I’ve been attending classes in Vancouver for a month now and I’m starting to work out why I like practising here so much. There are so many aspects that I have enjoyed, that it’s been difficult to define them. This week I’ve finally understood one of the main features that make classes here so special to me: speech and stories.
I love it when before we chant three oms, we sit in silence, eyes closed, and the teachers begin with an anecdote of their everyday life. They explain how seemingly insignificant events can illuminate some of the many mental habits that crowd our autopilot world.
The story could be the one of a teacher coming back from an eye test with blurred vision and drawing parallels with the drishtis; or another putting her winter coat on for the first time this season and feeling how we mentally wrap ourselves up in cold weather; or one teacher remembering how sensitive she was as a child; or even teachers reflecting on recent readings, like an article on the brain and the stories we make up to ourselves.
I like it even more when the anecdote, the story or the article sets a theme, a guiding thread to the practice, a foundation to work on: drishtis, sensitivity, weaknesses in our bodies, breath, our inner narrative.
Most teachers are very gifted speakers with inspiring and calming voices. The story and theme create a stronger connection between mind and body during the practice, it bolsters mental strength and physical endurance. We all become part of the story and embody it in each asana.
Stories linger with me sometimes for hours, days, months or years, and help me live more mindfully.
Can you think of a teacher’s anecdote which has helped you in everyday life?