The teacher trainees and others who were interested in this theme gathered at an Okido Yoga residential seminar in the weekend of 21 - 23 February 2014, in Laren Dojo, Holland. After arrival on Friday evening, all participants enjoyed chamomile compress.
From Saturday morning till Sunday lunchtime, I gave a total of 11 hour lessons in 3 blocks. This was the second intensive seminar on the same theme following February 2013, with a different approach.
In Okido Yoga, Asana is a practice of the state of dhyana in one action whether it is static or dynamic. Body, Mind and Breathing are to be united in one action.
In order for the participants to experience this, I neither chose advanced asanas due to their individually different conditions nor asked them to do any poses so many times. Instead, in their first trial of one asana I explained the points which must be covered in their awareness, and then I said, 'Now please do for the other side (or once more) under your own instruction'.
Engaging one's mind thus responsibly is essential for this three-hold principle: coordinating Body, Mind and Breathing. When I noticed any important points were not applied well, I showed again with somebody being a model. So, they had to observe more properly, which is another important mental attitude for this process.
With slow and deep approach, 3 hours of each block pass fast. When lying down for Savasana, they immediately respond: no lips are closed tightly, some are gently snoring, nobody moves, silent time passes by, and then the whole room changes its atmosphere. I silently stand or sit nearby, witnessing all of this ...
Apart from my lessons, Mizue led the morning chanting with the Heart Sutra and explained the meaning of 'void' from the point of view of Okido Yoga. The teacher trainees also reviewed Do-in exercises with Hatsuko. The other staff Katrien and Vera supported all to go smoothly in almost silent communication.
This was my third weekend seminar with Tomoko and I was looking forward to it. In general, it felt like a deepening of experiences that I lived during the weekend last year.
The principles of do - be -do, not going to the "end point" in one go, but with intermediate stops at which you reconsider: "do I go further?" or "do I reset?" went deeper into my mind and body. These stops were not a simple break or rest in the exercise, but really points for evaluation of mind and body. I felt once more that the most difficult part is not to "do", but to "be" and really feel what my body wants, more than thinking what my mind wants to achieve. And this without having bad feelings of giving up when I push the reset button.
I found it amazing on the first day, how quickly the day passed. In the late afternoon I first felt as if I was still completely fresh, not having done a lot... until the moment where I was really calm and reflective enough to realize how relaxed I was. And in my whole body, every muscle, every nerve seemed to be completely relaxed. My breathing was calm and deep. My breathing tells me how my posture and my mind are and this time it told me that I was very relaxed and down to earth.
The standing positions are some of my favourite asanas, but I realized that I hadn't really got them. Before this weekend seminar, I had never put enough weight or pressure on my foot at the back, which had made me always put strain on the foot and knee in front.
Following how Tomoko suggested, I could feel my breathing was better, I was more stable and could stay much longer in the asana without "struggling". My upper body felt lighter.
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