I joke (but I know there are those out there who agree) that living in New York City is like staying in a bad relationship. A quick link to anxiety, stress, depression, self-destruction and hysteria; You fight to leave then leave and fight to come back for more. This city really is a gritty, pounding place to be and if for one moment you forget to live with wild curiosity, lightheartedness, and deep, deep breath, then you’re a gonner. Done for. Called for dead. And no one cares. No one. They cant because they cant feel you. Well, they can, but they don’t know how. That is where I come in. It is my mission to develop the attentiveness of others.
The more responsible you become for yourself, the more responsible you become for other people. And if you can, its your duty to help them. It’s a burden we bear on this path, weather you like it or not; Its just that way. But when there are startling numbers of distraught and devastated and broken people around you, sometimes you think that you should be broken too. So you break yourself. The only difference is you know what it’s like to be unbroken, so you piece yourself back together and start all over.
Its these feelings that drive me to look for guidance. for more teachings. I know its out there for me to tap into whenever I want it, but I have been relying on catalysts – fasting, psychedelics, retreats, asana even, to induce this awareness into me. And sometimes the strong side effects last pretty long, but never are they lasting. There is a permanent source, and I realized that this is the well that I have been digging.
This is my well. I can smell the water and its driving me mad. I’ve tasted it and its driving me even more mad – insane sometimes. Its exhausted me so I sleep. Its enlivened me and I dig harder. Its made my body weak, so I sit – shovel in my hand and dirt on my face, heart pounding; I want to keep going but I cant so I just sit. Its made my mind weak so I turn around to climb back out. Then again my imagination, my remembering of the taste carries me on again.
This ride makes me so desperate sometimes to find someone that can be a fixture of inspiration. Someone who knows first hand this source, this drink, this drug of all drugs – not so I can be told a story of how it has changed their lives, but rather so I can extract from them, through their energy, an understanding of this source. So I may cultivate a sustained peace and teach equanimity from an experiential place.
One of the most inspirational teachers I have had the good fortune to know is Katite Gumucio, who lives maximum capacity in every moment, relentlessly. Wether exercising compassion, or discipline, or silence, or whatever it may be, her ability to move from moment to moment and understanding of what should be done or said in any given circumstance to maximize the potential lesson learned is astounding to me, and burns my curiosity to connect deeper to my own mind body connection, so that I may be more sensitive to the intricate workings of the world around me.
In order to do this, I need the structure, outline, discipline and high standards like those set at Agama to accomplish my next goals as a yoga teacher, so that I may communicate better with my students. I am a volunteer yoga teacher at Hosh Yoga in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Although I am involved with other studios, this space has been vital to my understanding of selfless service. The deep and genuine gratitude that comes from these practitioners is moving in a way that I can’t quite break into words and because of this I am driven to learn more so I can give them more. The space and students and community deserve well rounded, versed, and knowledgeable teachers. The more that I can develop my own person, the more I can share with those who choose to participate in an entirely self sustained space.
These are students that show up on the mat because they want to commit to regular practice and now have a place where they can do that freely. Agama is an all encompassing program that focuses on terminology and practices linking to the energetic and spiritual body, which is the next step for me. To place concepts that I know now from an experiential place into language and techniques that can be easily understood by others is my goal.
I could exhaust a novel of reasons why Yoga is vital to my development and how the practice has shifted my person in physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual ways. I could go on and on about my practice and how from my own experience I am wanting and able to pass pieces of this lineage on. But this really isn’t about me…
2012 Yoga Scholarship Essay
By: Robyn Polo
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