July 24, 2014
July 24, 2014
|I have two teachers. They are as different as day and night. One is more like the sun the other the moon. July’s full moon brought Guru Purnima, a festival celebrated by students of yoga and Buddhism to honor their teachers and I am thinking about my teachers and how they have shaped my life.I always have a certain anxiety about seeing my teacher Faeq Biria. He has a penetrating gaze and sharp intellect to accompany his intense personality. I see him in my minds eye moving around the yoga space on the top floor of a renovated 19 century mill building in a remote region of the south of France, the site of his annual yoga intensive. The previous mill owners used the power of running water to operate the mill’s machinery. As I hear the water rushing under the building I am powered by his instructions and admonishments given in both French and English. His instructions are direct, forceful and precise forged out of many years of direct study with his teacher BKS Iyengar. His words evoke immediate posture corrections by his students. He commands respect. Over the course of 8 hours of daily instruction the practice takes on a certain ascetic, devotional quality. At the same time he can have a mischievous manner that makes you laugh for taking yourself too seriously. Above all, he challenges you asking that you think, commit and do.For many years, Donald Moyer’s classes were held in the annex of a magnificent redwood building in Berkeley California. The studio space had a way of capturing and reflecting the light of the East Bay, the perfect context for the illuminating and ground breaking work that always took place within its walls. Donald Moyer’s instructions are gentle, engaging and mysterious. His many years of study with BKS Iyengar taught him how to experience things for himself and teach from his own experience. His classes are experiments in personal inquiry and investigation. His use of language aims more at your inner experience than your outer body. He likes to challenge your awareness as much as your physical capacity with questions like: “How does it feel to do the pose this way? What kind of effort brings about change?” Donald challenges you to concentrate and be aware both mentally and physically. As my body responds to his instruction I learn again how to listen and most importantly, feel.
My teachers possess the unique power to make each one of the hundreds of students they are teaching feel as though he is there for them alone. They have the uncanny ability to see an individual’s needs and ability and suit their instruction to that person.
I am fortunate to have two teachers that I have studied with continuously for more than 20 years. My teachers have taught me something about the meaning of commitment. When you commit to a teacher the work that you do can be deeply psychological. Over time asana study with my teachers has become the outer structure for the real work which is subtle and profound and it deeply affects my interior life.
I am so grateful to my teachers. Although they live far away from me I feel their love each day. With their words and generous support they helped me to heal and diminished my fears. Together they taught me one of the greatest lessons in life, how to think and feel for myself.