Full Learning Happens off the Clock

My new study space at home

My new study space at home

I have loved this study.

It’s been a year since I was a student. Even when I was, the bulk of my work was embroidery, artist statements, book binding and video editing. At the end of my degree my studio was covered in scraps of thread and spilled house paint. I was not cramming in a library.

I bought myself a new notebook and everyday I have sat down to watch a lecture, listen to a podcast or read something. YogaMaze’s Yoga Philosophy Primer is just that, a good introduction to the things someone should know before becoming a yoga teacher. Most other people who take the course are enrolled in RYT programs and this is a requirement of graduation.

Noah Maze paints very broad strokes and open a lot of doors. I assumed 12 sessions meant 12 days of study. There is so much more to know. (A lifetime’s worth) After each session I have gone back to find a documentary or text and spent a day or two on that. Rightly so, After a session on Patanjali I took five days to read Sri Swami Sachinanda’s copy of the Sutras, two commentaries on the grammatical structure and a listened to a podcast series called “Demystifying Patanjali.” Just a scratch on the surface.

Watching lectures and taking notes

Watching lectures and taking notes

One of my favourite discoveries are commentaries and lectures by Dr. Douglas Brooks.

Last week before reading the Bhagavad Gita I listened to two lectures and read one commentary. Then I read an annotated version and spent a day transcribing notes from my kindle on to paper for the sake of understanding it better.

What did not serve me is getting into the mindset of “I must absorb all of this in one month because those are the rules of Big Possible.”

The game changer this month is giving up the one July 1st deadline and spending as much time as I want with these texts. Really slowing down to re-read my own notes, and glossaries, the footnotes. When have I ever tried to study something without a deadline or test?

Full learning happens off the clock.

That’s why July’s intention is ALSO yoga philosophy. I am through 7 or 12 sessions in my course. I’m going to keep this pace and this patience with my curiosity.


Key learning:

-yoga has less and less to do with my body the more I study

-the value of mythic realty, storytelling, oral histories

-If asceticism and over-indulgence are opposite ends of the spectrum, the middle path isn’t about a happy medium, it’s a rejection of extremes

-there are some notions god I dig

-purity, perfection and renunciation aren’t as good as unselfish, devoted work

-there’s nowhere to get, everything important is exactly here


How my practice is changing:

-it’s at a desk more than it’s at a mat

What’s important to me right now:

-riding my motorbike safely

-being weird with kids

-communicating well with Jon

-valuing spiritual/creative ambition more than professional ambition

-presence and curiosity

Hanuman - studying the Rayamana 

Hanuman - studying the Rayamana