The Path To Bodhichitta

You start where you are, the practice will meet you there.

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Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Friday, October 06, 2006

The Power Of Touch

Streaks of grey clouds across an midnight blue sky carried the first hints of a storm. The sky itself was slowly turning a rusty shade of red and faint growls of thunder were barely audible in the distance. Napkins, clothes and hair stirred gently in the wind. The rain was coming, but not for a while, and until then, it was a perfect night to sip hot cups of masala tea in Sri Neela's and exhange notes on our yoga classes.

Sakun and I are new teachers with a long road ahead of us and a deep passion for the journey we're on. We have great students, who teach us as much as we teach them. And because of our different teaching styles, we have each other as teachers too.

Sakun is an intuitive teacher. She senses her class' energy and modifies her sequence to energise, ground or relax her students. I am a practical teacher. I sense my class' physical abilites and modify my sequence to build strength, flexibility and stability. However, both of us share the same yoga philosophy - that the joy of yoga goes beyond a perfect headstand. We have learnt a lot from each other over the past months, but what she said just before the fat drops of rain fell, stuck in my mind like a jammed doorknob.

I wondered aloud whether I was connecting with my students. She rested her chin on her palm and studied me thoughtfully.

"Do you touch all your students?" she asked.

"When I need to adjust them, yes," I replied.

"But do you touch all of them?" she persisted. "Even those who don't really need adjusting."

"What do you mean?"

"When you adjust a student, it shows that you have noticed them. That you care. It doesn't matter whether they're doing the pose perfectly or not. And it doesn't matter what the adjustment is. As long as you touch them, you're connecting with them."

It was true, I realised. I have always loved being adjusted in class. Even if Parveen just lifted my chin up an inch, that would be enough. Listening to Sakun, I understood that I was happy not only for his guidance, but also for the simple fact that he saw me and acknowledged my presence in his class.

Last week, I made sure I touched each student as least once in all my three classes. There were no lightening bolts of connection, but I could feel their bodies softening under my hand and I daresay they looked just a little more relaxed when they walked out of class.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so proud of you. You’ve come a long way. Just keep reaching for the stars and you’ll get to a place where you’ll be proud of yourself to.

- S the Healer

11:03 PM  
Blogger starlight said...

only because your light has shown the way. thank you from the bottom of my yoga bag :)

4:58 AM  
Blogger Rafleesia said...

It's true, I once attended classes by a foreign teacher who came highly recommended. I fought through traffic jams at rush hour to get to the other side of town and paid RM35 for his class. I did this twice and he never once physically touched me even though I had heard that he was a master of adjustments. I came away with nothing new and may as well have been been taught by Shiva Rea on DVD. Yes, touch and connection is acknowledgement indeed.

6:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey I got Paranie to read your blog and this is what he said in an e-mail to me:

Steph is a great writer. Her words flow like water.

7:22 AM  
Blogger starlight said...

candice - now that you're also enlightened, you must use this new knowledge when i start climbing with you next month. keep patting me on the back no matter how high i climb!

my healer friend - paranie is so sweet! please thank him for his kind words.

9:31 AM  

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