This month I have been in Dharamsala in the Himalayas of India, staying in Bhagsu, a little village just a stone’s throw from the Dalai Lama’s monastery and temple (he is here on Monday, so I am going to hear him speak). I have been here intensively studying to be a yoga teacher, and today I taught my first lesson of Vinyasa flow yoga for my exam. What has yoga got to do with theatre, or collaboration? I hear you ask. Well, since I have been here I have been learning yoga philosophy and one of the eight essential elements of yoga practice are the YAMAS. These are the first limb of Patanjali’s eight limbed yoga system, and a way to approach living your life.
When working with anyone it is important to know yourself, which of course can take a life-time to master. Before you read the first limb of yoga, take a moment to think about yourself and how you see the world…
Read the quote below from the poet and inspirational ballad writer, Frederick Langbridge. Which of these men are you?
‘Two men look through the same bars: one sees the mud and the other sees the stars.’
Remember that when you are working with others they come with a completely different perspective to you, they have a different lens through which they see the world. In my class this morning I asked the students the same question then followed it up with…. ‘as you travel through the slums of India do you see the rubbish or do you see the smiling child standing next to it?’ The answer to this question tells you a lot about yourself and others.
When you start to work with others, perhaps these 5 YAMAS will help you determine how you treat others and the world around you:
AHIMSA or non-violence. This does not only mean not doing harm to others in thought and in deed, but also to practice acts of kindness to oneself and others.
SATYA or truthfulness. This is about being truthful to yourself and others, thinking before you speak, and considering the consequences of your actions.
ASTEYA or non-stealing. This is not only about stealing material possessions, but also others ideas and other materials (academic honesty!!!). It is also about keeping secrets that you have been entrusted with.
BRAMACHARYA or discipline. This is about self-control and moving towards truth. It is about not giving into your ego or taking anything to excess.
APARIGRAHA or non-possessiveness. This is about living a life without greed, so you do not take advantage of anyone or any situation. It is about using our powers correctly and not exploiting others.
(The ‘Eight Limbs of Yoga’ from Patanjai’s system, adapted from the Mahi Yoga School Handbook, p13)
When you start to collaborate with any group for the Collaborative Project or on a production you may want to try implementing these YAMAS, or maybe you will be inspired to do some yoga, which is the path to the union of mind, body and soul!
Good luck. Enjoy seeing the world through many lenses, and working with others to the best of your ability.