28 March 2008

March 31st , global action day for Tibet

Please read my sister blog Ramblings of an Ageless Hippie Chick for information on the Global Action Day for Tibet.

Please sign the petition, watch the video, support Tibet.


24 March 2008

buddhist dog

(photo credit: The Buddhist Channel)

Conan, the Buddhist dog, is just too sweet not to write about.

"Buddhists clasp their palms together to pray for enlightenment, but Conan, a chihuahua, appears to have more worldly motivations.

The dog has become a popular attraction at a Japanese temple after learning to imitate the worshippers around him.

"Conan started to pose in prayer like us whenever he wanted treats," said Joei Yoshikuni, a priest at Jigenin temple on the southern island of Okinawa.

"Clasping hands is a basic action of Buddhist prayer to show appreciation. He may be showing his thanks for treats and walks," he said."

Conan is such the little cutie!

21 March 2008

friday fusion: Shakti

Some of you may know John McLaughlin and the Mahavishnu Orchestra. I saw the original Mahavishnu Orchestra when I was in high school in the 1970s and I was mesmerized. Their albums "Birds of Fire" and "Inner Mounting Flame" are jazz fusion classics and the albums contain poems by Sri Chinmoy. Carlos Santana was also a devotee of Sri Chinmoy.

After Mahavishnu, John McLaughlin went on to form the band Shakti. Shakti musician Zakir Hussain is the Ravi Shankar of the tablas in Hindustani music and of course, John McLaughlin is one of the best guitarists in the world. Many of you know Hindustani music only through Ravi Shankar, but Indian music (and Hindustani is only one small part of it) is as varied as India herself.

I know that many yoga people love the popular "yoga" musicians like Jai Uttal, Prem Joshua, and Girish, but if it wasn't for groundbreakers like John McLaughlin and Shakti, fusing the sounds of Hindustani music with McLaughlin's guitar, I don't believe Jai Uttal, et. al. would be around now. Shakti was the real deal.

16 March 2008

emails from a Buddhist nun

I sponsor a Buddhist nun named Tenzin Pema who lives at the Jamyang Choling Institute in Dharamsala, India. in the last two days I've received emails regarding the protests in Tibet.

Her first email read: " sure you know what is happening in Tibet at the very difficult time. It is very worrying and saddened to see that many Tibetan already killed and many imprisoned.

May peace and happiness become reality in Tibet and world very soon. Monks nuns and general public gathering at the Temple to do prayer and also doing peace march here in Dharamsala same as everywhere.

Metta and peace..."

The second email contained this attachment, a BBC interview with the Dalai Lama. nothing has been edited...

"Dalai Lama 'helpless' amid protests

As Tibetans make their most forceful demands for independence in years, their spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, in exile in Dharamsala, India, outlines his concerns to the BBC's Chris Morris.

The Dalai Lama says he does not control the Tibetan people

"Am I early?" asked the Dalai Lama, as he ambled into the room. He sat down and coughed, and thanked us for coming.

"This is a critical time for us," he said, as he waited for the interview to begin.

He compared it to 1959, an iconic date for many Tibetans, when a huge uprising against Chinese rule was suppressed, and the Dalai Lama himself was forced to flee into exile on horseback.

Eventually, he made his home here, in the foothills of the Indian Himalayas, in this small town which is known to some as Little Lhasa.

It is awash with thousands of Tibetan activists-in-exile. As unrest in Tibet itself has escalated, there have been daily protests in Dharamsala throughout the week.

Cars waving Tibetan flags weave through the pedestrian traffic, leaflets are pressed into passing hands, and a hunger strike is taking place outside the entrance to the Dalai Lama's temple.

I'm a spokesman for the Tibetan people, not the controller, not the master - Dalai Lama

And when the sun sinks below the mountain range, marchers - chanting Buddhist prayers for the souls of the dead - walk through the streets carrying candles.

"We have to do our bit," said one of the marchers, who gave his name as Tenzin. "We have to support those who are struggling in Tibet itself, in our homeland."

Emerging patience

But beyond the slogans there is not much that most people here can do except watch and wait, as accurate information about what is happening in Tibet becomes harder to find.

Many of the activists take a more radical line than the Dalai Lama himself. For years now he has campaigned for genuine autonomy in Tibet, not for independence. But a new generation seems increasingly impatient with nuanced diplomacy.

Dharamsala is now home to many Buddhist nuns and monks

"I've already received a request from Tibet," he said. "Don't ask for the demonstrations to stop."

