Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Someone asked me recently to write about my practice. So here goes...

But first, a few disclaimers, not necessarily in order of importance:

1. This is not intended to be a recommendation or anyone else's practice.
2. I do not have a 9-5 job, children, or a spouse who wishes I didn't love yoga so much.
3. What I am about to describe is my current practice and not what it was a year ago or what it was in my first few years of practice.
4. I have very few interests or passions. I am essentially a pretty boring person if you do not like yoga and want to talk about that.

All right. So-My particular constitution is pitta with strong influences of vata. I am a fire (pitta) waiting to get worse when a wind blows on it. (vata) Because of these tendencies, in general, I focus on establishing calm, with special attention to opening my hips and seating my femurs to keep apana vayu flowing healthily and to keep my prana seated. I have bcome obsessed with baddha konasana, uppavistha konasana and supta padangusthasana 2.

I look at my practice over a month. The first day of the month is when my period starts. I practice restorative asana for the first 4 days of my period. If my cycle lingers on, I practice forward bends, do a lot of work with weighting my thighs in Supta Padnagusthasana 2 and virasana, eka pad supta viarasana. I am very conservative when I am menstruating now- no standing poses, no inversions, no twists that cross the body, no unsupported back bends. I lay low. I rest in my practice since my life is rarely restful. I enjoy the tent. I would never go to class on my period because very little of what is done in a public class would be consistent with my protocol for the week. (Having said that, if it happens to be a weekend where I have the opportunity to study with John, I would bend the guidelines since those are rare opportunities.)

The week right after my period I usually feel great. I work on standing poses. Right now I start almost every practice with Supta Padangusthasana 1-4 with 2 minute holds and my bottom leg weighted with 160 pounds. (2 45-pound plate, 2 35-pound plates.) After that I do eka pada supta virasana with same weight on the virasana leg. I practice sirsasana and sarvangasana at least 10 minutes each every day. If I have more time, I do all of the variations. If I am pressed for time, inversions are all I do, regardless of what "week" I am on, unless, of course, I am menstruating.

The week after that, I focus on back bends. I make sure that at least once during this week I do a full 3-hour go-for-all-the-advanced- back bends kind of practice. I practice stringing together my drop backs and standing up in groups of 10+, I go for the eka raja kapotasana series, I practice natrajasana and scorpion, etc. (very nice to alternate those two poses back and forth as the hamstrings get very tight from scorpion and you can open them back up with natrajasana. Thanks, Meg!) Okay- other than that day, I do lots of upper back work, lot of chest openers with a chair and lots of dwi pada viparita dandasana on the chair. I love back bends but I know they are heating and so too many is not good for me. I rarely, if ever, practice arm balances on my own anymore. During this week I do less headstand and I focus on sarvangasana, ardha halasana and viparita karani. (my two new favorite poses of all time.)

The week after that and until my period comes, I am forward bending to keep my heat low so that my period comes on time. This week I lengthen my time in inversions, I work on my inversion variations. During this week I will rarely practice any vinyasa at all. I keep my forward bend practices almost entirely seated.

This is the monthly overview.

I practice pranayama, meditation, puja and chanting pretty much everyday when I am home.

As far as asana goes, I try to practice 5 days a week for at least 2 hours. I love to practice and when I get to practice every day that is a great and wonderful thing but if I make it into some sort of rule then I am inevitably frustrated when life thwarts my best of intentions or if I make another choice one day. At least one day a week I make sure I do a 3-hour practice. When I do my practice depends on what my schedule has in store for me that day.

When each week comes, I look at my week and make a general plan. When I can, I plan longer practices on those days when I have more time. Many times, I practice what I will be teaching later. If I have to travel and get on a plane I try to plan any vigorous practice that week well before air travel and try to get myself as mellow and grounded as I can before I take a trip.

Obviously some days when I have the most time, I am tired, in which case I use the time for a more gentle, restorative practice. When I am tired I almost always start with inversions and then go from there.

I am sure there is more but that is it for now. Those are the guidelines I use right now. I guess that was a lot, which must be why I have such a feeling of being dumbfounded when people ask me what I do for practice. Oh, anohter thing. I go into my studio to practice with a sequence written down the way I go into most classes. I didn't always do that but I find it helps me use my time more productively. Also, I am a timer- fiend. For me, the timer is almost as essential as a sticky mat and Light on Yoga.

