Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Healing Through Yoga in Estes Park, Colorado 2009
A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to attend Yoga Journal's Healing Through Yoga Intensive in beautiful Estes Park, CO. My husband and I were already heading out to Colorado for a wedding and when I saw this intensive was the week before I was so psyched and had to go!
More and more often, I have students seeking out my yoga classes because they are suffering from a chronic illness or injury, or recovering from a major life event. While I do not see myself as a Yoga Therapist in the same light as some of the far more qualified individuals practicing Therapeutic Yoga, I do see myself as a healer of sorts. I think, at our best, we are all healers for each other and I spend as much time as possible studying areas such as the yoga sutras, anatomy, Positional Therapy, Cognitive Behavior Therapy, The Bhagavad Gita, asana and pranayama, etc. and with other teachers to gather more information on how we heal ourselves. And, this is how I see my role in the healing process of others: as a facilator assisting the individual in their own healing process.
There were so many amazing presenters at the conference I'm sure I could have chosen anyone and would not have been dissapointed, but for me the whole reason for the journey was to study, even for such a short time, with TKV Desikachar. He rarely leaves his school, Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram in Chennai, India and although I would LOVE to go, I have no idea when I will get over to India. I can tell you meeting him and his beautiful, gracious wife Menaka was the learning experience of a life time. I was able to experience 4 sections with them while I was there: Meditation as Medicine; Pranayama: The Therapeutic Application of Breath; The Power of Sound: The Therapeutic Application of Mantras and Chanting; and the Four Stages of Healing. I will be discussing a little about what I learned in each section in future posts.
What struck me immediately and most about these two great teachers was their humble, gentle nature and their outrageous sense of humor. They were an absolute delight. One of the unexpected learning experiences came from watching their dynamic as a married couple of many, many years. As a newlywed of just under ONE year, this was quite relevant to me. From the moment Mr. Desikachar walked onto the stage, in front of a hushed and reverent audience, he spoke with such love and pride for his beautiful wife. "This is my wife, Menaka, and she is a SUPER chanter; she is going to lead you in a chant now for your healing." Menaka would just smile and shake her head with a little bemused smile at his praise. As the classes went on there were other such moments. "My wife is a SUPER painter, she has done these lovely paintings of Ganesha and Lakshmi, she is SUPER." I don't know, I just couldn't get enough of how much he thought everything she did was SUPER. It was so very sweet. God, let my husband think of me that way 30 years from now!
In return, Menaka was always supportive, always ready to recount a particular story needed to illustrate a certain point, ready to chant, ready to gently offer a little correction (always with that same slightly bemused smile) if Mr. Desikachar's English grammar was a little off. She was so kind and gentle. In a world where it seems almost weekly I learn of a friend who's marriage or relationship has hit the rocks it was good – really, really good, to see how long love and respect can last and to watch the dynamic of constant appreciation, admiration, love and respect that makes that possible in action.
When I think about healing powers and techniques, I know that in my own life there have been no deeper and more soothing healing waters then the depth of unconditional love I receive from my husband.
More to come...