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October 6, 2012

Yoga Journal Estes: Richard Freeman: Yoga is Where We Meet. ~ Robyn Lawrence


“The fastest path to excelling at asana, pranayama or meditation is to learn how to place all sentient beings inside your heart.”

Last night, Richard Freeman’s talk focused on how prana, the vibratory quality of any sense perception, moves chitta, the thought process or the mind. He said the state of our chitta can be determined by our relationships with others. We experience everything from our “circle of me,” which has a theory about everyone we meet.

“This is our sealed suffering system,” he said. “I am really a disembodied theory of myself experiencing my theory of you. “

The yoga is where we meet, Richard said, where the in-breath meets the out-breath.

The fastest path to excelling at asana, pranayama or meditation is to learn how to place all sentient beings inside your heart. Human beings are the most challenging to find a place for, he conceded, and even our enemies, detractors and tyrants have to be in there because “essentially, they are you.”

“That doesn’t mean you don’t see what their game is,” Richard said. “But they’re in your heart because you can see clearly through their ego game and your ego game.”

Richard promised at the end of his talk that I would be happy if I put all sentient beings in my heart, and he said that all the sentient beings in my heart have all sentient beings in their hearts.

I’d spent the day opening my heart with Ana Forrest, but I drove back home to Boulder last night knowing that there are still a few people it might not be open enough to include.

I went to Richard’s “From Surya Namaskara to Arm Balancing” class this afternoon to get a little more help. I was in luck. He said that everything is related to Surya Namaskara.

We broke down Surya Namaskara, and we spent time aligning our shoulders. Richard said proper alignment always feels good as opposed to looking good, which just makes us miserable.

He looked out at us a few times after upward dogs and downward dogs and said, “Interesting.” I spent far too much time in my head with my theories about why he said that.

Richard brought us from the basics to pincha mayurasana, “feathered peacock pose,” as promised. I can do that one only with a block between my hands, which I don’t actually even touch. I knew blocks aren’t cool in Richard’s tradition, but I wanted to do the pose. More junk for my head as I pondered that dilemma.

Then Richard let the girl who demoed the pose use a block. He said it could be helpful.

“If you want to remain orthodox, just don’t touch it,” he said.

I put the block between my hands and went upside down. Interesting.

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