"I'm a spokesman for the Tibetan people, not the controller, not the master. It's a peoples' movement, so it's up to them. Whatever they do, I have to act accordingly."

Tibet's spiritual leader is also appealing to the Chinese authorities. "Stability is important" is his message - but it must come from the heart, not simply from the use of physical force.

There is not much sign, though, that Beijing is listening.

"Of course I feel helpless," the Dalai Lama admitted. He is particularly worried about the deadline given by China, for protestors to surrender by midnight on Sunday night or face the consequences.

But the one thing Tibet's spiritual leader does have - here and around the world - is moral authority.

That is why President Bush met him in Washington recently, where the Dalai Lama was presented with the Congressional Gold Medal, America's highest civilian honour.

It infuriates China, but it is something that the authorities in Beijing cannot control.

And even if this spate of demonstrations peters out, even if they are successfully suppressed, it seems unlikely that we will have heard the last of the Tibetan issue in this Olympic year."

The photo below was taken today (Sunday) by my gal pal in Nepal, Caroline aka Sirensongs.

Go to her blog to read her first-hand account of the attacks on Buddhist monks by Chinese thugs in Nepal...."This afternoon I witnessed a Tibetan monk beaten, along with two other protestors, during a nonviolent anti-China protest at Boudha Stupa."

Also see my post on my sister blog that contains two posts from Vanessa on boycotting the Olympics.

Ironically this week the US saw fit to remove China from its list of human rights abusers.

Are you going to stay silent?

every picture tells a story: saving Tibet

(Tibetan protesters in exile held a candlelight vigil as part of an anti-China demonstration at Boudha in Kathmandu on Friday.
Photo: Prakash Mathema/Agence France-Presse -- Getty Images)

(photos nos. 1, 2, 4, and 5 originally uploaded by The Buddhist Blog)

If you don't know what is happening in Tibet, please visit my sister blog.

every picture tells a story.

14 March 2008

Gandhi: the movie

For those of you who loved the movie Gandhi -- or those of you who have never seen it -- there is a 25th anniversary special edition DVD. it came out in 2007 but I just found out about it! the 2-disc set has interviews about filming in India, about finding the right actors, along with archival footage, plus the picture and sound have been digitally remastered.

from the reviewing website:

Richard Attenborough’s Gandhi, a labor of love that took nearly 20 years to make it to the screen, is one of the last true epics that spans decades yet keeps you tied to an emotional, human anchor. That anchor would be Gandhi himself, Mohandas Gandhi or Mahatma “Great soul” Gandhi as he was referred to later on in his life by the people of India.

Winner of eight Academy Awards including Best Picture (1982), Best Director (Attenborough) and Best Actor (Ben Kingsley as Gandhi), Gandhi has been released for a second time on DVD, this time however as a glorious 2 disc set celebrating its 25th anniversary that has to be one of the best DVDs released in 2007.

The film chronicles the leader of the nonviolent resistance movement against British colonial rule in India during the first half of the 20th century. It opens with an appropriate statement from Attenborough stating, “No man’s life can be encompassed in one telling…least of all Gandhi’s….”

I have never been to north India where Gandhi spent most of his life. but what many people don't know is that he also spent time in Tamil Nadu, the state that I travel to in India. I have been to Madurai twice, the last time just this past January, and I always make time for the Gandhi Museum. It is a place where I find peace in the riotous city of Madurai. the exhibits tell the story of Gandhi's life in south India and how important Tamil Nadu was in the India's struggle for independence. the last exhibit is in a room that is painted black -- it is a glass case that contains the dhoti that Gandhi was wearing when he was assassinated and it still contains his blood stains.

I can not describe how much I love spending time at the museum, just walking around the grounds, visiting the bookstore, buying chai from the chai seller, who can't speak English but always has a big smile for me when he gives me free pictures of Gandhi.

During my 2006 trip, on the train ride back to Chennai from Rameswaram (a 17 hour ride), my compartment mate was a businessman who started a conversation with me when he saw me reading Gandhi's autobiography that I had bought in Madurai. It was the first time that I heard about how some Indians hate Gandhi. It really surprised me. I asked him why and he said that many Indians blame Gandhi for the Partition: "The partition of India left both India and Pakistan devastated. The process of partition had claimed many lives in the riots. Many others were raped and looted. Women, especially, were used as instruments of power by the Hindus and the Muslims; "ghost trains" full of severed breasts of women would arrive in each of the newly-born countries from across the borders."

