Deepening Yantra Yoga or How I Renewed an Old Love Affair with Yantra Yoga in 8 days
An 8 day course with Laura Evangelisti at Dzamling Gar
January 6-13, 2023
by Naomi Zeitz
As an older person in age and also in the time I have been studying and practicing Yantra Yoga, as well as being involved in working with people with some limitations of age and/or flexibility and doing some training in the chair, maybe I have become a bit lazy in body, speech and mind, and I fell into an established comfortable pattern of not pushing too much. For example, I think it might have been 2 years since I really attempted the Vajra Wave in its totality. (It is still applied with my particular style.)
The course with Laura was an awakening for me, and I think not only for me. The feedback we received was that everyone was very, very pleased with the tone of the course, the material covered and also just the general warmth and camaraderie among the instructors and all the participants that was modeled by Laura in how she was teaching and guiding. It was a wonderful environment in which to learn, stretch limits (literally and figuratively) and practice together.
First of all, the physical presentation of the course was done in a circle, since Laura said she felt more comfortable in that kind of formation as opposed to being in the front and having everyone facing only to her. This way we all faced each other and this made for a much more open experience and lent itself to easier participation and sharing.
Practicing together in this way is something that everyone commented on; for instructors it is so wonderful to be able to practice together and create a kind of unison of movement that is thrilling for people who spend a lot of time teaching and correcting; also for participants to observe, participate, learn and feel the potential of knowing Yantra Yoga so well that there is no more thought or struggle with movement, but a flow and sensation of pleasure and relaxation from the smooth and precise execution of movements.
Laura’s detailed, generous and kind explanations of movement and pranayama led us to be able to enter the experience and be with our own capacity and condition, and literally deepen our experience of the entirety of Yantra Yoga. We spent a lot of time on working with pranayamas and as Laura explained, this is really the heart and aim of the practice. We were all able to take time, to understand deeply and to truly enter this marvelous system of trulkhor.
Laura reminded us of the source of the teachings often referring to stories, experiences and the famous text of Vairocana, now called the the Yantra Yoga “bible”. We were also fortunate to watch a very old video of Laura, Fabio and Adriano working with Rinpoche on the veranda of Merigar on the now famous book. This was very touching and delightful.
Instructors were called upon to lead some of the practices, so each day another instructor would participate in that way and would also receive some corrections and fine tuning in the process. Also instructors were encouraged to share observations, experiences, understandings, and also to ask questions and clarify doubts. And for the participants it was the same.
The group was around 20 people ages spanning from 16 years old to 80 years old. This also added to the richness of the course.
For a few evenings we had some meetings only for instructors where we discussed our experiences as instructors and also the future of Yantra Yoga. Hopefully there will be more communication regarding these topics to share with all the international instructors.
We hope to be able to offer more of these deepening courses with Laura at Dzamling Gar and we invite everyone, instructors, and those quite familiar and experienced in Yantra Yoga, to participate. The beautiful Gönpa offers a spacious and spectacular vista filled practice space and we look forward to seeing you all here to enjoy the beauty and uniqueness of Dzamling Gar.