May 6, 2012

The Breaking Down of Yoga Systems...Svaha

                          The Breaking Down of Yoga Systems... Svaha

   Soon after each of the 2 yoga lineages I have been affiliated with broke down, I paused, looked in, and asked myself what did I learn from this.... my very own personal revolution...

These 2 letters below where sent to our Swan teachers at Swan River Yoga as heart felt and very truthful understandings from my lens in a deeply associated experience with these teachers that are up for question and exposure. I am very blessed, as being the Events Coordinator at our Mandir, I get to be in very personal close contact with teachers that are quite well known and influential in the yoga and spiritual communities. They have all been in my home or stayed in it with me. I have cooked them all meals and had very personal time with them where I was able to ask them anything.

These 2 letters I sent have not been edited since they were sent just after each of their dismantles. They are in the heat of the experience.

If any of you are affiliated with a system that you question whether it is failing, I hope this can assist in some way, because personally, I am over all the volatile and emotionally divisive blogs out. Again, both of my responses drew me instantly to self reflect and check in with myself... far from judging any teacher, lineage, or yoga as a system.  Enjoy. Om Shantih...

Letter regarding Anusara Yoga and John Friend dated February 23, 2012 to the teachers at Swan River Yoga...

Wonderful swans of all shapes, sizes and diversities...

I have been getting a few questions and emails about some news that is circulating about some interpersonal affairs of Anusara Yoga's leader, John Friend.
If you have no idea what I am talking about, even better. If you do not care, even better yet! You can find out what I am talking about quite easily by visiting the internet. Step back if you do, and use great discernment and openness to the possibilities.

I do feel it my duty, for the care I have, and always have had, for our community, to respond in some sense, without going too personal into his life, which is not my responsibility to reveal. It is not my story and I do not like gossip. There is a good teaching here for us all. Go to the internet to find out what I am talking about, and stay there for about 10 minutes. Be careful. It will get very toxic, very fast, but since Anusara is the largest form of yoga in the world, and we have quite an affiliation with it's style in our community space, it is best for me to address my teachings from the experience, and my response.

John has had his entire personal life questioned and exposed. Since he has chosen to be a public figure, and a yoga leader, which exemplifies ethics and duty, it has become a public duty of his to always choose the highest. What I find to be so important right now, is to make sure that you are choosing the highest. Otherwise, please do not call yourself a yoga teacher. John's life has been fully exposed. I have been sad and disappointed in some of his choices, as have thousands.  I do honor and hold true to my heart truth and commitment, of which he broke many. I also feel that, unless you are ready to be completely exposed, this is not the time to judge or get involved in his story, and the rest of whatever he did or did not do beyond this, I just do not  wish to know about.  I personally have a lot to work on. Be sure right now that you would totally be ok with being completely see through, because that is where we are all headed some day and maybe sooner than later. I have felt right now in my own meditations... be humble or be humbled.  I think I rather be humble, and do my deep inner work. This is the year for that.

What happened to John is very good for us all. It is my belief, in this year, 2012, the need for an outer teacher has now been demolished. Whatever tools you have built up until this time is what you can now use to access your own personal inner teacher. It is so important to not blame your teacher for what you do not know, to need their attention or to never idolize them. It is dangerous and has been for thousands of years. We are here in 2012 to create a new story, which is bold. Most people in the collective consciousness neet to grasp onto an old story for familiarity and are not ready for this. Yoga is quite old. Be bold, all of you, please, and make it new.  For some time, our culture needed teachers because we never listened to other's wisdom. This phase has ended and we must move forward. You are ready. Lets all just hang out and be friends that get to be inspired by one another!

I feel we can now welcome a new cutting edge yoga. It is just amazing that we are here!  Lets all be a part of it! 

If you call someone your teacher or Guru, you have to potential of idolizing them or creating a false icon, or better yet, a false God. Just remember, you helped create the construct if you did this to a person. That is the first of the 10 commandments (I think, but ask Cassie or Keith. They go to church) Thou shalt not worship a false good. There are really good reasons for this I am finding out. Deeper ones that can be imagined.

Remember when I gave a talk on knowing what you mean when you say the word "yoga" now, and really picture the essence of the practice behind it since it is now so mainstream. Well... here we go with "teacher" too. Most do not know what they mean when they say this, and honoring a false God can also mean you have given your Higher Self away to another, or at least a bit of your energy. This empowers them and diminishes you, even if it is super unconcious and unintended, which is in most cases with yogis.

For this reason, I do not want to be called your teacher. I am serious here. I will correct you if you try. Please do not.  It will help me on my next phase of my journey. I am learning and getting deep awakenings right now.  Some of you already do not call me your teacher, and no worries! Good!  I love you all so much. I adore you. We all run this ship together. I learn from you.

I can, if you so choose of course, be someone that has inspired you, guided you, assisted you, befriended you. Please do not call me your teacher any longer. You can say guide or maybe mentor, or what about human friend that is really into this thing that I am into also and want to learn about as an apprentice....

When someone calls you a yoga teacher, it is your duty and crucial that you help guide them to exactly what that means, just as in the case as when they say the word yoga. Some big PS preventions that will sever future choas for you.... Please never claim any students are "yours".  Yikes. Never create a heirarchy. Never let anyone worship you. Never imply that you know more than another, or you will never recognize nor appreciate the teacher within them.  
Wording things just so, and knowing what we mean by these over used and often misused sanskrit  words traveling over from India, is vital, and exciting. This is all so liberating for us all!

