Opening to Insight: A Yoga Intensive with Donna Farhi

I’ve just returned home from a 5-day intensive with New Zealand yoga teacher and author Donna Farhi. I wish you could have joined me for this workshop of incredible depth. The experience has re-energized my personal practice and strengthened my love for sharing and teaching the beautiful tradition of yoga.

Farhi believes that western culture has an inability to deal with fatigue. During one of her lectures, she and a student role-played the following conversation:

Student: “I’m thirsty.”

Donna: “Would you like some salted peanuts?”

Student, “I’m thirsty.”

Donna: “Would you like to lay out in the sun?”

Student, “I’m thirsty.”

Donna: “Would you like to take a brisk walk around the block?”

Student, “I’m thirsty.”

It was a strange thing to witness, both funny and uncomfortable. After the dialogue she asked: “Would you ever treat your thirst with salted peanuts?” I hope you would answer her question with a resounding no! But take a moment to reflect on whether or not you use this logic to deal with your fatigue. Most people don’t get enough sleep at night, but convention doesn’t allow for a 20-minute power nap in the office. In fact, convention hardly allows for a quick nap in the comfort of our own living room. Unlike drinking water when thirsty, taking a few moments to lie on the floor with our legs on the couch when tired is often perceived as indulgent or lazy. Why is this?

How do you handle your fatigue (and stress)? These are issues we all deal with, but few of us actively employ coping mechanisms to manage them.

As my practice and study of yoga deepen, I continue to be overwhelmed by the richness of this tradition. The more I learn the more I realize there is to learn. Yet I know that yoga isn’t something to be mastered; it’s a practice to be ‘lived into’ every day. Part of the practice of yoga is paying attention to who and where we are in each moment of life. Living isn’t static and our practice shouldn’t be either. When we pay attention to the physical, energetic, emotional and mental sensations constantly moving through us, we are better able to adapt our practice in ways that support a life of balance and joy. This is the heart of yoga–self-awareness that leads to transformation and happiness.

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