Tagged jenine durland

jenine durland quote, illustration by jenny williams, authentic

HuffPo| Secrets of Yoga Teacher Training: Speaking Our Truths

Read the full piece by Jenine Durland on the Huffington Post here.

Excerpt:

It is day three of Pete Guinosso’s Lighting the Path Yoga Teacher Training, and already my entire idea of what a teacher training entails has been flipped on its head and expanded into every recess of the heart. After exercises around intentions, ethics, and sharing our own stories, I want to rename this “human being training.”

Illustrations by Jenny D Williams

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jenine-durland/secrets-of-yoga-teacher-t_b_6045046.html

jenine durland how to love elephant journal

How to Love: Have the Courage to Break Your Own Heart

Read the full article by Jenine Durland on Elephant Journal here.

Excerpt: “There are moments in life when, sitting still, you feel the whole universe flow through you, when you recognize that we are indeed oceans and rivers and the channels of starts.

You see, too, that the path to healing is an inward one, and that there is wonder and beauty and adventure there.”

Full article:

This morning as I sit with the magnitude of a romantic relationship changing course, receding and reshaping itself into what, we do not know, I’m struck mostly by how we associate our hearts with this romantic love—love for one another.

How we can feel so abandoned when we forget to feed ourselves.

In the namesake essay for her collection of amazing advice columns, “Tiny Beautiful Things”, Cheryl Strayed writes a letter to her younger self. She says:

You are not a terrible person for wanting to break up with someone you love. You don’t need a reason to leave. Wanting to leave is enough. Leaving doesn’t mean you’re incapable of real love or that you’ll never love anyone else again. It doesn’t mean you’re morally bankrupt or psychologically demented or a nymphomaniac. It means you wish to change the terms of one particular relationship. That’s all. Be brave enough to break your own heart.

This morning I am brave enough. Just barely.

I sit with the knowledge that this is all a part of our unfolding, of our becoming, and I smile looking at the painting he made here beside me. It is so beautiful, not so much for the art itself, but for what it represents: our ability to create beauty from a blank page.

Cheryl continues, You cannot convince people to love you. This is an absolute rule. Real love moves freely in both directions. Don’t waste your time on anything else.

But how we linger at every dam, each impasse and braid in the river, waiting for our lover to catch up or slow down, wondering what will be. We must let the current carry us. No one quite knows what the journey will be, only that eventually we return to where we came from. And we must sit with the discomfort, shine our light on it fully.

In her book Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert writes about soul mates:

People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that’s what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that is holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life. A true soul mate is probably the most important person you’ll ever meet because they tear down your walls and smack you awake.

But to live with you soul mate forever? Nah. Too painful.

Then Cheryl: Acceptance is a small, quiet room.

That night after we talked and cried and said words of love with our goodbyes, we went to Kirtan. The woman led the handful of us through chants with two guitars and we sat crosslegged next to one another as we made music. For the last song, the woman gathered us into a circle and asked us all to hold hands. She showed us the sidestep we’d use and how we’d spin around at each chorus. The chant was simple: “The ocean refuses no river. Hallelujah!”

There are moments in life when, sitting still, you feel the whole universe flow through you, when you recognize that we are indeed oceans and rivers and the channels of stars.

You see, too, that the path to healing is an inward one, and that there is wonder and beauty and adventure there.

Like me, you will find that there is also sadness. Sit with that too. Honor everything and open to it all. As the poet Galway Kinnell once wrote:

…angels shiver to know down here we mortals make love with our bones.

We are lucky to know pleasure and pain, to know in our bones what love feels like—to give love, to receive love, to let go of those we loveThis is what we humans do, even when it hurts, even when we’re breaking our own hearts, we must have the courage to go on, the courage to feel the love that will light our way.

Galway knows this too. He is a poet, afterall. He closes his ode to the heart and the “music of grace that we hear, sometimes, playing from the other side of happiness” with these words:

But when I hear

coming through the walls

those grace-notes…

that the two hearts drummed

out of their ribs together,

the hearts that know everything (and even

the little knowledge they can leave

stays, to be the light of this house),

 

then it is not so difficult

to go out, to turn and face

the spaces which gather into one sound the singing

of mortal lives, waves of spent existence

which flow toward, and toward, and on which we flow

and grow drowsy and become fearless again.

