Yoga and the physician’s healing touch

We’ve given you the sublime (or is it the ridiculous?) of asana and our dear teacher, Tim Miller (and, really, click on that link if you haven’t seen what we uncovered), so now will offer the counter pose: Tim on the heavens and the end of his two-week teacher training.

It’s all about healing, which is probably timely. I just spoke with Bobbie — post an intense pranayama and even more intense Mysore practice — and I think she may be in the mood for some healing. Here’s a bit from Tim’s weekly blog:

The full moon on Friday at 6:58am will be occupying the Nakshatra called Shatabishak—the “Hundred Physicians” associated with Varuna, the lord of cosmic and celestial waters . Varuna holds a pot of Soma, the ambrosia of the gods, and also some medicinal herb, suggesting the idea of both intoxication and rejuvenation. Shatabhishak promotes healing on all levels of existence through the Divine Waters provided by the Hundred Physicians.


It will be nice to finish the course while under the influence of Shatabhishak—the hundred physicians forming a circle of healing—or in our case, a circle of thirty wannabe physicians. All of the students have been around long enough to appreciate the healing potential of yoga and to recognize that there are dimensions of yoga that go way beyond the physical. Every day we do Pranayama and Asana and plod our way methodically through the second series, allotting ample time for stories and bhajans.

Tim finishes off with this suggestion:

The full moon will heighten all of our emotional bodies and perhaps many “Little Rivers” will flow and we will all experience rejuvenation and healing as Varuna pours his pot of Soma in our direction. I strongly suggest that everyone take the “Healing Waters” in some form on Friday—I’m going body surfing!

I’m going to do my best to heed that, although my Friday is busy. I may be able to sneak out for a quick surf session as the sun sets.

One other important point to note from Tim’s blog. Bobbie’s already talked about how there is the evident continuing evolution of Ashtanga in the training.  But it isn’t just the practice, it is also the students and the teacher who are evolving. Tim writes:

I always find in these trainings that I am learning as much as the students are, and that, at times they are teaching me. Today I learned a new adjustment in Mayurasana from Alicia Johnson, who learned it from her teacher, Casey Palmer, in Portland.

That strikes me as what will ensure that Ashtanga remains vibrant, alive and valuable to old and new students alike: the openness to the evolution. I know the changing, or not changing, of Ashtanga, its sequence, adjustments, etc. is one of those topics, but from at least the parampara we are receiving from Tim, I find it clear that change and improvement is part of the method. (After all, aren’t we doing yoga to change and improve ourselves, in the sense of getting rid of samskaras and breaking through the outer koshas to our true, non-dualistic selves?)

Although, at the same time, there’s an obvious balance between adhering to the method and launching into something entirely different. Where that balance is, I suppose, is up for discussion.

Ours rests on Tim.

Posted by Steve

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Two Ashtangis write about their practice and their teachers.

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