The Partition is still a very sensitive subject for many Indians. my compartment mate told me that many Indians hate Gandhi the same way that many Americans hate George Bush. those of us who know how much Martin Luther King, Jr. admired Gandhi will find this sentiment shocking.

some photos of the Gandhi Museum, Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India....

10 March 2008

selling out

I found this video via The Worst Horse which is all about pop- sub- and dharma-culture.

This video is the "Dharma-Burger/Video of the Moment: Get into a meditative pose. OK, good. Now, stare blankly — at the camera."

from the Horse's mouth: "Usually, the Horse doesn’t comment too much on the state of the yoga/pop-culture collision. We’ve got our hands full just keeping track of all the Buddhism, quasi-Buddhism, and meditation that’s currently in the mix. But we have made a couple of exceptions, and this video made by “Swami J” is the latest."

We all know that in advertising "sex sells", but nowadays "yoga sells". add a few skinny "yoginis" -- god forbid that any woman over size 2 would want some nice yoga clothes -- and we have a winning combination for the American consumer.

can someone tell these ladies to eat a sandwich now and then?

09 March 2008

a reader's view

I get emails from people who comment on my posts, and the one below is from a friend in the yoga-rich San Francisco area who gave me permission to quote her (the emphasis is added.)

it does this old gal's heart good to know that people read my yoga musings and are inspired to respond with such depth, and that I am not the lone voice in this modern yoga wilderness. plus she loves YogaDawg...:)

food for thought, talk amongst yourselves.....


"I am with you totally. I tell myself its just the Kali Yuga, our current era, which is known for shit being passed out as the truth. Now of course, my own beloved Siddha Yoga is the truth for me, but clearly born out of traditional Indian style yoga. When you mentioned the teacher in Chennai telling you its all about the relationship between teacher and student: that is my understanding of yoga as well.

So here I am, a physically "plus" sized gal, practicing Siddha Yoga for 25+ years. Love it when the physical, young folks taking their first yoga classes tell me how buff and happy they are now since taking ashtanga yoga classes. I tell them I also do yoga, practiced for all those years, lived in an ashram in India....and just look at their crazed reaction. Then I add that yoga, as practiced in India, is not just about how your body looks, but HOW YOU LIVE YOUR LIFE: its all about love, baby. Not hearts and flowers love. The love you feel before you take actions. And that DOES NOT always mean to speak in a soft, spiritual voice, or to never feel anger, or to remove yourself from the world and live in a cave.

I liked your bit about the "price of yoga". People will pay more to have their dog shit picked up than shuck out some do-re-me for individual instruction. Dakshina -- it's one of the practices of Siddha Yoga, I'm happy to say. Pay nothing, get nothing. Personal transformation? What's that???

Once you get the taste of real homestyle cook'n, a MacDonald's salad will never be the same. Its very difficult to articulate this concept to people coming to you to get their butts tight. How can I tell them about the personal yoga lessons was with my guru: one of the most transformative things that ever happened to me was when she hit me on the head with a marble. another time she hit me over the head with a wand of peacock feathers. What happened inside of me changed my headspace, my approach to life, everything, all in one small, silent and seemingly insignificant moment. Changed me for life. Saw life differently, and I must say, for the better, from then on.

IMHO, you've been turned onto homestyle cooking by your teachers in Chennai. once that door is open, you can't go back. and you want your students to see it too: you are a teacher, you care for your students, you have integrity, and you don't want them to settle for less. but they're not asking for what you have to give. frustrating, isn't it!

Got to say, I just love that Yogadawg's perspective. here's someone, online, who is putting it out there, confronting the US mass consumption style ideas about yoga. he's a real "satsang" type. in Siddha Yoga, one of the practices, just like in Buddhist tradition, is to "keep the company (of others) who are seeking the truth".

I do hope you'll be able to do a 6 month stay in Chennai, being a student at the place you've been going to. now that "yoga" has become just a work-out for the trendy, with so many looking for their physical me, you have found a real gem in Chennai. Once you experience the true power of Homestyle Yoga, there is only one way to go: return and learn more."

05 March 2008

get real

I am recovering from a vicious upper respiratory infection and/or flu that I had for two weeks. I went to a yoga class today and we we were in Bow and I had to come down after only a few breaths because I still felt weak. I berated myself and then I told myself, get real. get real because what do I have to prove? I have/had a nasty infection that kicked my ass exactly one month after I had a vicious case of salmonella food poisoning that I brought back from India that also kicked my ass. My reality is that I will be 54 this year and maybe, just maybe, it takes me longer to recover from things than it did at 44 or 34 or 24. get real. be authentic.

