First learning and then teaching Karman Meditation has been one of my endeavours here in Cambodia since I arrived mid January. And I must say one well worth immersing in. Not only does it teach you how to start your day in a positive way, but also a lot about self-discipline, mindfulness, gratitude and energy we project as well as ways to deal with life’s challenges. Having said that I need to admit that I’ve struggled on a number of occasions on this journey to become a teacher.
Challenge no 1 Memorize the movements
When I look back, the single biggest initial challenge for me was to memorize all the movements. Karman Meditation consists of 14 movements in a particular sequence and this sequence is important. Gosh, did I struggle with it! At the beginning I constantly got everything mixed up, never knew what was to follow, no to mention my posture which was far from perfect. It did help a lot to understand the sequence when Adele told me this in the form of a story. This was actually the breakthrough point for me. After all, it’s not a secret that we learn best through stories. So did I. Finally.
Challenge no 2 Learn the transitions
The movements are quite complex in the sense that almost ever single one of them actually consists of a number of submovements. Once I’ve finally learnt the movements themselves and thought I could call it a day, transitions became another challenge for me. Most of the movements start and end with a Namaste, while some are combined and you have to remember what followes next. Seems like a triffle but it actually is an important element of the Karman Meditation routine as it is crucial to maintain the flow of the practice. If you don’t know how to transition from one move to another, it’s hard to speak of a flow, isn’t it?
Challenge no 3 Keep the posture
Once I learnt all the intricacies of Karman Meditation movements and transitions, another challenge appeared – my posture. Karman Meditation is actually practised in three styles: Yang which involves a lot of resistance and isolation, Yin which does involve resistance but less than Yang, and Silk, which is more of a natural flow without tension. At the WayismCenter we usually teach the Yin style which is halfway between high and no resistance. Still tension and mid-strength resistance are necessary. That means you cannot lose focus, and what is more, you actually need to convey this message effectively to your students too. But that’s another challenge.
Challenge no 4 Speak
Finally when I could say I know the movements, sequence, transitions and posture I had to face the fact that I need to actually speak to the class. Gosh, I’m a pretty talkative person by nature, but talking to a class while performing the movements left me at a loss for words! It seemed to me like multitasking in these two areas was almost impossible! Once I managed to find my words back, I realized that I speak too softly, which means I have to raise my voice accordingly so that all my students can hear me, even at the back. What a discovery! A loud person I am, all of a sudden I’m too quiet and I actually need to speak up. Nerves definitely were getting me here, but awareness does help a lot and I did my best to be conscious of my voice volume to make sure I am hearable.
Challenge no 5 Lead
Once speaking became less of a problem I actually realized that’s an important part of leading a class. But there is more to leading that just speaking. In fact, in leadership positions it’s sometimes even more required to stay quiet and listen. In this case mainly observe. Still having in mind all of the movements and their sequence you have to be able to turn your full attention to your students and monitor their progress, see the way they perform the moves and interpret what is being said. You need to gently let them know that they need to work more on certain elements without actually discouraging them. You, as a leader, give the pace at which meditation happens. You choose, depending on a group, how fast you progress. You decided on the style of the meditation. Leading is a big responsibility. It’s many times down to your leadership if students actually come back to a class and will find the motivation to practise it at home or not. Because everything is a choice. So is teaching. Do it well.