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Teacher of Febuary 2007 ─ Naichin Tang


A story

There is a well-known Zen story where a Zen master takes a sheet of blank paper and sketches upon it the image of a bird, wings spread in flight.  He holds it up in front of his students and asks what they see when they look at the drawing.  The students reply: “ An eagle!” “A seagull!” “A bird!”   The master shakes his head.  “No,” he responds, “It is a sky with a bird in it.  You are only seeing the bird.”

The nature of the mind is that its attention is drawn to what is most salient – anything that is moving, loud, fragrant or sensory.   But there is also a place from which all of these experiences arise.  Yoga will take you there.  People call this place the center, the essence, consciousness, or the inner universe.   With training of yoga, we can register this place and become able to exist simultaneously in both the world of the senses and the world beneath those senses.

Coming home

Before my yoga training, I (my conscious) was hardly “at home”, or to say, “ sleeping”.  I chased all the shining, glittering things in life, all the material symbols - fortune, fame, appearance, credentials, popularity, etc. As far as getting to know who I was, I left it to fortunetellers.

I often felt the emptiness in my heart.  I couldn’t really pinpoint what was lacking.  I just felt something was missing.  There was a void.  Then it came to this point in my life, as if I had climbed to a mountaintop.  Looking back, I saw the experiences that deviated from my heart; looking forward, I foresaw something new, the immense possibility and liberation.  So I jumped off the cliff from the mountaintop.  Trusting the flow would carry me through, deep down, I knew I would be flying up high again.  This time, my heart would lead the way.

It is said that you get what you ask from the universe.  On the following “falling-from-the-cliff” days, I saw the illusion of security of which the material world seemed provided.  I was in full contact with my fear  -- until I fell into the arms of yoga.

I started asana practice at the age of 33.  Even worse than most of the beginners, I couldn’t link the action of my hands and feet, let along getting the body into bending or twisting.  With endurance and persistence, I tried to stop my chattering thoughts; keep coming back to my breath, my practice. On the path of creating more “tapas” for deep cleansing, I kept refining myself with my heart - to celebrate life, to devote my light to the Supreme.

I want to give my special thanks to Institute of Integrative Nutrition, for leading me onto the path of holistic living. I owe my greatest gratitude to the following teachers:  Louisa Sears and Dena Kingsberg, who have helped planting the seeds of yoga in me.  Bruce Bowditch, who have opened the wonderful door of Anusara, and shared his powerful knowledge with me.  John Friend, whose enormous love and inspiration, empowered me to combine my sensitivity, creativity, and skills, to lead the students to their magical place within.

Connection of the hearts

It is one of the greatest privileges in my life to be able to share yoga with you, my dearest friends.  Thank you for taking my hands, showering me with your love.  During the lifelong practice, we all encounter laziness, struggle, fear, and doubt.  But with surrendering, devotion, courage and steadfastness, we will experience even more joy, love, compassion, and acceptance.  By cultivating the shakti within, we come to realize that we are really much bigger than what we think. By doing the practice of softening our individuality to connect with something bigger, we naturally tap into the flow that is so-call magic.  

When we connect with our hearts, we become one.

A vision

In our practice, let’s fuel our intention with willpower and yet remain child-like playfulness.  With our heart remain open and sensitive, we will sing in a way that in tune with the bigger melody, and we will radiant in a way that enhances the whole beauty.

Real yoga starts in real life, not just in the classroom.  Let’s choose to add more harmony, more happiness and laughter, to transcend not just our lives, but also the lives of all.

To the one big spirit that pulse in each on of us, we bow.

Namaste,

Naichin

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