 

Bon voyage—may our ships be the brightest stars in the sky.

Elephant Journal anxiety

Elephant Journal: Healing Anxiety or a Broken Heart, the Tools are the Same

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Elephant Journal anxiety

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To read article on Elephant Journal, click here.

We are lying in savasana—corpse pose—legs splayed wide, arms flopped down, palms facing the sky, and I close my eyes.

My friend is beside me; my yoga teacher has come to crouch at my head.

“Do something for me,” Pete says, pausing with his hands on my shoulders, “do this for yourself,” and I nod, eyes still closed.

“Bring one hand to your heart and one to your belly,“ and I do, slipping my left hand onto my chest and resting the thumb of my right hand in the hollow of my belly button.

I take a deep breath and feel my stomach rise, willing my body to relax.

The thing about anxiety attacks, I’ve come to learn in the last couple days, is that you can’t reason through them. And they can leave you, out of nowhere, fainting out of mountain pose or crawling across your floor.

You tell yourself it’s all in your head, but then you put your head down on the pillow alone in your apartment, and feel this tingling sensation spread out across your skin and every siren in your body goes off, telling you that there is a problem, an actual physical problem requiring god-knows-what emergency-care.

And then you laugh and cry all at once, seeing the absurdity, scared shitless of trusting your body, even your breath.

And so, it took a lot to get me to come back to class. Even as I rolled out my mat, I feared passing out, had vivid images of blackouts in my head, but my friend, who is also a nurse, promised to practice beside me, and when I told my teacher what was going on before class, Pete gave me a rolled up yoga mat to place under my belly.

I spent most of the class in the corner lying on my stomach while everyone rose up and down in warrior poses around me, feeling the rolled up mat push into my body every time I exhaled a breath, comforted to be held in community.

Now in this final pose, the one where we practice for our ultimate surrender, Pete is holding my head.
“Whether healing anxiety or a broken heart,” he says quietly, running his thumb and forefinger from my third eye down to my temple, “the tools are the same.”

I open my eyes just long enough to catch his eyes, full of compassion, and there is that moment of feeling really, truly seen: All of me acknowledged, accepted, okay.

“We hold our anxiety between our stomach and our chest,” Pete says, “and I’ve often found that we have some shame wrapped up there, a sense of not being enough. Breathe into that.”

And then the tears come, warm and sort of glorious, like sweat running down my cheeks while Pete rubs the back of my neck, and laughs. It’s the kind of laugh that comes out when you’re holding a baby and they curl their tiny fingers around your pinky. It’s the moment I knew, because I had gotten myself here to this mat and this teacher and this community, that I would be alright.

It’s also the moment I truly understood the power of a healer. There is yoga, yes; there is meditation, yes; but there is something profound and deeply human in seeking wise counsel in the overlap there between, in matters of the heart and soul.

After almost a year of practicing with Pete, of accepting his invitations to shine light into our dark places, of feeling awe at his capacity for love that seems to grow exponentially with each hug he gives his students, I have come to recognize how important it is to find teachers we connect with—those special people genuinely invested in helping others heal, the ones who can hold that kind of sacred space.

As the great Sufi poet Hafiz once wrote, “That is what greatness does: kindly leaves a shelter for us to gather under, where more nourishment can be offered to all things.”

And so, in just over a month, I’ve accepted yet another invitation from my teacher, and will be heading out on a new journey, one that takes this place of love and light and suffering—the heart center—as a starting point, and charts the course of movement, breath, and awareness into a realm of unknowing.

Most people call this “Teacher Training,” but Pete calls it “Lighting the Path,” and I can think of no better words…except perhaps those, again, of Hafiz, who writes,

“Strange the way my shadow began to fall. I
was standing in a field helping the dawn

appear, and when its body, the sun, was fully
lifted into the sky

I was amazed to see my shadow in front of
me as I faced that luminous candle we all know.”