M: Yes, I teach a lot, which gives me daily an additional practice, but my personal practice is pretty fragmented, in the sense that I have 30 minutes segments and it’s based on meditation during postures. I rather choose very few postures which I maintain for a long time and I try to connect with the intention of that posture. Because each posture, having a certain shape, transmits a certain mood. By maintaining the posture longer (a specific element of hatha practice) I can unravel that posture and let it work naturally without trying to change it or imagining something. I just know this is a posture that supports a certain aspect and I let it work. That’s my practice now. Otherwise, I play a lot. I love vinyasa, for instance the Sun salutation series. For me, it’s important to have an intention, to know how I start to work when I have a posture. Otherwise, for me it’s sterile to move without having a focus point, be it the breathing or, in my case, something more profound.
For instance, 108 Sun Salutations, which was a very powerful experience, recently, during an event I held on 21st of June; if I wasn’t teaching and had to talk, I would have been crying. It was so intense because I had read before about its meaning, how it was practiced and its story; about how it’s related to the 108 conditionings of the human being, or desires of the mind, which always distort the reality because one looks at them as they want to see them. Every time you set a desire, you put a filter. If they were colors, there are 108 colors and you never see the true nuance. Each repetition of the sequence dissolves one conditioning. And I can say: now I dissolve my anger, then I dissolve aversion and then any desire I know I have and I meet in my daily life. It can be from the positive specter, for instance, the desire to self-development, to be more, or from the other specter – the desire to respond aggressively to someone. So, when I go through the sequence, it’s like washing that desire and, when it’s done, I put it aside. Each sequence leaves you with less attachment and you feel an increasing sensation of dissolution which I, at that moment, I felt very intensely and I realized it is a very powerful way of practicing, but it involves this openness to allow the dissolving to happen – for some people it comes faster, for some, slower. If what you were holding was more superficial, you can let it go easier; if it was deeper, you hold on to it more and it’s more difficult to let go. For instance, if I say ‘my biggest desire is to become the best in yoga in Romania’ (if there’s anyone thinking like this), when you go through the sequence, you might think ‘what happens to me if I let this go, what will I be without it, what if I stop practicing?’; because this desire makes you move forward, but it is also an attachment that might determine you make some sacrifices along the way, sacrifices that might not be good for your peace or of those around you. It depends on what each person projects. What I noticed is that this practice with intention and especially the one that implies letting go is very powerful but also very challenging. It depends with what you start. Because the stronger the desire, the stronger the feeling, the effect. And maybe it’s better to do this in a retreat, in an environment that supports you to let go to something you strongly hold on to. When you do this by yourself, maybe you start with something lighter, to have traction and to start feeling something.
S: You explain beautifully the 108 Sun Salutations practice.
M: It is a physical effort. In my case, after 30 sequences, there was an effervescence that was new to me. It was easier to open, easier for things to happen. It is as Ty Landrum, a teacher dear to me, whom I met in India, said. He has a PhD in philosophy and is very good in yoga mythology and he can explain in an easy to understand manner what these characters we hear about – Shiva, Shakti – symbolize. The rational mind doesn’t work with symbols; the more profound ones does. Ty says that yoga practice helps you dissolve the barriers you built involuntarily and which prevent this deep interior force to manifest in your conscious mind. With this practice, as you open up, it is easier to connect with this energy, intelligence, intuition that comes from within and which is a wonderful thing, I think. In the few moments I had the opportunity to experiment it, I realized the world is very different from what the pragmatic mind perceives. It is like the diagram of an iceberg. And even there, the tip is too big compared to what we know. After all, what we know rationally is limited to what we experience during our lives. We’re young and there’s a limited number of experiences we lived and through which we look at things, but we are on this earth as a life form for infinitely longer, so the knowledge is infinitely larger than the one I know at the rational level. So, with yoga practice, I think it’s about having these experiences that open you up and then, at the right moment, to have an experience so strong that resonates with the pragmatic mind. They say that experience is so strong that it changes the mind you use daily. Otherwise, there’s our daily behavior, and then there are a few short moments when we feel we are connected with more elements around us, but they go away. And we think, ‘yes, there’s an effect, but I behave the same with my parents, at work I’m still stressed’. Maybe, in general, you behave the same, but something changed. It’s difficult to assess the difference in the level of stress from five years ago. Maybe you’re still stressed, but maybe you’re at 88% compared to five years ago. Maybe you don’t perceive the 12%, but they happen. That’s why it is important to continue, because it transforms, and we can’t control rationally the pace of the change. You can ‘t say ‘I want the change to happen by the day after tomorrow’. This is another desire that occurs as a door in front of what develops naturally inside you. It is hard to take the foot off the gas pedal and let things happen naturally, but that’s the best way: just practice without a purpose, without planning for something to happen by tomorrow and let the nature of your body to find solutions for change.
S: I think it is a long way from your beginnings at World Class to what you’re talking about now.
M: It’s that moment when your experience is deep enough to change the things you think of frequently or the way you do things. It is a huge step. It’s like climbing a mountain that has several hills, with the highest peak coming the last. At the first hill, you climb, climb, climb, without knowing how far to the top, and, at some point, you see something you’ve never seen before. And this gives you strength to go further. You don’t know how many peaks there are, you only have the joy to know that change happens and that something might come, which will open your horizons in a new way. It’s as if you worked in a secret agency and you know things nobody else knows. And this brings enthusiasm, but also responsibility to manage these things afterward. Because we have things to do, families, jobs… how do you manage to get back and not stay in your bubble? Because many of those who have a spiritual practice tend to be bohemian, un-anchored in whatever else they have to do; they think material life is not important, that what happens here is not important, that it is transient anyway. And, for those around them, it is difficult. Because they’re still involved in these things and, if you’re disruptive, if you ‘re the one floating while the others are grounded, it’s difficult to fit in. So, the challenge is to be involved in the reality, but still maintain this quality, like a perfume diffusing around you, teasing the noses of those around you. The challenge is to keep this balance. It’s important to still be pragmatic, to still run a business and to bring my practice in the things I do by creating a new way of doing things. Maybe the way I do things or I talk to people feels different inside me and, consequently, reflects differently around me. I think it’s like during the practice when I pay attention to my breathing and I intervene when something changes. If you make periodical adjustments, you can maintain this work-spiritual life balance. This is the challenge of the new generation; because we’re confronting with very different things than two thousand years ago; how do we refrain from going in the mountains or stay only in retreats?!
Suav: What do you do?
Mircea: I feel my life is at a point of change, because it is still bohemian; I only teach yoga and I don’t have a job, I only promote this practice through various means – in companies, at studios or events. The most I am involved in this modern life is by interacting with people from companies; I try to find solutions for them to take on some elements and change the way they do things at work or how they interact with others. But I have this desire to make more external projects, to transfer this practice in several types of projects. The ones I’ve done so far are of small scale and I did them by myself. But the ones I’m planning can’t be done alone and that is my challenge. And maybe that’s why I was procrastinating. But maybe it was not procrastination, maybe I prepared for the moment I will do something on a bigger scale. And hopefully I will have better skills to manage it while keeping this easiness to be, to see and do things without getting caught in the storm of a tensed or agitated business life.
To be continued…