Keeping an open mind

Jessica Dewar Yoga_Bharath Shetty

It took many years before finding a teacher I truly connected with. I'm pretty direct and I've never been a 'new-age' kind of person. As a side note - I find it disappointing yoga has been labeled as new age, which is ironic considering the practice is thousands of years old, but that's neither here nor there. Regardless of how yoga is labeled, new age or not, for many years I struggled with the practice. I kept with it as I knew there was something powerful within it that I was yet to unlock or experience (consciously anyway), but this didn't make it an easy practice to maintain. It turns out, one of the biggest barriers for me was my teacher. I've had many (teachers) over the years - my teachers varied as I moved house many times in my twenties. I was also quick to leave a studio if I didn't connect with a teacher. I found it particularly difficult practicing with teachers who behaved as though they were floating in a cloud of unshakable inner silence and pure elation. Whilst I have no doubt this state is attainable, and this is something we all work towards, I struggled with the voice that was so soft I thought the room would explode if my voice were to be heard in comparison. It wasn't me. And if you've met me, you know I have anything but a calm, serene, unshakable stillness in my voice. I'm loud, nasal and have a twang in my accent that no-one can quite pick, especially myself. I'm from Adelaide so maybe that explains something...

So where am I headed with this? That's right, finding a teacher I connected with. It wasn't until I began practicing with Guiji in India that I began to feel more connected with the practice and with myself. There is absolutely nothing new-agey about him. He is strict, he is direct and he has no issue with forcefully pulling and pushing my body around to bring it into alignment. There is nothing soft about this type of practice. It is what it is and I like that. It's about the art of yoga, the discipline of yoga and maintaining a deep respect for what the practice represents. The seriousness with which the practice is taught has captured my full attention and is what draws me back to India each year.

But whilst it is wonderful I have a teacher whom I connect with and trust implicitly, I appreciate maintaining a self-practice here in Australia is quite limiting in itself. With the guidance of my teacher, my practice accelerates. A momentum that is hard to achieve when practicing on your own every morning. So I have decided it is time to venture out and seek experienced Ashtanga teachers, those who too, travel to Mysore. I shall seek out a teacher who shares this same devotion and respect for the practice. Someone who is about the practice, not the idea of it.

This is going to be a confronting experience for me as I've not given myself the opportunity to continue a regular practice with a new teacher in Australia. This is in part due to having struggled for so long to find a quality teacher I resonate with, and also if I'm honest with myself, is partly due to an arrogant mindset that no other teacher could measure up to Him. But this is a mindset that I know does not serve me. It prevents me from expanding my horizons and indirectly minimises not only the brilliance of many teachers out there, but also my own potential to be a brilliant teacher one day also. If I do not allow myself to connect and learn from others back here, then I shall be very limited in my long term potential and growth.

Moral of the story - we need teachers and we need to be open to what others can show us. This does not mean we take advice or guidance from just anyone. Be particular about who you practice/work with. But unless we give others a try, we can never know what potential we are missing.

Sending open minded hugs,

Jessica xx