Here at Kripalu there is so much beauty to be found in Nature, rolling hills, mountains in the distance, forests and a shimmering lake in the sunlight. The last apples had almost all fallen, just a few still clung to their branches reminding me how I still cling to some old ideas, expectations and fears. In America what we Europeans call Autumn is for them "the Fall'..... a perfect word for this time of year when Nature lets fall her fruits and we can shed the clutter of old emotions and memories allowing them to compost into the soil and become food for new inspiration and creation!
Some of the fallen apples were still edible, juicy and delicious. There is always so much more taste and freshness in what we pick or gather than what we buy at the Supermarket and has been sitting in a box or plastic bag for some days!
I believe that the same is with Yoga practice and teaching...it has to be fresh and what we find in the moment to feel deeply satisfying, not a repetition of something we did before or remember a teacher giving out in a class no matter how good it felt then.
Letting go the role of 'teacher' and simply meeting these wonderful souls who have chosen, saved their money, made arrangements at home or work and taken the time and energy to get here is indeed a miracle and a meeting.
The rest follows and emerges, revealing itself in surprising ways that push us to the edge and flood over the gates of resistance.....a happening, a discovery and each day a sense of immense gratitude and understanding.
Kripalu is huge with several workshops and retreats running at the same time. Hundreds of people taking yoga, meditation, self-help and other classes, eating organic meals and staying in rooms or dorms.
It sometimes feels like an enormous ship at sea and I wonder how it all seems to work, the coming and goings of groups and teachers, all the schedules and meals, sleeping arrangements and finances not to mention the problems that arise with maintaining and old building....the chaos that could happen but doesn't!
Perhaps it is the seed of Swami Kripalu's legacy, his being and teaching that somehow invisibly permeate and touch all those of us who pass through its doors.
I was so lucky to have Ilana and Liza as assistants for both retreats as the numbers reached 82 at the weekend and 45 for the Womens' three day event. Ganesha was very present as we worked with the base Chakra to feel more grounded and energised, opening to the earth and then to our inner power. Several animals and birds appeared as helpful images to open and move, to deepen and uncover 'our inner creature'! We stretched and danced, spreading our Heron wings. We found our snake, the spine winding and unwinding memories and tears through the body. As layers fell away we laughed and dared to be outrageous at last!!
Krishna the Indian God of Love was not far away as I sat cross-legged in a corridor to talk on Skype with Victor who was teaching in Rochester. Even in a Yoga Institute we can be grateful for the Internet to keep the threads of life and love alive, no matter if people are stepping over you and the sound or image keeps fading!