I have never been to India, I have never washed myself in the holy waters of the Ganges, I never took classes with Pattabhi Joyce at Mysore, and I have never, ever in a million years thought I would become vegan, would meditate daily and would go out on a Friday night for Kirtan instead than for red wine. But life is unpredictably weird that way and so here I am, three months into this life-long commitment to my spiritual guidance, Sri Dharma Mittra, and so happy to be part of “his loving army of saving souls” as an almost-graduated Dharma Yoga teacher.
And no, this is not a commercial to promote some super-power Dharma yoga teachers may have, it’s just a way to explain that teaching yoga is far from teaching aerobics or steps. Practicing and teaching yoga can change you from the inside out making you so much more aware of your true, natural being. With the study of yoga, your soul it’s revealed to you and it becomes a mirror for others. Once a mirror is created, many more can come from that and so the army of “soul saving soldiers” is molded one after another with the belief that we are all one, made of the same “divine material.”
The physical part of yoga it’s the first step to “soul clean-up,” the grosser one of them all. But when that’s done…one goes deeper into the inner self, below the dirt and the multiple masks put upon from years of lies and “pretending happiness” and gets to the core of it all, the Supreme Self, the drop of God that resides in every living being’s heart. Once you get to know that part of yourself, everything else is easy to understand, because everything else is just a mere illusion compared to the reality of what lies beneath it all.
Before one becomes a yoga teacher one has to experience it all on her own skin *(the strict diet, the demanding meditation, the ethical rules, the devotion and respect toward your Guru, the tapas to continue practicing even when there seems to be no more strength left, the reading of tedious scriptures and the faith in the belief of something intangible and inexplicable). Then, one can even began thinking of teaching such learnings to someone else.
“A teacher instills into the disciple a great spiritual power that within time will allow the disciple to have spiritual emancipation,” from the Anaduta Gita, a sacred Yoga text Dharma’s Swami used to read to them when he was in the Ashram in the early ’60s. “No matter how distant a teacher and a disciple are, they share a psychic connection, the obidient and reveret student automatically becomes part of the guru’s aura,” added Sri Dharma Mittra in his spiritual discourse on Nov. 15, 2011.
Dharma is a living proof of what it means to know yourself to the deepest level. He is the most self-controlled human being I have ever met and his balance of mind and spirit it’s just remarkable and it seems almost as if he has not knowledge of how calm and serene he looks and feels to everyone around him. Being in his presence it’s both inspiring and humbling. He is a spiritual guidance for all who are seeking to see past their physical bodies and go deeper to get to know that other part of “us,” the spiritual voice inside that wants to come out, but does not know how. Dharma is the light to show you how to get there. But words cannot even begin to explain…you must meet him in person
Part of the main problem in the western world, though, it’s that yoga asana *(poses) has become a commodity for many and, since the beginning it has been advertised as more of a physical exercise than a philosophy to self-knowledge. Yoga poses are just stretches for the body and there is little to no knowledge at all to the true benefit each posture has not only on the physical body parts, but also on a more spiritual level…so people do not often get the full benefit of yoga, which is indeed better than any therapy you may have tried.
Words can only in part describe what it feels to be one with body and mind without doubts on who we truly are and to bring this belief about to your everyday life outside of the yoga mat and make you realize that you can really transform everything to yoga. From the act of offering help to a friend, to avoid being so needy all the time, to the welcoming of changes in your life *(positive or negative ones) with an ever-changing attitude of steel. Yes, it’s indeed possible to see life from different sunglasses, with some diverse UVA filtered lenses and control our reactions to what we see and how we see it without getting thrown off our balance every time, it just takes some practice. And yoga, for me at least, it’s step 1, 2, 3…9 and 10.
I am ready to share this knowledge that brought me up to here…who is in for some learning!