Ground & Center (CalPoly0610515)

Try it like this! Breathe the universe up and down your spine.

Try it like this! Breathe the universe up and down your spine.

A number of years back, I was honored to have my mom come to one of my yoga classes while she was visiting from Back East. I was a freshly minted instructor at the time, but the seeds of how I would teach were sprouting.

In other words, I was keeping my students happily occupied with poses while I riffed on a spiritual topic or (hopefully) helpful life hack idea.

So on this one summer evening, I was going off on something. I forget the theme. Everyone was resting in Downdog or child's pose, enjoying the fresh breeze coming though the windows. And then, as I paused, I hear my mother's muffled voice say, "Amanda, are you listening to yourself?"

At the time, I was like, "Uh, thanks, Mom. Geez."

And yet, as the years have rolled by and my understanding has deepened in fits and starts, I'll often hear the echo of my mom's voice after I've said something while teaching. It's become part of an internal mechanism that triggers a distinct, "Wait, what'd I just say?" kind of pause. Apparently, I teach what I need to learn. Maybe it's stuff we all need to learn right now. I'm just glad you guys seem to find it useful, too.

My highest form of service as an aspiring Human Being is to allow Solid Information to come through me as clearly as possible without getting in the way. When I really let it rip, sometimes I'm in a bit of a daze when I come back to myself. Sometimes I don't remember what my mouth said, but I'm trying to pay closer attention.

It was like that after our last class of the year at CalPoly, whose theme was "Ground and Center." This has become spiritual shorthand for the practice of breathing properly, coming to present, and setting aside all the distractions of society and daily life.

I wasn't sure where that theme had come from, but there it was on the white board, written in my own hand: "Ground & Center."

And let me tell you something: my mom was right. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph! Anyone else feeling like Dorothy when she sees the Wicked Witch of the West fly by the window? Disorientation, confusion, fear, gripping--all the classic egoic reactions as new Information comes in from wherever it comes from.

Learning is fucking hard. Remembering how to be a real, live, genuine, fully participating Human Being is even harder. Especially when the "gifts" we encounter feel like squalls that toss our little boats so the sea and sky blur into each other.

Discovering how much you don't know is both a humbling and thrilling experience (refer to photo for clarification.) Simultaneously, you experience the horizons of yourself expand into infinity, and then there's the "oh, wow" realization in which everything you do know suddenly looks like a lumpy little dust pile at your feet. It take massive guts even to experience this phenomenon fully. And, not coincidentally, it takes massive guts to be a real Human Being.

So, my dear friends, until we meet again, practice your breathing, feel the inside of your left foot as often as you remember, jump up and down as fast as you can for a minute 2-3x a week, and be kind to yourselves and others. (Not "nice." Check this out.) Also, those of you who are on the planet to teach: Are you listening to yourself? (Thanks, Mom.)

All my heart,


Things to Practice with Your Spacesuit over the Summer

1. Avoid chairs and have fun. Yay!

2. Come to one or all of these Human Being Training events this summer!