So... this is my response to what is getting talked about in the yoga community as a whole about Anusara. Work on yourself and focus on the pure teachings. it is more vital than ever to choose the highest in everything that you do. We are all depending on you to do so, and if you do not, it damages the collective whole as a result because we are all feeling everything more than ever.

Your teacher is now here.
I too no longer have a teacher, as much as I am always grateful to those that exposed me to the teachings. Hello 2012!

It is here!!! Celebrate you bad ass Self! I am actually really happy for us all!

                                                               Back to the Source and moving forward

Letter Regarding Diamond Mountain 3 year Retreat, Geshe MIchael Roach, Lama Christie McNally and Ian to the teachers at Swan River Yoga.Dated May 6, 2012

   Keith (co-owner of Swan River Yoga) and I seem to share an interesting Karma in this grand 2012 year in watching those that we have looked up to and their system's creations  possible dismembering. The uncovering's have affected us both tremendously. I cried for days when I heard about my chosen teacher, John Friend. I cried all day long once hearing about Lama Christie, Ian, and their teacher and Geshe, Geshela Michael Roach 1 week ago, whom I love so much and have spent very intimate time with in the Bahamas and our Mandir. I called Keith crying and crying. Oh, it has been hard.

I know in the past and as a new "teacher" (I am still not using this word and no students are "mine")  I have felt it my duty to abide by a chosen teacher so that my offerings to the community were as authentic as possible since this has been the way yoga has always been passed down. This gave me a strong foundation, self confidence and reference to feel good about what I articulate and convey to others in an orator setting and at that point I felt I needed that, albeit easier to have to find within myself. I wouldn't have known where first to initially go so I am forever grateful. Now I find myself doing it the hardest way, which takes far more work, meditation, and serious experience...finding my own words... I am looking within for them all and it is fucking scary. I feel fully exposed, vulnerable and in new territory because I am not looking outside of myself any longer to find the teachings or mimic anyone of believe anything. On another note...The inner personal revolutions I am making inside me right now have jumped me ahead to the newest freshest landscape I have ever found myself in in my life as a lover of yoga and was just what I needed. I pray you can find that place, each of you. It is realer than real and no amount of uncovering could ever be "false" in this place.

Small short offerings in what it is I am learning and pondering from the Diamond Mountain teachings... We are all as mentors and community leaders 100% responsible for what we say, state and claim in our dharma talks. WE are 100% responsible for all of our creations and the outcome of a student following exactly what you say, and even more so if you are the "leader" at the moment. Are you ok with that? I believe this in my heart to be so and can not emphasize this enough. It strikes deep cords in me, this statement. I keep hearing a new mantra "Michele, you are responsible for your creations." I too must be ok with this. For this reason, I have come back to serious foundational principles in my teachings, claims, and dharma talks. If ever I have slightly guessed something, made some false claim I did not know was wrong or personal interpretation, or exaggerated anything, or quoted a teacher that later I decided I did not agree with the teaching (which has happened through the years as I have shifted), or misquoted them... I have prayed to be offered forgiveness.

 I crave the simple and sparse, which is far more potent and is something I know for sure I can handle, as well as feel comfortable knowing that I could possibly be responsible for anyone in class that day. I am 100% clearly ok with this without a doubt.  I am making a stronger vow more than ever now to to not advance people to quickly, or jump ahead myself. It does not serve me nor them, and it not impressive. I am finding myself more than ever steering away from "advanced" claims or the exotic or extreme. Extreme spiritual practices are quite serious and I have done many, many with extreme and jostling results. They can be completely frightening and you feel totally crazy as you try to acclimate and incorporate them into your life. It has honestly been harder for me to settle more lately and notice how grand stillness & simplicity are... my new goals... I also honor the immense and the dark more than ever and find it to be no joke, the calling on Kali. Everything is not "all good" all the time I can assure you. Darkness is serious and real. That is why the light is so immensely powerful.

These teachers on the Diamond Retreat are entering into serious amounts of extreme darkness to jump their karma ahead at a rate that is so accelerated it is something you nor I can even imagine and I honor their courage even if some of them are not "ready". Spiritual teachers are learning life lessons for us and themselves right now and have in some cosmic blueprint offered to do so. Another yoga system could be next.  All systems will break down. I am forever grateful to them for these serious teachings they have currently provided us in such amplification. I know they were doing what they felt was right at some point. The levels of discernment they must tap into are far beyond my comprehension or capacity at this point. I think this to be the case with any system failing personally. I hope this does not hurt Keith's feelings to say so. She is an angel and she is my sister and I am so sad she is suffering. So so sad. I believe on a personal and community level, we are learning more than ever, in this particular year of 2012, what holds and what is of light, and what must shift and percolate with conflict to reach a more refined level. We all have to do this personally too. I have been in the Cosmic percolator all year along with receiving some of the most amazing opportunities, teachings, company and gifts of my life.

I pray to those in suffering and pain at this time and I know what it feels like down to the bone. I thank you for hearing Keith and I out. We 2 are probably the most invested in the dismantling of these systems we are affiliated and invested in spiritually so perhaps more directly affected. We have been very sad but felt the need to address this current tragedy.
This is my new song...
"Guess what I do not want to do no mo... no mo... I don't want to ever judge anyone for anything  no mo.. no mo." Repeat 108 times per day.
If we do this, and practice compassion, we truly are free. One love.

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