don christensen letter from the director moksha yoga bloor west newsletter greg pacek photography

Letter from the Director | The June Edition 2017

Every studio in the Moksha/Modo community (77 and counting) is guided and inspired by seven philosophical pillars*. These seven principles were chosen to uphold the integrity of what it is our studios offer; an asana practice that spills off our mats by transcending the benefits of our yoga experience throughout our overall behaviour. This all stems from our studio collective’s desire to help create a more peaceful society and a healthier planet.

For close to ten years now those who serve at Moksha Yoga Bloor West move deeper into the yoga of human interaction by way of practicing conscious communication. It’s a practice that supports at least four of the seven pillars (Be Accessible, Live to Learn, Community Support, Be Peace) and it’s a requirement of every teacher, Energy Exchanger and staff member whenever they’re within the walls of the studio, and extending into their inter-studio communication via emails, Facebook, etc.

Realizing that this endeavour/requirement can easily be confused with the attempt or expectation to be perfect, well-behaved yogis while in the studio, the real intent is to empower each of us to connect more with our humanness while doing so in a safe place. The safety comes from knowing we’re in an environment (the studio) where each of us is doing their own work in this way–enabling each of us to communicate with more honesty while trusting that doing so will not compromise our position within this family. In other words, we get to screw it up (sometimes in a big way) and still come out the other end maintaining respect, connection and inclusion.

It doesn’t always work, in terms of addressing all of our differences and some of us are more practiced, intrigued and willing to embrace this work than others. For some though, it has been life changing in terms of how it has enhanced their relationships within the studio and elsewhere, including ending unhealthy relations and strengthening others.

The basic elements of our conscious communication practice include:

No Gossiping. Gossiping within the studio is not tolerated, particularly of subject matter being other staff members or students. Each of us is encouraged to speak up and extinguish any gossip heard, regardless of one’s title at the studio. This itself can be a test of courage–trusting that the practice will protect the individual who steps into this role of leadership.

Go to the source. This is an extension of not gossiping. Should one of us take issue with another staff member, that person is encouraged to approach the other whom is subject, rather than complain to another, or worse: to not say anything at all. This can also be a potent practice of bravery–testing one’s self confidence, self worth and again, the safety of the collective practice of communicating consciously.

Understand first, then be understood. While the majority of all conflict can be attributed to lack of understanding, this is the practice of listening in order to actually feel what is being communicated, rather than to ‘surface listen’ while computing your own response in preparation to be heard. It is also referred to as active listening. It’s at least a temporary dropping of the ego, enabling the listener to receive the cleanest and clearest message being transmitted before blurting out a (likely unskilled) response.

Share your vulnerability. If one of us feels fear or embarrassment around expressing something to someone else, acknowledge this emotion and communicate it to the other. This can be a beautiful initiation of compassion in which to open a potentially uncomfortable conversation.

Find the right time. Pick a time to communicate to another that will not compromise either of their duties at the studio. Always ask permission of the other if the time and place is practical and feels safe.

Ultimately, yoga is about relationships; our relationship to everybody and every thing, and at the heart of any successful relationship is healthy communication. Our conscious communication practice at MYBW is meant to inspire heart-opening. It is this empathetic and compassionate experience that enriches our relationships, both in and out of the studio. None of us is perfect at it though we do our best, and we hope that you feel the effects of a community that cares enough to take the work that little bit further.

See you in the practice room.

Don

*Moksha Yoga’s 7 Philosophical Pillars


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