Fearless Leap of Faith :: Kathleen Flanagan
As my personal sadana grows deeper, teaching group classes has become more difficult. As Guides who offer what we have as a seed for people to take and sow on their own, we know that the Asana is not the Yoga. So, while learning how to sequence a class based on your chosen peak pose and working from its family of asana is functional – and serves the greater population of practitioners these days – it doesn’t always serve the teacher.
I’ve considered creating a mission statement in order to maintain my integrity, but the idea of a blanket mission statement seems contradictory to the Yogi’s philosophy of being present. I think of the great Sage William Shakespeare and his sentiment “To thine own Self be true.” And it’s good advice. Because when I am True to my Self, inevitably a class comes. Sometimes I sit in silence and wait for an answer. I literally ask “What’s Up?”
Often, the answer appears without the sitting practice!
I have rarely been at a loss for what’s out of balance or what needs addressing. Then I work from there.
Being a writer allows me the safety of Sankalpa – the intention. And I begin to write with unabashed abandon on what is, honestly, up. Or possibly, what’s down. My Sankalpa sets the Bhava (mood) for the class, which then informs the Asana.
My classes are never the same as far as the physical practice is concerned. Sometimes the lyrics to a song (perfect example: John Clement’s “Rising River”) prompt me to work through the Svādhisthāna (2nd) Chakra and I’ll teach a little more Sahaja (free) Flow, working in a mandala – swimming circles around the mat. Other times that decision I’m having a tough time with – because it requires a fearless leap of faith and an open heart—turns into a class devoted to the Lord Hanuman. I tell his story and the class culminates in the practitioner’s fullest expression of Hanumanasana (split).
My faithfuls revisit class after class because they know what they’ll leave with; a Bija (seed) of their own, which they can cultivate, reaping the fruits of their own labor.
– Kathleen Flanagan
New York City, NY