The Path To Bodhichitta

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

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Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Friday, March 23, 2007

Missing: A Touch Of Spirituality

I was guiding my class through pranayama when a question popped uninvited into my mind. What makes my class any different from a class in the gym? What makes me any different from a teacher in the gym? Nothing, I realised with a sinking heart. In that instant, I felt that I had lost the very thing that I has once strived to keep alive in my classes - the touch of spirituality. I was slowly becoming commercial. My students sat in peaceful silence, their eyes closed and their bodies moving gently to the rhythm of their breath. I watched them through eyes blinded with despair. By the end of the class, they felt it too. The energy in the studio was like a strange breeze hovering around and they left in a subdued mood. I felt worse than before.

What had happened? No need to think hard, I already knew. My discipline had waned. Plain and simple. I hadn't dedicated enough time to my own practice. How could I grow when I wasn't nurturing myself? Patanjali's Yoga Sutras, Iyengar's Light on Life, Swami Vishnudevananda's Illustrated Book of Yoga...all remained half-read or untouched in my bookshelf.

I felt drained, empty. Like I had nothing more to give, to both myself and my students. And I was scared. Yoga is such an integral part of my life and at the same time it seemed to be slipping out of my grasp. I yearned for the ashram, which felt so far away.

Then after today's class, something guided me to the studio's CD collection and I picked up a satsang collection that was recorded live in the Sivananda ashram. I popped it into my player at home and when the first strains of Jaya Ganesha floated out, it felt like a hand had squeezed my heart. Almost a year has passed since I last sung that chant, yet the words came effortless to my lips as though they had been hiding in my mouth, waiting for a chance to be heard again. Closing my eyes, I could almost believe I was back in that serene room with the spring breeze wrapping its cool fingers around us, the sun spilling on the Himalayan range all around and Mother Ganga whispering right outside the window. My heart filled at the familiar music. It was like coming home.

I need to 'reevaluate' my personal practice, find another teacher and make a trip back to India. I need to immerse my entire self in the mysterious power of that mystical country. There is a possibility that that wish may come true next month. I just heard that I may have to make a short trip to Kerala for work. I couldn't have asked for a better place and am waiting for the good news. Please keep your fingers crossed for me!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know exactly how you feel. Slowly, I found out that the knowledge of yoga comes from our very own practice. Hope you are going to kerala, I think it will help tremendously. :) I am still missing the life in the ashram very much. :)

--Li Peng

6:02 PM  
Blogger starlight said...

Hi Li Peng, lovely to see you here again! Still no news about Kerala but am hoping very very hard for good news this week. :) Thanks so much for your encouragement. How have you been with your practice since getting back from the ashram? And are you teaching anywhere?

6:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are welcome! :)

I have not been able to keep up with a daily asana practice. I tried to do a 2 hour Sivananda asana practice whenever I have time. But I managed to find time to have a daily meditation and some chanting because it helps me to sleep better. Good sleep has always been elusive for me. Do you have things like satsang in your studio? Really miss the group chanting.

Yeah, I'm still teaching at condos and a studio facing LDP highway. I think I prefer to be a student more than a teacher. :)

--Li Peng

5:50 PM  

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