While the memory of Kathy’s visit is still fresh, I want give Near East Yoga a big thanks for bringing her to Portland. Prior to departing she told me how wonderful it had been to connect with all of us and that the teaching was beginning to develop in deeper ways for her as a result of her history with Portland.That is quite a compliment and one that grew from the opportunity you all gave Kathy by being open to what she had to offer. She will be back soon I hope. We did talk about some “what if” situations. I will keep you posted.
The final moment of her time with a few of us was at breakfast after the group primary on Friday. Kathy, along with her old friend Pam and my teacher Dennis, all children of the Age of Aquarius and spiritual sojourners of the current age, told how they got caught up in this movement 40+ years ago. Their telling, both humorous and profound, spoke of the arc of history I have found myself uplifted and moved forward by. I am always grateful for this path and often am moved that I live in an age where it is made possible by the work these and other life long seekers. I don’t think this possibility is even on the radar in many places. It’s sad to think that people disregard asana practice as exercise. What other vehicle offers us a chance to align ourselves with our teachers?
Years ago I spoke out into space something along the lines of “send me a teacher with time and energy to devote to me” with an intention of finding a source that was not simply a workshop circuit star or another seeker of my own age, but a wise person I could get to know and who could help me learn and grow. I was looking for the person I knew had to be out there- an old hippy who had done the work for 30 years and had something to share but was not interested in students. This “request” is how I came to know Dennis. I got what I wanted and more. Not only is he a great friend but has turned me on to some amazing teachings and given me an understanding of what “lineage” is all about and why it is so important . I don’t think he knew he would become a “teacher” but that old adage “when the student is ready a teacher will appear” must work both ways. After few years I knew to “ask” again but this time for a “woman teacher” specifically and out of that Kathy appeared. I can’t be more delighted to have “spiritual parents” such as these. This ethic is precisely why Kathy is such a good fit for Near East Yoga. She has the time, energy and intention to devote to us and has the heart to back it up. I feel really supported by these two and hope to convey that here since they do a lot to bring energy to Near East Yoga.
Meeting teachers, learning yoga and connecting to an eastern slant to spiritualism in the west is both a shelter and an inheritance for my generation. Via the lineage teachings, yoga is tangible and transmittable and something I plan to preserve and participate in. From my perspective of age 41, having been a product of the summer of love quite literally, it seems practicing yoga and spreading it around is what I was meant to do. It better be since I can’t go back to waiting tables. So I watch and learn how it works by watching myself, others and especially these teachers among us and see that they are still using the ancient dharma to work out whatever life sends their way, in this age. I think this is why I ask Kathy to come visit us every year, to get that darshan or view of an actualized yogi and learn by seeing how they live in the world. Yoga is not easy, it’s way beyond asana and it has great rewards which can be the twist that causes the living of a life to great. I think for anyone who gets it about Kathy will understand what I mean.
This Memorial Day weekend marks the 9 year anniversary of Near East Yoga (woo hoo!). The space was a wreck then and over 2 weeks while teaching my classes in the garage on 14th and Broadway and waiting tables at Chez Jose I polished up a space for a few of us to practice in. I can still smell the fresh paint and if you were there you will know what I mean. I am really proud of the place and the people who make it great. I always feel caught up in the groundswell of cheer surrounding Near East Yoga and see it as a force of it’s own making. I can be a bystander to it all if I want because the community is strong and interested in each other. The community has also given me a big chance to do this and I am always and forever grateful to make my contribution and feel compelled to accomplish as much as I can to keep it a great place.
A final thought might be if you ever think to ask into space for that teacher or mentor who has the time to devote to you. Kathy is not far off. Dennis is open as well. There are others still or maybe you have one already and with them will go deeper still. We all keep changing and growing but still share a great vehicle of ashtanga yoga vinyasa krama and the power of Sri K Pattabhi Jois. It’s a fire he gave us and by that light may we be illuminated on our path. May it reveal the teacher we are looking for, the inner, the outer and the secret.