Yesterday I taught my first class at Meredith College. Due to the oddities of scheduling half semester courses our class will meet once more on Friday and then the students will go on Spring break, during which time I will be taking the biggest, most daunting test of my life.
The Anusara Certification written test is the most comprehensive exam of any yoga certification in the industry and generally takes a minimum of 30 hours to complete. When I receive the test tomorrow I will have ten days to complete it. How on earth can an exam take such a long time? Well, it covers everything: anatomy, philosophy, cosmology, metaphysics, yogic texts, alignment principles etc. Also, there is probably a good bit of essay.
I’ve been preparing for this test since I took my first Anusara class in February of 2005. But now I find myself plagued with the old nagging feeling that I am somehow missing some crucial piece of information that everyone else knows. That I’ll only know the answers to half the questions. I’m convinced that my inability to remember the difference between flexion and extension will outweigh all of my other technical and experiential understanding of the practice; that all of my inadequacies will show up in large red letters and I will fail miserably.
And then I remember to breathe. The most basic principle of the practice is to look for the good first. I know the principles forward and backward, inside and out. I know the philosophy, the chakras, the therapeutics. I know that a femur is a thigh bone and that the head of the femur should be snug in the acetabulum. More importantly, I know my experience.
In a profound and sublime meditation I was held under water by Kali, Goddess of Death, Eater of Time, which is to say the Goddess of Great of Liberation. I thrashed and kicked and struggled as she got heavier and heavier, pushing me down, pushing me under. Then I looked up and saw a beam of light expanding through the sea. From nowhere and everywhere a voice, deep and clear said, “You have nothing to fear. Ever.” I stopped thrashing, stopped fighting and surrendered to the violent currents of the sea. And they calmed. There was peace. I was lifted out of the water and into the arms of Christ, radiant in light, exquisite and luminous beyond words, beyond poetry. And there was Love. Nothing but vast, free, precious Love.
So what if I have to look up flexion for the 950th time. I immerse myself in the depths of fear, step into the fire of self-exploration and surrender to the currents of Grace. This is the practice of yoga. This is Anusara. All the details and all the knowledge serve one purpose, to help me guide myself and others on the path of the deep inner Knowing that there is never anything to fear.