Today we were blessed by a teaching from the Guru Amrit Desai. The yoga studio was all buzzing today because Amrit Desai is a very honored guest, one who has never come to teacher training before - or at least not for the last 6 years, I'm uncertain of the exact details.
I'm still feeling buzzy and floaty from the encounter with him. I sat in the first row, near him, because my vision is fairly blurry. When he entered the room, there was a distinct sense of an almost electrical charge in the air. After being introduced, he led us in a guided meditation with mantras and the chanting of "om". At first I was a little self conscious, and felt like I was out of my element, but I relaxed into the experience quickly and tried to open my heart. I've never been in a room with a few hundred people all resonating the sound "om" at exactly the same frequency - but when it happened, when my own sound merged with the room's sound - my whole body vibrated and I felt like a fountain of light emerged behind my closed eyes. My cheeks and face felt suddenly cool.
After the mantras, Yogi Desai led us in a teaching about his Kriya Yoga. The contrast between Yogi Desai and Bikram was almost comical. Bikram is very chaotic - his philosophical teachings are presented in machine gun firing fashion - one of them bullets has got to hit. Amrit was like a surgeon. He explained each idea in slow, simple terms, and then cemented each idea firmly before taking a small step forward. I never for a moment felt like I needed to take notes or catch up. It was hypnotizing. Several times during the lecture, his eyes met mine and for that moment I felt rooted, almost cemented to the spot. At one point, Amrit performed a prana breathing exercise - just himself - and about 3/4 of the way through I felt like the room began to warp and vibrate in my vision while Yogi Desai stayed perfectly still. Other people later in the class described feeling and even seeing the hairs on their arms stand up.
I summoned my courage and asked the burning question that plagues me - "What is Energy?". I asked Yogi Desai to explain energy as he might explain it to a child. His initial response was "Energy is the fuel that fuels the thoughts of the mind and the actions of the body." He then elaborated, describing how an elderly person (grandparents) who no longer has lust for life or zeal to do things has very little energy, while a young child who is bouncing off the walls has very much energy. A definition through inference, sorta. I then asked how this "interpersonal energy", which I can accept the existence of through inference without too much trouble, relates to the concept of energy between people and things. There's so much talk in yoga of "the energy in the room" and "keep your energy aligned with the class, stick together, and you'll be able to surf that energy like a wave". I've actually experienced that feeling in a yoga class of getting swept up by the momentum of the whole class. Yogi Desai answered that the energy in a person is the same as the energy that connects us, and that furthermore, by gaining consciousness of the energy in our selves, we connect to that larger energy outside ourselves and become larger than ourselves. I've got a lot to chew on... (ruminate!)
Doug taught class after the teaching, and it was trippy. It was like a whole different yoga. The hum from a billion bees in the room during the whole class. I found myself moving without deciding to or even thinking about it. And my breathing is becoming automatic. It was a day of revelations. During some of the savasanas, particularly after camel and in the end, people were sobbing quite loudly and uncontrollably. Even though I did not (cannot?) cry, I felt like it was a release for all of us through those few people who let go.
Third week, almost in the bag.
For those of you who would like to know more: Amrit Yoga