You Are Here: Yoga and the Map to the Heart

Teacher’s Corner is a blog series written by one of mang’Oh’s most experienced (and well-loved!) teachers, Chintamani Kansas. Chintamani also teaches and mentors at mang’Oh’s Teacher Training each year. We will be posting Teacher’s Corner every two months, featuring a detailed look at issues and topics that are of particular interest to yoga teachers, both new and experienced. We hope you will enjoy Chintamani’s wealth of experience, as well as her fun and witty look at the world of yoga teaching!

Artist: Linda Wilson 

This season we kicked off our 2016 Teacher Training. This is always a sweet and exciting time for mang’Oh! July 31, 2016 we had our orientation to help the new teachers-to-be . . . well, get “oriented.”

In our orientation we discussed the nuts-and-bolts of the program, came together as a community, received gifts to bless the new beginning as we join hands and—together—step over the threshold into this heartfelt endeavor of exploration and growth.

As I was thinking about orientation, I thought about times when I have visited a large park, and there was a huge, beautiful map at the entrance with a big arrow pointing out “You Are Here.” And the rest of the map showed you where you might go!

And it hit me—that is what yoga is, every day. A map to the heart.

Daily life is often crazy. All of us have duties, deadlines, nonstop action. And even if our schedules are momentarily calmer, that doesn’t mean our minds stop thinking.

Have you ever been walking from one place to another, so wrapped up in your thoughts, you suddenly arrived and didn’t remember how you got there? And sometimes we are faced with incredible sorrows in our life. It is part of being human. Being a human being can be disorienting.

Get Oriented—the Body

Every time I roll out my mat or put down my meditation cushion, it is like waking up and seeing the big, beautiful map at the entrance to the park. I am here, in this body. This body may not be perfect, but it is the earth that supports me, and it is healthy and strong enough to be alive and conscious. It is the perfect seat for me to drop into, take a deep breath, and be here now.

Get Oriented—the Mind

Sometimes I am so lost in thought I don’t remember where I am or what I am doing. With this breath, I come to the present moment. The present moment is powerful. In the present I am no longer feeling sorry about the past or worrying about a future that may not even come. In the present I can experience the sweetness of simplicity, the amazing miracle and mystery of being alive.

Get Oriented—the Heart

When I feel disoriented by a surprising encounter in daily life, or the phantasmagoria of my thoughts, I remember the first lesson of yoga is that the True Self is not the mind or body. The True Self is love, kindness, and energy. That is our true nature. Everything else is confusion and noise. If we can still the confusion, it is easy to feel our true hearts. And my true heart says I am love, and we are love. If I am troubled by a surprising encounter, and I look through the lens of love and kindness, the next step is simple. If I am troubled by a disturbing thought, my own heart centers me.

You are here. Yoga is the ultimate guide for finding ourselves. Our True selves. May this practice bring us all strength, health and connection to all that we are.

Call off the Search: You are Found”

Sri Harilal Poonja (Papaji) 

About The Author:

Head ShotChintamani teaches classic and specialty yoga in New York City, and is a longtime Teacher Trainer in the mang’Oh 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training Program. She continues to study yoga, yoga therapy and other healing modalities, including Anatomy, Pilates and Mindfulness Meditation. Chintamani is certified in Embodied Anatomy and Yoga and Kane School Pilates.

Chintamani’s classes blend mindfulness, alignment and joyful movement; encouraging safety and skillfulness, as well as freedom and expression. Chintamani’s mission is to get us all to move, breathe, find our joy, and feel connected and smart.

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