“For the Love of Yoga” – My keynote speech

For the Love of Yoga – my Keynote Speech – Australian Yoga Conference

I was cleaning out my external hard drive the other day and came across this word document.
In 2009 I was asked to be a keynote speaker for the opening of the 2009 Australian Yoga conference held in Sydney.
I though I would share it with you again now, as the message still prevails.

For the love of yoga

As yoga teachers and practitioners We should investigate the meaning of love. In accordance with Dhamma we replace the word love, with the word Metta.
Metta is unbiased, all encompassing, unconditional acceptance, forgiveness and loving kindness. In the same way we have these qualities for our loved ones, we should also strive to develop them for strangers and those we are not comfortable to be around.
As the Buddha said, just as with her own life a mother shields from hurt her own son her only child let all embracing thoughts for all beings be yours.
In my experience I have found that nurturing this feeling of Metta within your students is one of the most rewarding gifts you can give as a yoga teacher.
I also cherish the beginnings of a new student relationship, when student and teacher are forging a path together and acceptance, forgiveness and loving kindness (metta) of the positive and the negative is required to develop a successful journey.
The qualities of metta begin with the self, for until we accept, forgive and love ourselves we can never really wish others well.
I love to teach:
- The need to accept our yoga practice as it is in order to progress.
-To accept the sensation of the stretch,
-To forgive our limitations in order to break them and
- To imbue each breath and each movement with Metta to ensure a soft mind and a soft body.
Say for example,
-when you have had moments in your yoga practice when you feel uncomfortable in an asana and run away from the sensation of the stretch,  this is not acceptance
-  Or when an emotion arises that we don’t want to arise, like anger or jealousy and we push it away or become irritated with ourselvesand this
just ads to the mix of negative emotions.
A better way to go about things,  is to accept what we have and look upon it with Metta. So much so, that the cultivation of  Metta engulfs or consumes and ultimately replaces the anger or jealousy all together.
I love these challenges and triumphs of yoga.
My most favourite experiences as a yoga teacher is when you have a student stumbling around in the dark. Asking the questions, searching for truth,
- "Teacher - what is this union?, When will I see it?"
and as you work together, you also start switch on the their "yoga" light together.
And its like CLICK ! , ah that is yoga. Your students,  they have a light and better vision of their path, their yoga journey...
and love / Metta arises.
Rather than listening to me rabbit on, Lets try it. Just where you are...
Focus on your heart centre plant the seed of Metta in your heart centre fill it with a feeling of warmth and love (at this point is is helpful to think about a person or a thing that brings you a feeling of joy and happiness and cultivate that sensation, for this exercise) and nurture this seed with every breath, so that it permeates every cell in your body and past the body to envelop the entire room.
In this way yoga has taught me what love is. This union that we call yoga is love

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