Wow- this was too long. Sorry guys. But if you actually made it this far to get the apology, I am impressed.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Immersion Weekend

So here are the pictures from the Immersion.
I am not sure if we would say the Immersion was fun for people this weekend, but I do hope it was inspiring and meaningful. What I mean is that we struggled some together this weekend. Many people were stuggling with their energy levels, with a sense of confusion, with mental faigue from taking in so much information and with some of my demands for skillful action in the different postures and so on.
In my last entry I wrote that we would be doing the Spirals of the arms and legs this weekend and I mentioned that they are sometimes quite confusing for people. When we really first beginning to explore them in detail, the descriptions sound foreign and make no sense. There really is a grappling required to understand this method intellectually and then hours of practice required to feel the subtleties kinesthetically. And there are no short cuts.
When I was learning the method, however, no one broke it all down for me like this. I learned one little thing at a time, completely out of order, and it wasn't until many years into the process, the matrix of it all came alive and the deep order of it was obvious. So, in some ways, the step-by-step presentation of an immersion is a short cut compared to how many of us had to learn it! But even still, a teacher can only explain the information. A student must grapple with it, struggle with it, chew on it over and over and finally through effort, practice and Grace, digest the information, assimilate it and have it as their own.
So this weekend I did my best to impress upon everyone how much of the "digestion process" is incumbent on the student. Really, the teacher prepares the meal and serves it. That is it. Occasionally if indigestion arises, the teacher is there with antacids or ginger tea or some other digestive aid. But the student must serve themselves from all that is offered, eat, chew, digest, assimilate and so on for themselves. Of course we have company along the way, but no one can do the work for us. It is just not the way the Process is Designed.
So, we might say that I took it up a notch this weekend. It was time. And the group rose to the occasion and rallied in their fatigue and overload to apply themselves fully, to learn, to help one another and to increase their capcaity physically, emotionally, and intellectually.
One thing that occurred to me this weekend is that in Ansuara Yoga we usually have a lot of fun. And while we are fun-loving and life affirming and encouraging and all of that- we are not a casual method. What is required to practice and to teach our method is intense and demanding. Don't let the laughter fool you, playful does not, in any way, imply a lack of work. So please, laugh all you want, but do not whine!
Thanks to everyone for such a full weekend. Thanks to Mandy for helping out on Saturday and thanks to Amanda for your support on Sunday.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Week in Review

I am going to write while I wait for lunch to cook. (Roasted vegetables made with our fresh basil and copious amounts of ghee.) It smells so good, I just cannot wait for lunch.

Wednesday night's classes at San Marcos School of Yoga continued with the theme of sauca at 5:30 and steadiness/ease at 7:00. The 5:30 class worked diligently on Vira 3 and spent close to 5 minutes in halasana which was most exciting to see. In the Beginning Yoga Class we worked our way through all of the poses on the Beginning Yoga Syllabus, which was a very strong standing poses class. It was awesome to see the progress everyone has made in just 7 short weeks. It is amazing what regular attendance in a class yields! (I know I am a broken record on this point but consistency is just so important for progress.)

And the Thursday nigh yoga marathon continued with the theme of SPANDA, the great cosmic pulsation. (Interestingly enough this is the very topic that Carlos Pomeda will presenting on next weekend. He will be teaching from the Spanda Karikas, one of the primary texts of Kashmir Shaivism that directly informs some of Anusara Yoga philosophy. So not worry, no need to convert to Kashmir Shaivism to learn and grow from the workshop or to participate in Anusara Yoga quite happily. But if you ahven't signed up and you hace seom time to come this weekend, please come and hear Carlos' talks. For more info on Carlos go to www.pomeda.com.

The 4:30 advanced class practiced a long forward bending sequence from John Friend that culminated in a foray into leg-behind-the-head poses.(34 people there yesterday. Remember when we started that class a year ago with 8 of us in the little room? What is so awesome is folks like Lisa, Sveta, Victoria, Mungu, Kristen, Suki and Zibby were there then and are still coming now. Talk about consistency...) The 6:00 hatha class practiced urdhva danurasana ( with a few people pushing up for the very first time ever!) and the 7:30 class focused on refining Vira One, parsvottanasana and some seated forward bends.

Susan, Tabatha, Anne, Pamela, Ari, Venus, Mike, Susan and Katherine all double-dipped, which was quite fun.

This weekend we have the Immersion again which I am really excited about. It seems like it has been a long time since this group was assembled. We get to do Inner and Outer Spiral this weekend which is always fun. Oftentimes confusing along the way, but fun nonetheless.

One exciting project Kelly is working on for me is putting a new door in the yoga studio. We went to Lowe's today and got a new door with a big window in it. After the practice we did last weekend with the door open, I realized we absolutely need some more natural light in the room. I think the window on the door is going to make a big difference. Plus, the window has a big Texas star in it. It is really awesome.