If you are in your 40s or 50s or 60s, why are you still doing a yoga practice as if you were in your 20s? get real. be authentic.

"I am of the nature to grow old. There is no way to escape growing old.

I am of the nature to have ill health. There is no way to escape ill health."

After the class a yoga teacher friend and I went to lunch and we kvetched about what else, problematic yoga students. teachers talk about students as much as yoga students talk about teachers.

My friend told me about an older student whom she told not to return to her group class because it was not the right type of class for him, he had too many health issues. she told me his whole litany of physical ailments the worst of which was uncontrolled high blood pressure that gave him exploding ocular headaches. she wanted to teach a safe class but he was not honest about himself when she asked if anyone had any health issues. he wanted to do everything, even poses that were contraindicated for his conditions. All I said was, "ego."

Ego. we're conditioned to bully our way through a class, whether it's a yoga class or anything else. no pain, no gain. even if it kills us.

My friend said just because people do yoga does not mean people can or should do every pose, the same way that because you can run three miles does not mean you should run a marathon. she felt that students truly do not understand this. she said that students think because we are yoga teachers we should be able to not only do every pose, but teach them every pose in any class they choose to attend, no matter what their physical limitations. she mused that maybe our calling as instructors is to help students realize that it is the nature of the body to grow old.

yes, we are dharma teachers on the nature of reality which is impermanence! I'm sorry, what did you only came to this class because you read that Jennifer Aniston lost weight doing yoga?

If you are in your 40s or 50s or 60s, why are you still doing a yoga practice as if you were in your 20s? get real. be authentic.

"I am of the nature to grow old. There is no way to escape growing old.

I am of the nature to have ill health. There is no way to escape ill health."

I'm taking a workshop with Lilias Folan next month. for those of you who don't know Lilias (or who think yoga was invented by Madonna), Lilias introduced millions of Americans to yoga in 1972 with her television show "Lilias! Yoga and You."

Her website says that "Lilias has found that her practice and her teaching have naturally and even necessarily changed over time [emphasis added] as she has physically transformed into having what she describes as her current middle-aged body. Lilias draws on her years of experience, along with living in a changing body. In her new book she describes how to adapt yoga for a body growing older."

The workshop is advertised as "moving at an enjoyable pace we will prepare the body with interesting warm ups, salutation to the hips and more from her highly acclaimed book Lilias! Yoga Gets Better With Age".

There is a video on her website called "It's Not Easy Being Real." She says that as yogis, we want to be authentic, and that our challenge is to be real and to be an authentic human being as we age. she says the realness is that we age and if there's a glitch such as illness or maybe we don't move like we once did, that we should accept it with the wisdom that we are not 21. she says she does not want to be 21 again but she wants to be a juicy 81 year old. hallelujah.

I don't care anymore about learning a fancy arm balance. I choose to be a rasa devi.

If you are in your 40s or 50s or 60s, why are you still doing a yoga practice as if you were in your 20s? get real. be authentic.

"I am of the nature to grow old. There is no way to escape growing old.

I am of the nature to have ill health. There is no way to escape ill health."

Stephen Cope is one of the teachers in my Mindfulness Yoga and Meditation training in California and I think he's brilliant. I was googling some of his articles and I came across this video where he talks about how his practice has changed as he has gotten older. he says that he does not want to do the same practice now as he did when he was younger, that at 56 his practice is much more internal and meditative. in the video he advises how to adapt your yoga practice as you age.

yes, yogins, you are aging. every day. little by little. even those of you who can kick up into that perfect handstand will one day feel that crunchiness, that grinding of an arthritic shoulder and it will be your wake up call to your own impermanence. and it will scare the hell out of you because deep down it is your own fear of death. in this Botoxed, liposucked culture, many of us refuse to accept this, even yogis.

If you are in your 40s or 50s or 60s, why are you still doing a yoga practice as if you were in your 20s? get real. be authentic.

"I am of the nature to grow old. There is no way to escape growing old.

I am of the nature to have ill health. There is no way to escape ill health."

In May, my teacher from Chennai, India, Srivatsa Ramaswami, is coming to do a training. he wrote the book Yoga for the Three Stages of Life. Ramaswami says that as we get older our practice SHOULD change, that the older we get our practice should become more meditative. this is the Krishnamacharya way.

