Welcome! We are all in the same boat!
Who is your Guru? What does the actual concept of guru mean to you? What defines a guru? Is it possible to have many gurus instead of just one? Who is the one we supposed to follow in this world? Yourself? Someone highly qualified other? A charismatic leader with all the looks, the tassels, magical artefacts, feathers and the answers to any given question?
If I have to define it, in my world a guru is no more, no less than a friend. Someone who opens the door, someone who is there to point towards the path that I could possibly walk, someone who honestly wants what’s best for me and helps me to get there. I think we should demystify a bit the actual meaning of a word guru. As I was living in Bali, I found out to my delight that in Indonesian language the word guru, simply means a teacher. Not only some highly evolved, ascetic, austere, possibly celibate figure sitting on a top of a mountain or deep in a cave, but just any teacher!
The most important aspect about this I learned from one of my gurus, Mark Whitwell. He summoned it beautifully something along these lines - A guru is never a social nor religious or any other status for a teacher to have. GURU is a FUNCTION that is dissolving once the student becomes self empowered in their practice. We should respect the vast container of wisdom and experience of the ones that were there before us, but we are all in the same boat! We all share the same condition called life! I found it such a revolutionary idea to be in a same boat with my teachers and students, rowing together to the same direction. A shared mission - Wow.
As a yoga teacher, to the best of my abilities, I want to help my students to be empowered to have their OWN practice. A practice that serves them, a practice they can do when ever and where ever they might be. A practice they are motivated to do every day, actually, naturally, non-obsessively in a manner that is respecting their individual bodies and its lacks and capabilities. A practice that brings them lovingly back into themselves as they are right now - on this very inhalation or exhalation. A practice that brings them into intimate connection with life itself as it arises any given moment. A practice that is making them feel good about themselves. A practice that most of the times is not a burden but a joy.
Having your own practice doesn't mean you never will go to yoga classes anymore or that you're ready and done. You can and you should! You still can attend classes, workshops and trainings to broaden your horizons, learn more, enjoy the movement, feel inspired or even get the sweat you possibly want as an addition to your daily Sadhana (your own practice), which can even be as short as 10 minutes each morning. But the Sadhana is absolutely yours, it is your devotion to yourself and your loved ones around you - the life itself.
I feel to share here a special feedback I got from one of my lovely students in Finland after one Heart of Yoga -workshop I facilitated. As a part of the workshop I gave the students a general practice sheet, that everyone could do every morning. I wrote it down in stick figures (my favourite thing to do!) and challenged my students to do this simple practice for 40 days just to see what happens. Later on this student, Marjut, wrote to me saying that she had done her practice every day and keeps on noticing such amazing things happening. She is feeling much more positive about things and stresses way less in her every day life than before. Basically her practice on the mat had a huge impact on her life off the mat! What an incredible notion! She now was building a yoga corner for herself in her home and had enlarged and framed this practice sheet in stick figures to keep her on the track.
You can maybe imagine how happy, excited and humbled I was by her feedback. But at the same time I was understanding that this is NOT at all about ME, or how good or talented or not I would be as a yoga teacher. This is about YOGA. This is about the actual content and the benefits of the practice! The tried and tested technology that has been passed on generations after another from the ancient traditions and brought forth by teacher of the teachers Tirumalai Krishnamacharya. This is about the lineage. We are part of the continuum. I must thank my gurus, my friends Mark Whitwell and Linda Madani for passing the yoga onto me, so I can pass it on to others to have an actual, self empowered yoga practice, where both strength and receptivity are equally important parts of the whole deal. I'm so thankful to be in the same boat with you all. All before and all after me. And now, I'm off to do my practice!
Please tell me how YOUR practice felt today?