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Diaries of a Yoga Student: Week 10

Meditation has always been daunting to me. Sitting still and quiet with no stimuli is such a contrast from what we’re used to, I think we all may get a little fearful when we’re left alone with the mind and body. It was much to my surprise that I openly welcomed it this past Friday night when we were joined by Zen Master, Henry Ryu-un Shukman, from Mountain Cloud Zen Center in New Mexico.

Henry’s calm but excited demeanor energized me the moment he walked in the room and as he spoke I found myself mesmerized by every word he said eagerly hanging on the edge of my mat waiting to learn more of his wisdom.

The Immense Power of Meditation

In our short time with Henry, I learned more about meditation and myself as a meditator than I have throughout my entire time as a yogi. Yoga itself is a moving form of meditation and through it, we are able to pay attention to the here and now without any judgment.

Meditation allows us to witness the magic and treasure in basic human experiences. It allows us to really feel the earth beneath, to smell the scents around, and to hear the beauty of the universe outside and within us. It’s a way to grasp just how infinite we are as connected beings – to others and the universe.

By giving ourselves permission to be a witness of the mind, we find equanimity, clarity, and concentration. We are allowing ourselves to just be, by not grasping to nice experiences or straying away from unpleasant ones. This can be said about a physical yoga practice too, we welcome both easy and difficult postures in order to grow and master our minds.

Finding Ananda

With an address in hand and ideas of grandeur, we headed for Miramar for a teacher training field trip on Sunday. We knew Chai tea and Samosas were involved, so our special guest had to be good.

Good turned to great at the speed of light when we met Manoj Chalam. Manoj Chalam operates a temple in Miramar that is home to the largest collection of deities in America. The moment I walked in, an immense energy passed through my being electrifying me from head to toe. Who were these deities and what did they mean for me?

Over the course of the day, we learned about deities such as Ganesh, Shiva, and Lakshmi and how these archetypes are all within us. We discovered how knowing and working with your archetypes can profoundly shift us, during moments of life transitions, times of feeling stuck, and places where we need extra support. Manoj translated these spiritual practices of Hinduism to have practical relevance in our lives. With a travel-size Ganesh in hand, I left feeling invigorated with my new spiritual practice, eager to dive deeper into the ancient traditions of Hinduism.

This weekend was one of great meaning for my yoga practice. Not only did I have time to hone in on my teaching skills and gain even more confidence, I learned tools for my own personal growth and development through meditation and spiritual practice. These tools are some that can be communicated to my future students to leave a lasting effect on all the powers of yoga.