If you are in your 40s or 50s or 60s, why are you still doing a yoga practice as if you were in your 20s? get real. be authentic.

"I am of the nature to grow old. There is no way to escape growing old.

I am of the nature to have ill health. There is no way to escape ill health."

I find that the older I get, the more meditative I become, the slower I want to move, the deeper I want to go, the more I want to feel. I want to feel the juiciness of this seasoned body. I am not afraid to feel the aches and pains that crop up because I want to face them in order to move beyond them. I do not want to resist my pain because pain that is not resisted begins to soften. no matter how painful it is, it is a relief to feel.

Pain is not suffering. Stephen Cope writes that suffering -- duhkha -- is the resistance to that pain. duhkha is the pain of pain. as a wise ass buddhist once said, life is pain but suffering is optional.


The Five Remembrances
(as offered by Thich Nhat Hanh in The Plum Village Chanting Book)

I am of the nature to grow old. There is no way to escape growing old.

I am of the nature to have ill health. There is no way to escape ill health.

I am of the nature to die. There is no way to escape death.

All that is dear to me and everyone I love are of the nature to change. There is no way to escape being separated from them.

My actions are my only true belongings. I cannot escape the consequences of my actions. My actions are the ground upon which I stand.

Never the spirit was born
The spirit shall cease to be never
Never was time it was not
End and beginning are dreams
Birthless and deathless and changeless
Abideth the spirit forever
Death does not touch it at all.
---The Bhagavad Gita

What is never born can never die.

03 March 2008

being a good yoga student

"What you want
(oo) Baby, I got
(oo) What you need
(oo) Do you know I got it?
(oo) All I'm askin'
(oo) Is for a little respect when you come home (just a little bit)
Hey baby (just a little bit) when you get home
(just a little bit) mister (just a little bit)

Find out what it means to me

This post is inspired by an incident that happened to me yesterday -- so be warned, this may turn into a rant.

One of the differences I've found (and there are many) between yoga in India and yoga here is that yoga teachers in India are respected. When I'm in India and someone asks what I do and I tell them that I teach yoga, there is a big difference in the reaction compared to someone asking the same question here. I don't expect anyone to bow down and touch my feet, but here I might as well tell someone that I teach a spinning class. or else someone will say, "I took pilates once." Say what?!?

Now I know that most of you will say "I like my teacher! She/He is a nice person!"; "She/he is a great teacher!"; "I love taking her/his classes!", and that's fine. But how many of you RESPECT your teacher as your TEACHER, A MENTOR - and dare I say it to western readers - a GURU, and not just someone who you try to mimic physically 90 minutes a week? My teacher from India will be here for a training in May and I would have no hesitation whatsoever bowing to touch his feet as one would to any revered teacher in India.

I was teaching my usual yin class yesterday morning and two young women came in late. I had never seen them before and as I learned later from the studio owner, they had never been to the studio before. They walked into class about 10 minutes late as I was leading the class in their first breath awareness practice so I was not about to stop, ask them to sign a waiver, and get money from them. They never said hello or acknowledged me whatsoever when they came in, not even when I brought them props. To make a long story short, they walked out during the middle of my class without paying and without saying a word. I walked out into the lobby a few minutes after they left, but they were already gone.

What angers me is not the fact that they stole from the studio owner and from me, but they obviously had no respect for yoga or for the other students.

A friend of mine who is also a yoga teacher teaches at a corporate fitness center. She doesn't teach a "power yoga" class as one might expect in that situation. The other day she told me that she was leading the class in awareness, asking them to just let go of whatever brought them there today, let go of the bad weather, the bad drive, etc. She said that during class she could tell that one woman was not in her body, she was antsy and nervous. My friend went over to to ask her if she was OK. Apparently the woman did not like the way my friend was teaching the class, so she told her in no uncertain terms, "THIS IS A FITNESS CLASS! F-I-T-N-E-S-S!" and yes, the woman actually spelled it.

I wonder if the woman knows how to spell R-E-S-P-E-C-T....


an article by Mehtab, Yoga Yoga's Founder
(from Midwest Yoga Teachers Network Newsletter)

I was teaching a yoga class and the woman in the back of the room was doing yoga. Only it wasn't the type of yoga I was teaching or that the rest of the class was doing.

I watched fascinated as she moved through an elaborate series of seemingly invented postures, oblivious to the rest of the class. She did relax at the end with everyone else, however.

I asked her afterwards what she was doing.

