Once whilst menstruating and teaching ‘Medicine Yoga’ I became open to the full power of this practice and the tool of curiosity. I had started feeling and seeing the effects on myself and students, but it wasn’t until this day that I felt the absolute power of this medicinal practice and its profound effect on the human being. It was the foundation from where the system started.
It is one of my strict policies to teach and to train teachers to teach from an integrated practice outside of the class. That means as a teacher it is our absolute duty to be in a place of instruction and observation. Demonstration can occur, but first the instructions must be crystal clear. When I first began to teach, almost two decades ago, my teacher would ask me to instruct her into a pose with her eyes closed. You must be able to articulate the correct way to transition and alignment whilst observing the student. Our duty is to instruct and keep our students safe, not to have a yoga session. So in this day I sat on my menstrual throne of props and taught from the place of deep moon wisdom. I could feel the students almost immediately drop into the space I was holding for my own body.
As with all my sessions I allowed the classes needs to echo within me. The enquiry that bubbled up was curiosity. Which is now one of the 7 main virtues of enquiry in this practice. For me when this enquiry arrived I realised I had found a mode or vehicle for the student to explore the pathways of the body and a way of generating more safety and awareness of the totality of the practice. The triad of exploration emerged in the warm up. Curiosity – Breath and Listening.
Curiosity – Breath – Listening – The journey tool.
I was awed at how an invitation into curiosity deepened the ability to listen and how when attached to the breathing process it gave the breath a context to be the tool that expands and grows awareness of asana.
‘If you are in an Asana and nothing is happening you’re not listening hard enough, listen deeper, let your awareness permeate the being and isolate the individual fibres of the tendons where they connect the bone, or listen to the lymph node being drained and refilled … Listen deeper”
When we practice navel radiation (1) if we do not have an understand how we actually breath the concept of moving from that impulse can be lost. This is the pure simple genius of curiosity as enquiry tool; we can’t help but begin to understand the mechanics of the breath and deepen our connection with the process if we apply curiosity to the inflation and deflation of the respiratory system. Curiosity also harnesses the mind and allows it to be active with agenda. It is a form of guided listening using impulse and enquiry. It is almost effortless.
It is my opinion that curiosity is a tool for enquiry that can be applied to any system of work or living we engage with. My vision is to see a lot of humans engaging with yoga or simply walking through life saying ‘Oh thats interesting’. It is far better to be engaged and enthralled with our practice than it is to turn up and do what we are told. It is safer. It is engaging. This is the medicine of CURIOSITY.
*1 Donna Farhi. Yoga Mind, Body, & Spirit: A return to wholeness. New York: Saint Martin’s Griffin, 2000. Print.