Honouring our teachers
If you get chance take some time tonight to look at the full moon. If I’ve got my astronomy correct that was the biggest full moon of the year, known as the Buck moon because this is the time that the new antlers start to emerge from the foreheads of bucks. It’s also an auspicious time in yogic tradition, known as Guru Purnima, a time to honour and thank all our teachers who have brought us to this point in life, a theme I’d like to explore a little in this blog.
Throughout our lives we encounter teachers, those who take us a bit further along the path. Some of them are obvious (often the ones from our youth) – parents / guardians and families, school teachers, sports coaches, line managers etc.. They have shared with us their time, love and learning, to help us develop.
Some are less obvious. There is a quotation I love about people coming into our lives for a reason, a season or a lifetime. In my life there have definitely been people who have appeared in my life, been the catalysts for change and then they’ve disappeared from my world. I firmly believe that our paths crossed for a reason. They had something specific to teach me at that time. I am sure that you will be able to think of people like this who have affected your life in some way. Some stay for a while, some just fleetingly, but they have been teachers.
When we think of teachers in the west we tend to automatically think of those who educate us in school or in the workplace, but think deeper than this. Look also to your spiritual teachers and those who have helped you emotionally.
There are some teachers that are even more obscure! Those people who we might have jarred with, but actually when we think about it, they held a mirror up to ourselves and we had something to learn from them. Often if we learn this lesson, our relationship with that person either improves or they just disappear from our lives. I have a friend who is involved in a lot of groups and there was a time that within every group she was involved with there was someone she didn’t gel with, which caused wider ructions and conflict. She is a great seeker, so sought the advice of her teachers, was honest with herself and finally realised that she was the problem! She worked hard to alter her attitude and every group she is now working with is harmonious and joyful. The people she found difficult were actually her greatest teachers.
Guru Purnima is focussed more on our human teachers, but I think we can extend this feeling of gratitude to other things in our lives that bring lessons. If you have a religious faith perhaps take time to thank the teachings and blessings given in the texts you read. I have spent a great deal of time thanking the health challenges I had a few years ago, because I know that there was great learning from the experience. To me it makes more sense to accept and work with whatever challenging situations life throws at me, where I can, which allows me to feel more peaceful, and therefore more in control, rather than constantly fighting it and ignoring the lessons.
The final teacher I would like you to think about honouring, is yourself. We all have great wisdom within. Sometimes we don’t always listen to our intuition, we get out of practice and listen to our minds (ever sat back and thought “why did I do that?” ?!), suppressing our innate wisdom. Sitting silently, practising yoga and thanking ourselves is a great way to allow the inner voice to be more of a shout than a whisper.
Obviously as your Dru Yoga teacher, who of course should be honoured and obeyed at all times 😉 I need you to hear some instructions that I give in you class but often I ask you to move how you feel is right for you. I might give you some options and ideas to help you along, and when we are doing postures you are always given modifications that you can choose. This is part of honouring the wisdom within. How do you want to move? Does this posture feel right for you? Do you need to rest now or are you ok to move onto the next stage? We work slowly and mindfully in yoga so that you have time to ask yourself these questions, rather than just speeding through the practises and blindly following my instructions. In my experience we only ever hurt ourselves in yoga when we do not listen to our inner voice, when the ego encourages to do things we know we shouldn’t, and I think this can be extended to every day life too. The more we honour the wisdom within, the more we will hear it, and the less likely we are to get into difficulty.
Next time you have some quiet time just have a think about all the people and situations that have brought you to where you are now. Give thanks and gratitude, internally or externally. Think about the wisdom of you, honour yourself. Finally, send out a sense of gratitude for all the teachers who are yet to appear in your life. There are always lessons to be learned Ix