Haven't written much about any of the authorized and certified teachers I've worked with—Tim Miller to Tim Feldman to Alexander Medin and many others since the departure from Asheville of Naomi Worth and John Bultman a few years ago. Also, two inspiring women—Melanie Fawer and Annie Pace—should be added to my unpremeditated list.
With each one of my many teachers, I have had a profound and unique experience, specific to each one's personality. For that reason and possibly due to the ultimately overwhelming occurrences of studying in India with Sharath (about whom I shall try to find words later), I have not said much about them.
However, the time has come to talk about one teacher, David Garrigues.
First of all, any teacher—or anyone—who writes Nisargadatta's words "I AM THAT" on his wall (see above photo) has me without another word. What a beautiful place the shala wall is to inspire awareness! I am everyone who is practicing in that room and everyone who is NOT practicing in that room and beyond! I am the student. I am the teacher. I am the cockroach; the butterfly; the beast; the saint. I am THAT and THAT too.
Now read this quote:
There's nothing, nothing of value that does not require the same level of sacrifice as Ashtanga. Do you see it? Ashtanga is not arbitrarily difficult or demanding-no, the practice provides you with a perfect, explicit model of what it takes to come to the mastery of anything...
...in order to get creative it requires everyone to be empty of this world. Each artist or person on a spiritual quest must find a way to go into a daily renewal of emptying him/herself out of the mundane, material, physical/visible world.
David understands the big picture, not just form and emptiness —but art and artists too!
As for the every day stuff, he definitely gets the physical/visible! Mirroring the practice itself, David is demanding, not always fun, but always enlightening. Take a workshop with him; listen to him break down asanas into doable parts, or watch him ask a class to hold a pose until many of us want to cry! When I don't agree with something he says in class, I am forced to carefully examine the issue for myself. (Student and teacher, Peg Mulqueen, has also described doing this.) Those hot afternoons in the Outer Banks pushed my awareness, body, and ego to the edge. Apparently, ego would have preferred anything rather than to admit some sessions were too much for me. Rocks and hard places!
Another thing, David is like Sharath in the way he knows exactly what everyone is doing at any given moment in a class. He can be turned away from you, working with someone else and speak to you across the room, "Marya! What are you doing? Don't do it that way!"
Maybe the reason I haven't written about David and other wonderful teachers before is because encounters with most of them are similar in their essence and yet so profoundly different on their surface.
With deep gratitude to them all!
We are (all) THAT
We are (all) THAT