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Teacher of July 2007 - Nikki Batthany

Inhale...Who am I? What is my purpose? Why am I here?
Exhale...Who am I? What is my purpose? Why am I here?
Inhale...I am here.
Exhale...I am here.

"Perfection  [In Yoga] is not achieved by wearing the apparel [of a yogin], or by talking about it.  Practice alone is the means to success.  This is the truth, without doubt." Hathayoga-Padipika 1.61
Hmmmm? There's not much to say after that introduction.  Apparently it's all pretty simple but...lets talk about it anyway (perhaps after I buy a new yoga outfit in Space's boutique)!  Analytical by nature, I have the tendency to think and talk things to death.  For a long time I believed there was an "ultimate" answer to the mysterious equation of the universe.  In my search to put this life puzzle together, I stumbled upon the wonderful world of yoga asana.  I was desperately seeking the missing piece to peace outside of me, a sure recipe for disappointment. 
Upon completion of an intense month long teacher training my mind was very heavy.  It was obvious to me that I had approached this experience with very high expectations and strong ambitions although I had convinced myself otherwise.  The puzzle had not been solved, in fact, now I had even more questions.  This was devastating to me at the time; however, in retrospect, I see that I reacted fearfully to the overwhelming quantity of information.  I had barely scratched the surface of all there is to learn.  Alas (or hallelujah) there is no one magic formula to figuring it all out.  There are trillions of possibilities, opportunities and miracles, all within the scope of a single breath.  During these thirty days, I was introduced to the Astanga primary series and I was intrigued not only by the physical challenges, more significantly, by the sense of calm I felt during and after the practice.  It would be a couple of months and a few thousand miles later before I tasted this system's nectar again.  
If someone predicted two summers ago that I would be teaching yoga in Taipei, I would have rolled my eyes and said I had "given up" on yoga altogether.   Try again Nikki.  Here I am, Dorothy in The Land of Oz, and it certainly has been an adventure.  Life in a foreign city is a great way to study the self, to observe actions, reactions, fears, prejudices, creativity, coping skills and adaptability.  Travel has humbled me and certainly opened my eyes.  It's painful at first, or not, depending upon your approach and intentions.  For me it's look out COMFORT ZONE, "hello" DUHKHA!

It's been a constant retreating into my shell and slowly peeking my toes out to test the water, to taste the food, to absorb the culture.  I have been able to witness where avidya (unclear seeing) influences my actions and the results or consequences of my actions.  I can see where I have grown and I can see where I am resistant, ignorant, hanging on, FEARFUL.

There are moments during practice where every part of each asana flows into the other, the breath is a steady rhythm, there is no Nikki, moksha-ahhhhhhh.  I see that life IS complete, it is all a perfect circle, I am a part of this perfect whole-a glimpse, a flash.  BOOM!  Back to self-consciousness, competing with and comparing myself to others, feeling heavy and uncoordinated...I can catch the mind in its game and I don't have to take the bait.  I decide I'm going to let the breath sail the ship, I don't want to be fish-fry tonight.  What'll it be in this moment, in this breath?
-An opportunity to plant new seeds and watch them come to life.

My mantra of late is "RELAX", not just the body but the mind, the heart.  I don't have to be a drama queen, I can be cool- I'm riding the waves...R-E-L-A-X
Fearless, respectful, open, irreverent.

Thank you to everyone at Space and around the globe, you have all been my teachers.

"It is only when the correct practice is followed for a long time, without interruptions and with a quality of positive attitude and eagerness that it can succeed."  The Yoga Sutra 1.14

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