I've been spending a considerable amount of time alone this week. After a wonderful opening at the Ojai Yoga Crib last weekend, I felt an intense desire to process, sit, go to bed early, hold deep hip openers/reclined twists, listen to Nina Simone, and eat large amounts of candy corn. Not always in that order..
I strongly believe in the truth behind the yogic expression, "when the student is ready the teacher will come." Two years ago, after months of researching teacher trainings in Costa Rica, San Francisco, Massachusetts, and beyond, I encountered my teacher Saul David Raye for the first time at the 2007 Ojai Yoga Crib. The click was instant, like a plug entering a socket. This is my teacher, this is who I'll train with, no need to think about anything else. I devoured everything Saul offered me that year. It was my yogic prescription; my livelihood.
After a year of teaching yoga and pursuing the path I love in the deepest way I've learned to love, I returned to Ojai for the Crib. Not searching this time. Just arriving in a bright, colorful bouquet of my closest friends and teachers. My schedule was thoughtfully weaved with an assortment of sweet, nurturing, contemplative classes. I was guided into a familiar state of bliss and love on Friday and Saturday with my beloved cast of "regulars": Kira Ryder, Sean Johnson, Saul David Raye, and Erich Schiffmann. I attended every class without hesitation, because it was all known, proven, Debbie tested, recommended, and loved!
Sunday morning was slightly more challenging. Even though I had selected Patricia Sullivan in my top five teacher choices, I was irrationally fearful when it was time to take her class. It was new, therefore unknown and scary. It also wasn't Saul's class in LA with Steve and Anne-Emilie Gold playing live, hence my mind convinced me I was missing out. I deliberately managed to shut down my spinning thoughts and explain to myself that this is what I do, this is my samskara (pattern or imprint). Example: I almost didn't make it to teacher training because I was worried we wouldn't practice enough yoga during the week. When I finally decided to attend the training, I drove in circles around Exhale Venice as I was terrified of going in and actually beginning. When Bill Wyland offered me my first class at Bernal Yoga, I panicked and went to Harmony Festival instead. Sometimes, I run and hide from the situations that often serve me in the deepest and most fulfilling ways.
Patricia's yoga class ended up being a delightful, heart held miracle. I say heart held because I've been holding it deep in my heart for days. I was instantly inspired by Patricia's gentle attention to detail, her supportive touch, and her encouraging energy. But, most of all it was her love. Her passionate, tender, expressive love for the practice, the teachings, the students, her job, her life. Her love was infectious and sincere. I couldn't help but relate.
On Thursday night, I braved the BART train in the midst of the Bay Bridge shut down to take Patricia's class in Berkeley. The room had an October chill in the air different from the sunshine and butterflies in Ojai, but the practice and the energy remained the same. Love, stillness, nourishment, depth. As we sat together in our final meditation, everything was quiet. My mind, the room, and Patricia's voice had all faded away.