow of energy. How the energy body presents itself can be slightly different for each of us.
And it was the ability to stay open that allowed us to experiment with these ideas through the course of the weekend.
After all, knowledge is baggage: the baggage of meeting expectation, of being correct. If we rely solely on knowledge then we’re closing the door on being able to intuitively respond to a situation.
What started as a slow trickle quickly turned into a rushing current of chatter about experiences and thoughts. And as these stories started to appear, what came with them were words like ‘bad’ and ‘wrong’.
At one point someone was talking about their ‘bad’ knee and Jenifer stopped them to ask;
“What did your knee do? Did it rob a bank?”.
And the point was made, the knee isn’t bad. There may be a weakness or a strength to the body. Either a weakness or a strength is okay as you can work with it.
People spend so much time in self-judgement that quantifies our experiences of energy. Terms like ‘bad energy’ are unnecessary judgements. Likewise the things we say to ourselves – about ourselves or others – and how we say them carry their own unnecessary and often incorrect judgements.
What is the energy of the practice then? Consider the energetically charged Warrior family. Virabhadrasana I, II, III – what is the energy behind each pose?
As we talked about in the training, Virabadrasana can be related to the Bhagavad Gita, where there’s a conversation between Lord Krishna and the Pandava prince Arjuna taking place in the middle of a battlefield. Arjuna is conflicted about having to fight his own cousins.
Through Warrior I, Arjuna offers himself to do Krishna’s bidding, not his own. He is honour bound to do his duty and he’s holding the line. This is a surrender to his higher self.
Opening up and extending out to Warrior II and Arjuna is ready to do what is necessary to banish the ego in thought and action.
Reaching forward to Warrior III, the fullest expression of the warrior, here Arjuna is engaged and ready to devour the deamons that arise through ego.
What do you feel when you practice the Warrior poses? Can you feel the confidence and strength that comes when practiced with an open heart?
How does the energy move through you? When next on your mat, open yourself to feeling what is being expressed through your practice. It may be clouded in doubt and that’s okay, but stay open to the wisdom that lies in those things you don’t understand.
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Are you feeling the training? Jenifer is offering the same course in Wellington early 2012, get in touch, check out her website www.healium.co.nz, email her, email@example.com or drop by the studio at 276 Lambton Quay.