"Oh, I am just listening to my body and doing whatever it tells me to do," she said.

"So why do you want to come to this class?," I ask.

"You're a great teacher," she said. I started to humbly thank her. "So your classes are crowded and I can hide in the back and do my own practice."

As yoga students, we are always looking for a great teacher, someone who can inspire us, teach us, and take us to the next level. But the search for a great yoga teacher must start within us. We need to become a great student first.

Here are the guidelines to become a great yoga student:

Realize everyone has something to teach you.

Yoga students and sometimes yoga teachers make the mistake in thinking that teaching yoga is about winning a popularity contest. Students compare notes in the studio lobby, "Oh, if you like Teacher A, you will really like Teacher B. I think Teacher C is too easy. Teacher D really works you out. But now I am at the point where I only want to go to classes taught by Teacher Z."

I have seen students even show up to take a class and then walk out when they discover their "favorite" teacher is not there that day. They miss the point. Yoga is not teacher-centric, It is practice-centric.

Every teacher has something to teach you - and often it is not what you think it should be. I remember going to a yoga class years ago with my wife and telling her afterwards: "The teacher drove me crazy with his fake-sounding, super-mellow voice." "Yeah," she said. "He reminded me a lot of you." Enough said.

Respect the teacher within the teacher.

In the yogic tradition for hundreds of years, the teacher was the most respected person in your life - more than your parents or any figure of authority. We do not understand that in the West because we often mistake the role of the teacher with the personality of the teacher. The role of the teacher is someone who shares the teachings. The teachings are the important thing - not the personality of the individual teacher.

When you show respect to a teacher, you show respect for all teachers, for the teachings of yoga, and ultimately for yourself. If you want to rebel and be disrespectful, please park in a no-parking zone, talk back to your boss, or engage in your favorite self-indulgent destructive behavior - but always respect the teacher within the teacher. It is the only way you can learn what yoga is really about.

Understand a teacher is 90% the projection of the student.

Whatever you think about your teacher is almost all about what you think about yourself and has very little to do with the teacher. A teacher is a mirror that reflects the student. This is the only way we can learn about ourselves - through self-reflection. I remember a comment card we got from one student about a teacher: "He doesn't even look like a yogi. He's too fat. He thinks he is better than everybody else, sitting in front of us and making his little jokes." For this person, appearances are everything and any value the teacher could have offered is lost in a projection of a student's own insecurity.

On the other hand, students can have positive projective fantasies about their teachers that are also more about their own needs than about the teachers themselves. I remember one woman going up to a nationally known teacher at the end of a workshop and telling him: "During our last meditation, I opened my eyes and I saw you in the most beautiful and blissful state. Your heart center was really, really open. What were you meditating on?" He replied: "Cheese and macaroni. That is what I am having for supper tonight."

Examine the reactions and thoughts you have about your teacher. They will tell you a lot about your current state of mind, fears, and lessons you need to learn.

When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.

This is an old saying in almost all practices and spiritual traditions. What it means is that you often get the teacher you deserve or, more politely, the teacher you are capable of encountering at the level of your current development. As you advance in your self-understanding, your capacity to recognize and attract the teacher you need to reach the next level also increases. Why should a master teacher waste time with you if you are not willing to master yourself?

Students make the mistake believing that if they can only find an advanced teacher, they will advance. Instead you need to do the work with the teacher right there in front of you. Then you will earn the right to meet your next Teacher.

One simple test is this: Are you ready to meet your teacher when they do arrive to teach you? Are you fully present, sitting in class and ready to learn? Or do you come in after the teacher has arrived and class has begun? We all have an emergency once or twice a year that may cause us to be late to yoga class, but think of the energetic message you are sending by showing up after the teacher has arrived. Who is waiting on whom to appear?

Know that the only purpose of having a teacher outside yourself is to realize the teacher within yourself.

A great student realizes that they are the teacher as well as the student. Ultimately your yoga practice must become self-directed -- but not in the same way as the person who does his or her own poses at the back of the class. Through your yoga practice, you will increase you awareness, awaken your intuition, and learn to trust that guiding spirit that is present in all human beings. This awakening will direct you. Others will continue to teach you, but you will realize that is only through your own self-study, discipline, and surrender to grace that will you understand the purpose of yoga.

When you know that teacher lives within you and within all others, then you will become a great student.

May you have great teachers in your life.
May you teach others by your presence.
May you recognize and honor all teachers.
May you recognize and honor yourself.