A translated excerpt from a Manduka x Yoga Journal China article titled: “Because I met you, my life is completely different | 3 life-changing stories of yoga teachers and students“.
The article was first published on 10 September 2020 and it is in the form of an interview by Manduka with Cecilia Li on her experience being Vincent Bolletta’s student.
Began to learn yoga because of hobby
Become a student of Vincent because of doubt
Cecilia first learned about yoga when she saw Cymbidium Yoga on TV. At first it was only a hobby but eventually led to her learning to teach it.
At that time, Cecilia’s job was very good in all aspects, so at first she didn’t think of being a yoga teacher. Later, she noticed the yoga injury incident, which made her wish to study more deeply, and then naturally began to teach.
Q: How did you and Vincent meet?
It was actually a coincidence.
I was a full-time yoga teacher and yoga training course operator in a company. On the first day of employment, I attended Vincent’s workshop, and he helped me solve a long-standing problem.
When practicing Ashtanga, I couldn’t connect to the energy lock (bandha) well, and couldn’t make the movement very light. At that time, I was very envious of other practitioners who could transition lightly, and I also asked many teachers, but the answers were not satisfactory.
Until the workshop with Vincent. I asked him about my difficulty and he gave me a breathing instruction (I later learned that it was the “Heaven’s Temple breathing” in the Hañsa system).
I only knew at that time, and for the first time I felt that breathing can activate this sensation, and then I found a subtle sense of lightness in my body. I think it’s amazing. If you can find this lightness with just one breath, then this teacher must have a lot of knowledge to learn from. I just want to follow him and continue to do a more in-depth study.
Q: How do you feel about learning with Vincent?
I have been in contact with Vincent since that workshop.
Later, we did the first 200-hour TTC in China. I also participated in this training, which touched me a lot.
At first, I just wanted to learn a yoga therapy and learn some methods and techniques to help others. Later, I discovered that I was not only learning a 200-hour yoga therapy course, but also I seemed to have learned some life philosophy and insights, which later can be incorporated into my yoga skills.
I learned to start being aware of the layers of my subsconscious mind and I slowly changed without realising it.
His finger points to the sky and you see the entire universe
Q: I heard that you cried from start to finish during your first training. Why?
This is my most memorable training, and I have obtained content that was beyond imagination.
We usually come to participate in a training to learn a particular method. Instead, when I walked into this class, I faced myself. The training became a process of healing myself, and at the same time I had to face my own shadows. These shadows may be past pains, habits, and some problems that I don’t want to face. They all surfaced unconsciously.
I feel that all the exercises and guidance in the Hañsa system are connected to our emotions. These exercises are not just about practicing the body, but more about introspection and seeing ourselves in return.
One saying that rings true is that the longer you study with Vincent, the closer you will be to yourself. Not everyone has the courage to see the dark side of themselves, especially at the beginning. So this touched me very much. Crying is also a form of expression, and that feeling is very complicated.
Q: How did Vincent respond when you were crying or facing your own shadow?
I think is in this training, and like in other trainings, Vinvent is like water. He is very compassionate. You are safe in his company, and he is very humble. He makes you feel supported. And that gives you a feeling of a very stable base, from which we will not collapse.
I think it is very important for a teacher to give students a sense of security.
When you gradually remove the tough surface, the softer content will be revealed.
And eventually, this softness gradually builds up as an inner strength. In this tolerant and safe environment created by Vincent as the teacher, you can slowly reflect on yourself and become soft and strong.
He is like a very gentle light, always enveloping you in a very generous energy.
Q: Are there any specific examples of such generosity?
I think Vincent always put himself in a humble position. If you need him, he will always be there. Once you have the strength to move forward he will watch you from afar like a parent.
Vincent always says, there is nothing that makes him happier than watching his students take responsibility for themselves. At that moment, we were no longer teachers and students and we became friends.
He didn’t put himself in the role of teacher, forcing you and asking you. He just points you to a direction. Some teachers point to the sky, and you will look at his fingers. With Vincent, he points his finger to the sky, but you see the entire universe.
He let himself steps back, and let you see your own direction.
As a teacher, Vincent does this with true humility. He let me know what is good for me, not how good he is. This is the starting point for all his teaching. And from there, he truly sees you.
I feel that being able to be really seen is truly precious.