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Beginner’s Mind Series 03

water module

In the series Beginner’s mind Mariana Romagnani shares her experience of going through Dynamic Mindfulness Foundational Yoga Teacher Training during a pandemic.

Water Module: Subtly Penetrating 

In the second module of Dynamic Mindfulness Foundational Yoga Teacher Training, the aspects of Water, one of the great elements (Mahabhuta) referred to in Buddhist texts, are taken as a guideline for its progression. In and out of the body, water is experienced as fluid, soft and moist in quality. Water moulds itself revealing characteristics of the contexts it is in, embraces, dissolves and transforms other substances. All pervading, water has its own way of subtly penetrating and changing the states of things.

As the Water module started, a world pandemic process was in course and rapidly reached and escalated in Berlin. A time which seeded fear and anxiety and in which instability and huge unpredictability hit all spheres of society, as well as our personal lives, thoughts and bodies. Maybe more than ever before, our interconnectedness got highlighted. We found ourselves constantly facing the impermanence of all things and an awareness of the vulnerability we are exposed to, through such primary acts like touching and breathing, has arisen. Technology turned out to be the only means through which interpersonal relations became appropriate, and the ways we relate to the screens, our homes and to the ones with whom we live with have been revealed, intensified and transformed. 

With thoughts fogged by the events, struggling with a monkey mind and not being able to digest the fast changes in the order and nature of things worldwide, I’ve faced the need to find a way to sharpen my  focus and to be able to keep up with the learning process I’ve decided to engage in.  Fortunately, a palpable strategy for dealing with all this has been offered, since the beginning of the training, through the Buddhist approach to yoga presented by Dynamic Mindfulness. Now, it was up to me to stop, calm down, see clearly what was present and discern between what was actually within my hands and what was absolutely not. Then, little by little, it began to infiltrate my life, thoughts and actions. 

Learning to move with the waves

I am an immigrant and recent mother who arrived in Berlin less than a year ago and who can barely catch a few German words. The opportunity to join the course was felt as something special not just because of the training and the access to such knowledge, but also for the fact of periodically socializing in a context with people of very different backgrounds, lives, perspectives, and to have a “time for myself” out of home without my baby. At first, the unexpected situation of transitioning the meetings to the virtual space sounded like a downfall and very quickly challenges imposed by the new circumstances appeared to reinforce this idea. No one knew if and how the online training would actually work out. But there are not just one nor two ways of looking and approaching the same situation, but many. Time is a great teacher, and as it was passing, I found out that things were unfolding in its own way and an enriching experience was rising in the core of everyday life and its lockdown organization. 

Any person that has entered a sea with revolving waters knows that in order to be able to get out of it, understanding and using its waves kinetic forces is key. As we had to learn how to deal with a rapidly changing context and as the ability to adapt became required, tools were offered in a way that each of us could find its own pace within each personal organization. Technology made it possible for us to meet even with closed borders, with homes shut. And, although we are the 9th generation of trainees of the foundational yoga teacher training, we are the very first group of students that have been fed by the whole lexicon of Dynamic Mindfulness through video recordings, a large amount of online material accessible whenever needed and possible for each of us.

My inquiry into when, through what and in which ways I commit and make myself able to contribute with the lives of others and its personal journeys of self-study became even more present. As many people dear to me feel dizzy and overwhelmed by the current issues, I decided to offer them online yoga classes and I realized it was also a good excuse to keep close and share the experience of going through all this. As I started to spend some whole weekends locked in the room studying through the course online meetings, my life partner takes care of everything needed so I can fully focus, my baby relearns that we are two beings and finds a way to have fun by imitating some asanas. By now, I can already see that the decision I took to enrol in the training has overflown, watering other people’s lives.