Okay- so time to go. More later.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


On Monday night at The San Marcos School of Yoga the Level 2 class began a foray into the Niyamas with a brief discussion of sauca, cleanliness or purity. We practiced making good, clean lines of energy, revisiting Vira One, Parsvottanasana from the Beginning Syllabus, parivritta trikonasana from the Level 1 syllabus and dandasana, parivritta balasana, janu sirsasana, pascimottanasana and halasana from the Level 2 syllabus. We have one more week of classes before this class becomes a Level 3 and continues with shoulder stand and more back bending postures. We didn't make it through all of the Niyamas in Level 2 so we will continue with them in Level 3. Obviously, the curriculum is fluid!

The Level 1 class worked on Vira 3 and the actions that inform that crowd-pleasing posture. (not!) We worked with the theme of inner (virya) and outer strength (bala). This class will become a level 1&2, working on the one-legged balancing and revolved standing postures with the addition to some of the seated floor poses and halasana that make up the Level 2 curriculum.

I used the them of "Expanding the Middle" from The Splendor of Recognition for my Tuesday night classes which led into a discussion (me talking, people practicing) of contracting and expanding in the overall movement toward Expansion. This idea is a crucial philosophical underpinning of Anusara Yoga and is embodied in our Universal Principles of Alignment. In the overall task of Expanding one's consciousness through yoga, we are engaged in a series of contractions and expansions. Open to Grace (expand), muscle energy (contract), expanding spiral (expand), contracting spiral (contract), organic energy (expand). Over and over and all at once it goes.

The Tuesday afternoon flow class in Austin was a good strong group of people again. We had a nice big class and focused on a good, sweaty standing pose flow with some fun "dog flipping" and twist and turns.

Speaking of twists and turns I keep thinking that our advanced class should be called "Upside Down and Inside Out." We had a super-fun time practicing back bends and after working toward them for weeks, we finally did sirsasana (headstand) drop-overs to dwipada viparita dandasana to urdhva danurasana to tadasana. (With some help from our friends, of course, but what fun it was. It will not be long before many of the people there will be doing the sequence unassisted, they were that close.) The whole thing with learning advanced poses is to be consistent and patient and to measure your progress incrementally so that you can recognize that you are building toward the advanced poses at each step of the way.

It is interesting to watch people who have been coming to that advanced class for a long time implementing my technical instructions so easily and people new to the class look overwhelmed and frustrated. The only difference between the two states is practice and time. People doing the alignment "easily" now were confused initially. I know the newer people, if they stay with it will start to make sense of the process because all we do over and over again is clarify the basics and keep applying them to harder poses. (Inside Out, Upside Down, remember?) I hate to think of people not sticking with the class because the instructions didn't make sense to them once or twice because I know it just takes time and practice for the "revelation" to happen. Anyway- I mean that consideration as encouragement because really you cannot win if you do not play and you cannot play if you are not there.

It is kind of like how Patanjali defines practice. For something to be considered a practice it must have three components: 1) constancy, done without interruption 2) done over a long period of time and 3) done with devotion. And speaking of practice, it is time for me to roll out my own mat for some forward bends and inversions.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Group Practice

We had such a fun time today at our practice.

Okay, is this (and by "this" I mean saying "it was so much fun") seeming like a broken record on this blog or what? Really, I am in a very fun phase of life right now. Granted, I can imagine that not everyone would think a 3+ hour intense yoga practice would be fun, but it is the kind of day that I like best.

First of all the weather today was near perfect. Sunny, mildly breezy, cooler than it has been in a while. We walked the dogs, made our pasta for the potluck and then people began to arrive. I was so happy to be practicing and to have everyone at The San Marcos School of Yoga. I personally had a great practice and many people had ah-hah's and personal firsts. At one point Kelly walked in to ask me something (Kelly was not practicing with us today because he was putting a floor down in my office.) and he exclaimed, "Wow, everyone just looks so happy!"

It was true, it was just a really great vibe in the room. People were working hard, sweating and also stopping as they needed to rest, regroup and modify. With the weather so nice, we propped the front door open so we had great light and fresh air all day which was awesome. The only drawback to the open door was the bees that came to visit and my personal foray to the dark side (ahimsa violation) that occurred when I killed one the bees in cold blood.

The potluck was great with plenty of real food AND homemade cookies. Best of both worlds, in my opinion. By the end we were all hanging out in our driveway playing with our dogs, enjoying one another and just finding it a bit difficult to say good-bye and put an end to the day. As I closed the gate and waved good-bye to the last carload of folks, I felt so happy and grateful to have a group of people to spend a day with practicing yoga. Really, for me, it doesn't get much better than that.

Okay then, that's it for now. Love to you all.

Friday, October 19, 2007

So Full

We continued wok n the theme of fullness and considerations of aparigraha in Wednesday night's class at San Marcos School of Yoga. The Levels 1&2 class worked on basic back bending adding the inner spiral and pelvic loop to the work of the shoulder principles. People worked quite hard and improved a lot, although it might not have been so crowd-pleasing! The Beginning class learned Organic Energy and applied it to a variety of poses like urdhva hastasana, Adho mukha svanasana, supta padangusthasana, vriksasana,parsvakonasana and trikonasana. Something was in the planets on Wednesday night as a lot of people were absent.

