Mirka Scalco Kraftsow, molto serenamente
No, I didn’t realize when I sat down to listen to Mirka today that she is the wife of Gary Kraftsow (whom I wrote about yesterday), and all I have to say is way to GO, Gary! Man, I would love to be a fly on the wall in that marriage…I imagine lots of levitating and spoon-bending…
Mirka Kraftsow could be described, I think, as a yoga goddess. Not the flashy siren-type goddess, no; Mirka is of the velvet-voiced Italian soul-of-a-poet school of goddesses, and her workshop today, The Path of the Teacher, about nourishing your personal practice, was on a topic too juicy to pass up. And man, I’m glad I didn’t.
Interestingly, I’ve been speaking with other teachers recently about the idea of “living” one’s yoga – what that means and how it is achieved – and Mirka Kraftsow is such a shining example of a woman who embodies that principle. And I don’t just mean that she’s, um… sunny and upbeat (which she is); no, the embodiment I’m talking about is happening on a much deeper level. In words, in thought and in behavior, Mirka exemplifies the deepest principles of yoga – the edicts set forth in the eight-limb path and the ancient texts – and it is this practice of living the teachings that she encourages all of us to partake in as a path towards nourishment.
She spoke a lot about practice as remembrance…that the art of practicing, whether it’s yoga or pranayama or meditation, is less about perfecting some skill and more about this act of reminding ourselves what it is we know and have forgotten. And this makes so much sense to me, because we do forget – or, I forget, at least – over and over again, sometimes many times in a day. And so the asana and the breath-work and the mantra, it can really be, as Mirka described it, like the bells of her girlhood village in Italy, which used to ring out in the afternoons to bring the citizens in for their rest.
What a beautiful way to think about our work, especially we who are teachers…not just as one more thing to get accomplished, but as this whisper of a bell, which we ring ourselves, that reminds us to come back and come back and come back.
Mirka also presented several questions that a practitioner could ask as a way of beginning his or her personal practice, and my favorite of the bunch was, “What is my medicine today? What is it that I want to remember?”
Sigh, sigh, and double sigh.
The truth is that having and maintaining a personal practice can be difficult. The truth ALSO is that approaching practice as a means of nourishment…makes it seem a little less difficult. So often, I have come to my mat, or to my meditation pillow, or even to my journal with this sense of “I don’t know what this is but I’m going to explore it.” And there’s nothing wrong with that, but maybe it’s only scratching the surface of the kind of intimacy and transformation that’s possible in a personal practice. Maybe creating a ritual and asking ourselves what it is we have forgotten that we want to remember today, on this day, for this 20 minutes, or hour, or afternoon, is a much more powerful way to enter into the deepening of the relationship with ourselves.
But, don’t take my word for it. Check out Mirka Scalco Kraftsow, and get your own breath taken away…and then given beautifully back to you.
[tags]Mirka Scalco Kraftwos, virtual world yoga conference, yoga teacher, Gary Kraftsow[/tags]