Beginner’s Mind – Student Forever

It’s been an incredible 12 weeks of back-to-back teacher trainings and retreats, doing and sharing what I love so much in some of the most beautiful places in the world: Yoga… which for me is no different than life, exploring and living it to the fullest for love and freedom and beauty. Whatever specific ‘forms’ it might take, it is the path of awakening more of the potential of who we are on every level, from philosophy and evolutionary ideas, to the life force of movement and breath that is both guided and intuitive, sensing and feeling from the gross to the subtle, to deep dives into self and consciousness through meditation and sound, from traditional to experimental, from ‘spiritual’ to ‘science’. It’s all the joy of turning inwards for Self discovery, and then flipping it inside out. It’s both creative drive and surrender, dancing between form and formlessness.

One of my greatest lessons and joys is that I am forever a ‘student’ – ever learning, growing, evolving, being challenged and making mistakes, being delighted and humbled, slowly slowly learning how to navigate my way through life with more grace, ease and love. Thanks to this path that I started on really as a child – curious, seeking, confused, delighted. Wanting to be ‘better’, wanting to suffer less, wanting to ‘know’ more, not knowing what the hell I was doing but being drawn to something that felt bigger, greater, helpful, miraculous and unavoidable.

And it is with the highest gratitude that I get to share what I love and what I have discovered through my own turning inwards. That somehow the years of striving and struggling and internal analysing and ceaseless inquiry have led to something that looks like a bit more wisdom and a lot more love.

So this is a big shout out to all of my teachers – the formal and the informal, the life events that have turned me upside down, my family, friends, those who have challenged me and been challenged by me, to each person who calls themselves a ‘student’ of yoga and life and love… thank you for your gifts, insights, offerings, and the ways in which you have guided my life.

 

I’ve just arrived in south Portugal for the next 2 months to sit in satsang (to be in the company of the Truth) with Ganga Mira and Mooji. To keep turning inwards to Life.

I’m unbelievably grateful for this opportunity and time to sit with humans – real people – who have woken up and turned their lives and themselves in pure love and wisdom. Endless inspiration and the most profound guidance…

So I’m having a 3 month break from ‘teaching’ to be even more fully a ‘student’. Following the inner and outer cycles of life.

However ‘busy’ life gets, remember to take some time to turn inwards, to ‘forget’ everything you have learnt and be open, fresh and innocent – ever ready to be surprised and delighted by this miracle of life.

 

 

 

Embodied Flow – What is Yoga?

I recently returned to Melbourne from 4 intensive weeks of advanced yoga teacher training in Bali with the formidable team of Tara Judelle and Scott Lyons. Dubbed “The Embodied Science of Yoga”, the training was Tara and Scott’s first official offering of Embodied Flow – call it a style, a school, a practice, a method… it’s a term that captures a means of inquiry using the art of yoga, practices of embodiment (the felt sense of experience and anatomy, drawing on Body-Mind Centering and somatic psychotherapy), and science.

Embodied Flow training group photo

As we discovered together on the training, it is an offering of awakening practices that draws on both the ‘old’ and the ‘new’. And to me, it felt like home: a weaving together of all the things I love, a freedom to ask and to explore all the questions I have (did someone say ‘infinite’?), and to perhaps even experience something that feels like an answer… But mostly just learning how to swim in the unknown and the unknowing, and learning how to have fun whilst doing it…

Acknowledging the importance of tried-and-tested tradition (ie. the lineages of yoga or other spiritual traditions), what I really awakened into on this training was an understanding of the constant evolution and expansion of consciousness, of knowledge, of awareness.

As universal and timeless as the teachings and practices of the traditions seem, what if what we knew then, and how we knew it, is not the be-all and end-all? What if our capacity to awaken is even greater now than it previously was? Or what if we can find new ways for awakening that are more accessible and more attainable for those of us living in the 21st century. After all, isn’t that what the Buddha did, for his own time?

skeleton

So amidst all the practices, the explorations, the sensing of glands and organs, the dancing from bones, the videos of breathing lungs and glistening fascia, the discussions on evolution, the brain gym exercises, the creative expression, the expansive meditation and the effortless asana that emerges from being embodied, my one true gift from these four weeks was this simple question, emerging from deep wonder and reverence: What does this make possible?

My sense is that this is what today’s lycra-tight yoga really needs: a practice of genuine inquiry that engages the entirety of our body-mind-heart-soul, and calls upon us to be fearless in the asking of questions, in the discovery of our own experiences, and the diving into the challenge and freedom of not-knowing. And we need a physical practice of yoga that emerges from within, from a deeply felt sense of being and connecting and experiencing, rather than an exercise routine that makes us look good and think we are better.

So it is with a deep sense of honour and gratitude that I have been invited by Tara and Scott to officially offer Embodied Flow. For those of you who already know me, it does not look so different from my “regular” teachings. But as teaching emerges from experience, well, I can say that I have experienced and discovered so very very much over the last month or so, and I have been gifted additional tools with which to offer these experiences.

Scott demonstrating the ligaments of the spine

Scott demonstrating the ligaments of the spine

So if you are a curious and fearless inquirer, I invite you to come explore, play and discover with me. While all of my classes will continue with this flavour and experience, my Friday 5.30pm class at Gertrude Street Yoga Studio is now my official Embodied Flow class, starting in the first week of February. Woven into your asana practice you will find embodied anatomy, some developmental embryology and movement patterns, partner work, and plenty of questions for you to ask and experience. There will be time to break it down, explore, play and yes… maybe even dance. Because really, what is yoga?

With love and curiosity,
Mei Lai xo

FYI – Here is the official Embodied FlowTM description from Tara and Scott:

Embodied Flow™ is a continuum of movement and expression that draws from the discoveries of various hatha, tantric and somatic movement systems in order to experience yoga as a living art form. Embodied Flow™ provides the technology for a deep sense of ease, strength and connectivity in the human form. This in turn, empowers the practitioner to be their own greatest teacher as they expand, integrate and facilitate awareness in their entire body-mind.

For more information check out Tara’s website: www.tarajudelle.com