Being a Student, Becoming a Teacher

I wrote this as my philosophy presentation for the end of my first 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training with the great Jim Harrington at Reunion Yoga, in Cape Town. After 10 years of Meditation and Yoga practice I feel blessed to have had this amazing opportunity of learning and growing. I honour with these writings the lineage of all great teachers, and hope that, us, new ones, can pass on this eternal wisdom to generations to come. Thank you all who choose the path of sharing knowledge and spreading light. I love you all. Namaste! Sat Nam! Shanti Om!

Beach Yoga!
Sunset handstand in our little island in the Mentawais, Indonesia. Photo by my love Hinton Faram. 

“Death said: ‘God made sense turn outward, man therefore looks outward, not onto himself. Now and again a daring soul, desiring immortality, has looked back and found himself. The ignorant man runs after pleasure, sinks into the entanglements of death; but the wise man, seeking the undying, does not run among things that die.’ “ Katha-Upanishad.

In the Katha-Upanishad, one of the primary ones dated around 400 BCE, we find this statement, in between other concepts of yoga. Here, in my opinion, we can see a summary of the teachings of all the great sages of all times. I could sit here in front of you and try to analyse one by one all the philosophical doctrines since the first writings dating back 5000 years. But I won’t. In another time of my life, I probably would have, like a good ‘bookworm’ and an obsessed with philosophy and history person would. But life has taught me through my personal path in Meditation and Yoga that words are just that, words, unless experienced.

“In Kundalini Yoga the most important thing is your experience. It goes right to your heart. No words can replace your experience. Your mind may accept the words or it may not, but your consciousness will not accept just words.” Yogi Bhajan.

That’s how my journey started. I was 9 and I was looking for the meaning of life. I thought books were the answer. I searched and searched, and I really understood everything intellectually. With time, and age, I thought myself to really be a wise person. But that was just an illusion. I was looking outwards for something that already was in me.

Gnana Yoga, the path of knowledge, was my first step, until by synchronicities of life, I ended up meeting my teacher and mentor in Kundalini Yoga, Swaran Kaur, many years ago. There, with her, I understood that true wisdom can only come from personal experience. I felt things I can’t even put in words. Words are the jail of meaning, of understanding. So many concepts, tags, and so little feelings sometimes.

I started listening to the silence and realised that only when there is nothing, can everything exist. But that path too turned out to be just another step in my journey. I realised I couldn’t hold on to anything, and that I forever, had to be a student.

In that moment something lit up in me and I saw clearly how being a student, I was also becoming a guide, facilitator, teacher, and a vehicle for the teachings to reach everyone else. Then my two dreams could come true; the finding of my life purpose and Karma and the liberation of suffering of all beings as my goal.

Suddenly, another path appeared before me, closing behind many others, and leaving behind other dreams I thought were mine. But when you know, you know.

Another question arouse in my thinking mind; how am I going to pursue my dream? How am I going to share these teachings to the world, when I, myself, am still learning? Krishnamacharya answered me with this quote:

“Teach yoga as you experience it. Then translate your experience into the needs of the person you are teaching.” Krishnamacharya.

It suddenly felt it was meant to be. The huge responsibility of teaching and passing on this knowledge became the most gratifying feeling in the world, the one I was born to do in this incarnation, and hopefully in all others.

When we all, as teachers, facilitators, guides, choose this path, we choose our Truth, we choose to share it, we choose Life.

For me, Yoga is the art of awakened experience. It would be so selfish not to share it!

I want to finish with a quote by my favourite writer (and I am sure a true Yogi at heart) Hermann Hesse, about how I perceive the journey of Yoga to be, the journey to the Self. For madmen only!

“I have no right to call myself one who knows. I was one who seeks, and I still am, but I no longer seek in the stars or in the books; I’m beginning to hear the teachings of my blood pulsing within me. My story isn’t pleasant, it’s not sweet and harmonious like the invented stories; it tastes of folly and of bewilderment, of madness and dream, like the life of all people who no longer want to lie to themselves.” Hermann Hesse.