30 Hours – Part I

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.

8 Comments on “30 Hours – Part I

  1. You are wrapped in the arms of Love always. You know all you need to know for this test and Wisdom will shine through you.

  2. Melinda,
    I love this post and your journey with Kali & Jesus is super sweet to me, I love it, thank you for sharing! Yes I’ve found faith & surrender, calmness & compassion for ourselves helps so much in every moment.
    And did you know that writing this blog probably helped ease your test anxiety. I just received this little write up from National Science Foundation, and immediately thought of you & this blog, though not in a classroom setting I think it’s still applicable “A new study says writing about test-related worries for 10 minutes immediately before taking an exam is an effective way to improve test scores in classroom settings. The work was funded by NSF’s Directorate for Education and Human Resources, and was described in a Science magazine research report titled “Writing About Testing Worries Boosts Exam Performance in the Classroom.”
    The researchers concluded that the writing exercise provided students with an opportunity to unload their anxieties before taking the test and thereby freed up brainpower needed to perform successfully–brainpower that is normally occupied by testing worries. The study’s authors also say this type of writing may help people perform their best in a variety of pressure-filled situations–whether it is a speech to an audience or a job interview.”

    Much Love!!!!

    • Thanks Meghan! This study is just great. I love it when science confirms what we already know. More importantly, I am glad that you too have found faith and surrender, calmness and compassion and the powerful, positive affects of both.

  3. Melinda,
    You have described an experience of the Transfiguration. What a blessing to read your post as I prepare my sermon for this Sunday, the day we read the scripture of the Transfiguration. This helps me as I have the privilege of bringing 14 second graders forward for First Intentional Communion.
    Much love,
    Dad

    • Thanks Dad. I’m glad it helps. Interestingly, the first part of this piece was floating around in my head, then I read Adam’s sermon from last Sunday and was reminded about the second part, which is really the point.
      Love you,
      Melinda

  4. So perfect. I think we all go through that, with the Certification process and many other things in life. We’re not meant to know it all – how could we ever?! But you know more than enough to walk the path you have chosen. And it’s the heart, the intent, that carries you through to the specifics and details.

    When I wrote my test, I breathed a sigh of relief when I saw that, even though it took time, I had the answers (or at the very least knew where to look in order to remind myself what they were.) I had a monumental experience of great love and connection to Light at one point when I took the exam, and cried out of gratitude for the experience.

    Blessings to you and your path, and all of us who walk side by side as we share the beauty that is Anusara yoga.

  5. Good luck from a fellow biting tine bites in the leaf of Anusara knowledge toward certification exam.

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