We start off offering tools from somatic psychology that are based in an understanding of the nervous system. We want to empower our trainees to be grounded, able to manage the inevitable nervousness and insecurity that are part of learning a new skill, and connected enough to the wisdom of the body that can self-regulate and become more resilient.
But these are just concepts at first….. and they should not merely be “beliefs” that are being learned by rote. They are descriptors of an experience, a process.
The only way into understanding what the concepts mean is to explore that process. As with the meditation techniques, yoga practice and reading we have put together, really dropping into the experience as a transformational process inevitably means we come up against our edges.
This is good!
But usually our first response is resistance, self-shaming, or perhaps interpreting coming to an edge as there being something wrong with the practice itself.
Truth is: it is entirely natural!
This IS the initiation…
Tension, grief, fear, weakness or instability, frustration, old and distorted beliefs, unresolved traumas, taboo emotions, defensive coping mechanisms —these are neither “in the way” of good practice or of learning to teach, they actually are the raw material, they represent the landscape of transformational practice that we get to explore and work with personally so as to be able to guide anyone else effectively.
Without an extended period of really befriending ourselves, really cultivating the courage, compassion and resilience to turn inward, to face our own shadows, to tolerate being present with the chaos that is there at first when we start meditating, the discomfort that is part of the journey of really showing up on the mat, and the vulnerability that actually lies beneath the surface of the painted on glitter and fluff of the more surface pantomime of spirituality so popular in our subculture —without going deeper through the very doorway of what we would most like to avoid, the initiation, the transformation, the alchemy that something deep inside of us calls out for, cannot occur.
And here’s the thing: if it doesn’t occur in us, if we do not become familiar with that arc of growth and healing that a genuine practice will call us into again and again if it is to really benefit our lives, we simply miss out on the essence of what makes effective teachers be able to hold space over the years for a community of students seeking sanctuary and guidance into the self-acceptance, tool-set, and courage required to engage in their own journey.
So yes, we learn anatomy, technique, how to language the postures effectively. Yes, we read texts, and have discussions. Yes, we look into the latest from neuroscience and biomechanics. Yes we get plenty of time practice teaching.
But underneath all of this learning is the crucial, foundational piece: we seek to create an environment and experience in which trainees can really bond with one another as a support system for doing authentic inner work.
Courageously stepping up to the edge.
Inviting the wholeness born of learning to hold the full spectrum of our human experience in open awareness.
This is the only journey I am on, these are my challenges and gifts, this is where my body is asking for breath, this is what my heart is yearning for, this is the time and space I have set aside for inquiry, exploration, growth and healing…
Join us on a genuine journey that will change your life —and prepare you to guide the journey of others in a grounded, authentic, humble and skillful way.
That’s Awakened Heart, Embodied Mind. That’s AHEM.
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