03 Editorial

As students of yoga, we open ourselves to exploration and contemplation: getting to know ourselves, what we find meaningful, how best to take care of ourselves, and how we treat others. This issue of Radiant Living brings together stories from our RLY community illustrating some of the ways in which we are sharing and growing in our wisdom.

The teachers who have made the greatest impact on me have been those who balance the seriousness of the teachings with not taking themselves too seriously as individuals. Their ways of passing along wisdom has been in the form of teaching yoga and meditation in an accessible (and very often, humorous) manner that is also profound.

When I was a newly qualified teacher, I felt in awe of this ability to seemingly effortlessly communicate wisdom. If I tried to repeat the same sentences, I felt like a parrot, and it did not feel very genuine. Over time what we discover our own wisdom through attentiveness to our lives. Wisdom comes gradually. Going to group classes, workshops, trainings, reading, and devoting time to our own practice are all ways to cultivate this inner self-study. Then we teach from integrating what we have learned.

This is what Jason Crandell taught us when he was at Radiant Light Yoga Antwerp earlier this year (and I’m paraphrasing it here): ‘You don’t have to learn it ALL right now’. I found this such a refreshing reminder that we aren’t just going through a list of ‘yoga things-to-do’ before we become somehow more yogic. We are not more spiritually advanced if we can do the tricky arm balancing asana. Rather, when we open ourselves to experiencing different teachers, or trying a new yoga class, learning a new posture, we are participating in our own development. Indeed, Jason Crandell also encouraged us to engage in other modalities and learn from the wisdom there too. Our own Lama Nasser has created a popular ‘Yogalates’ class using this very approach: she combines wisdom of yoga with the wisdom of pilates.

Our sparks of wisdom come from being attentive to our experience (the positive experiences as well as the challenges). For example, trying something new can help us to understand more about our own body/mind practice. Engagement in our own self-study is known as Svadhyaya, one of the Niyamas (or ‘observances’). We can get to know our own habitual choices and to open to learning something new about ourselves. This open-ness toward paying attention is a central theme of the MBCP (Mindfulness Based Childbirth and Parenting) course. Radiant Light Yoga teacher Emily Gold attended a 9 week programme at RLY Brussels, and wrote about how this awareness of her inner wisdom unfolded during her pregnancy and the birth of her son.

As students of yoga, we are all part of the lineage of wisdom-sharing. Teachers have learned and integrated through practice and life, then their enthusiasm for this wisdom gets shared with us as students. It is this very joy of teaching that has brought about a new venture at Radiant Light Yoga. In January 2018 we are beginning our first teacher training: Yoga Fundamentals. We relish the opportunity to have a full year for learning, integrating, and for cultivating self-study.

This manner of being open to the wisdom of other teachers, different modalities, and indeed to our own self-study is a way that we keep yoga relevant to our lives. Yoga is always evolving. When we tap into the awareness (rather than always focusing on the object of our attention, such as the asana) we discover the way in which our practice is actually our life.

Living radiantly,

Join Kristen each week for classes at Radiant Light Yoga Brussels AND ANTWERP