It looks like it is my turn to be featured this month as a teacher at Tranquil Space. This picture was the first day into the world. It was a treacherous journey getting here. I almost died due to the umbilical cord wrapped around my neck twice. My father named me after his sister who died 3 times and came back to life in Iran. Pari. It means little angel. The Sufi healers said she had an angel soul. They did a healing practice on her to give her a human soul so that she would not continue surfing between heaven and earth. The story sounds crazy but my father and I have many stories about angels. I have seen them and felt their presence which is why as a little girl I wanted to be a nun or travel through space to get a better understanding of them and my connection to them. I finally settled on teaching yoga.
Teaching yoga is my passion. I don’t have a favorite thing about teaching yoga because it is my life. Yoga saved my life. It saves my life everyday. I cannot imagine living my life without a yoga practice. Yoga for me is a very sacred practice. It is a prayer in motion. It gives me the opportunity to quiet my very noisy mind and come back to my true self and my true purpose in life. I do not subscribe to yoga as a workout. Yoga is a work IN. Every pose has a purpose, so I guess you could say ALL of the poses are my favorite, particularly the ones most take for granted.
For instance: Sun Salutations. Most of us just go through the motions and are bored with this sequence. I never leave it out. I love how saluting the sun gradually brings us to recognize the highest selves that we are. We salute the sun and we become like the sun. We wake up. We warm up. We become fully alive and alert and we feel this animating life force within us and then we realize that we are more than just our minds and bodies. It’s easy to imagine that we are the beautiful flame of a candle only (the mind) then we salute the sun and feel ourselves as the SUN! Why identify with the little candle flame when you could be the sun? The candle flame is just a tiny portion of the vastness of the sun like the mind and body pales in comparison to the being behind the human. Every practice for me is a rebirth with is why savasana in my opinion should never be missed. It’s the most important pose of the practice. It is a mini death. It is not a nap. It is a chance to drop a part of the small self, the old self that no longer serve us. I like to encourage my students to drop all seriousness.
Yoga is not something you can do. Yoga is the natural state. The natural state is happiness so I always find it odd when I go to other studios and everyone walks in with these angry serious faces. The poses are designed to show you where you are resisting happiness so that you can shed these obstacles and be free! I like to keep my classes lighthearted and encourage my students that this is not a competition and I am not a drill sargent. I am simply there as a tour guide to hopefully help you clear away the noise long enough so that you can once more hear that ever present internal teacher. The true teacher that says, maybe today I skip chatturanga. As long as you can make it to your mat, transformation will take place.
Yoga for me is art and an expression of beauty, so music is a huge part of healing the soul. I can’t imagine walking into a church and hearing no music. Certain words, mantras, instruments and vibrations wake up dormant parts of the brain. I could not live without music and find that combining music with yoga is magic, along with the right incense and oils. I believe that in a yoga practice all senses should be stimulated so that when you are finished you are more awake, aware and alive. I have suffered a lot of loss in my life and for me the most powerful practices are those where the teacher plays just that perfect song that lifts you up. Sometimes it takes all of my energy just to get to the mat. The music keeps me there. The music heals my soul. The music takes me to another place within myself. I leave every yoga practice a new person.
Every practice in savasana I encourage you to really die on your mat: to the past, to other people’s opinions, to worries about the future and just be here in the NOW. The now is life itself this now will never be the same again, so can you really be here and soak it up? Can you really realize yoga? (happiness). Yoga can never be done. It can only be realized. It does not need to take years and years. It can be realized right now. One of my favorite quotes comes from A Course in Miracles that says, “it has taken much time to misguide you so completely but it takes no time at all to be who you are.”