Whatever planetary disturbance had people missing on Wednesday was cleared up by Thursday night's classes in Austin. We had a super fun group at 4:30 doing back bends and exploring the principles upside and in motion. We are setting the stage with urdhva danurasaan to learn how to go from handstand to urdhva dnaruasana, from standing to urdva danurasana and from headstand to urdva danuarasana and then back up to standing from urdhva danurasana. So even though we did not do all of those variations yesterday, that is where all of those exercises are going. And what full-hearted efforts people brought.

And I promise that next week we will bend forward so do not miss it. Jenny and Victoria teased me that I they cannot ever remember me teaching a forward bend class. And well, the truth of it is that in advanced I usually combine the arm balances with the forward bends and the deep hip openers, making the forward bending a little obscured. I figure you can practice janu sirsasana in any class but how often do you try to put your leg behind your head, you know? Anyway-

The 6:00 hatha class was full as well with lots of familiar faces which made it easy for me to give some deeper, detailed instructions. We worked on opening the sides of the trunk and on incorporating inner and outer spiral into the standing poses and then took that into some seated floor postures like parivritta janu sirsana variations and then krouncasana. We will keep applying all that toward surya yantrasana and some arm balances as time goes by and as hamstrings open!

The 7:30 class had a lot of new folks in it and so we reviewed some of the principles for cobra. Esther and Jennifer are both observing/assisting in that class and so the students got lots of help and also got some Teacher Training lessons. What was awesome was the sense of humor everyone brought to that class. It was really fun and funny. I am really hoping that we will be able to build on some of the regular attendance (Like Ann, Brian, Mark) in that class so we can begin to build on previous lessons like we are at 4:30 and 6:00.

And Susan, Mike and Susan, Jesse, and Skye all double-dipped and came at 4:30 and 6:00. What fun.

One of the things I love about Anusara Yoga is that we teach with heart-based themes. When I first realized I was going to "have"to do this to get certified I was a bit resistant to the idea, to say the least. But as time goes by I understand that these virtues we speak of and that we seek to bring to life in asana are so important to my life as a yoga teacher and as a person. Speaking to these themes is a huge transformational opportunity. Talking about Perfect Fullness all of this week has tuned me into the perfect fullness that is in my life and in my heart in a way that teaching nine classes of just straight alignment would not. I love that. This is called Matrika Shakti- The Power of the Word.

As much as I love the nitty-gritty of physical alignment and I absolutely believe that these virtues are present in practice whether we talk about them or not, when we do talk about them something happens. They grow brighter, more conscious within us. The implicit becomes the explicit and we can participate with these qualities in ways that are skillful and life-affirming. What a gift. What a job.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Purna, Fullness

In Monday's classes at San Marcos School of Yoga, we talked about aparigraha, the fifth yama. Aparigraha means "non-hoarding". Apraigraha suggests that we refrain from grasping. Grasping could apply to all kinds of things. We might grasp after experience, after material objects, and even after poses we cannot do, for instance. The idea of practicing aparigraha isn't so much that we impose it on ourselves as some forceful act of will, as much as we recognize the fullness of our true self and from that recognition, the need to grasp is subsumed. The 5:30 class worked on hip openers ad the 7:00 class worked on the introductory back bends.

I continued with the theme of purna in Tuesday classes. The flow class was a surprisingly strong group of awesome practitioners and we went for it with a back bending flow series with lots of twist and tuns. Very fun. At 6:00 the advanced class worked on some hip openers, press handstand and deep forward bends like clasped uttanasana and kurmasana. Such great practitioners and regular students were in class it was so inspiring. Almost everyone was so in sync with me and so god at following instructions it was just the funnest! And Susan, Mike, Sveta, Cooper, Susan, Mungu, Swamiji and Pamela all double-dipped. (Way to go, guys!) And a special kudos to Pamela for double dipping after a 4-mile run and a special good-bye to Cooper who heads off to Vermont and then India for a while.

And a friendly reminder about our group practice this weekend. 11-2 in San Marcos with a potluck afterwards for all those interested. Bring some real food this time- last time we had mostly cookies. Details are on my website www.sanmarcosschoolofyoga.com under events. Hope to see you there.

Monday, October 15, 2007

New Friends

The class in Katy turned out to be great. We had an excellent turn out and the Katy YMCA where I taught was just so beautiful. My lovely host Rhonda had everything arranged so thoughtfully. I was warmly received and even though I was "warned" that they do not chant in Katy, I taught the invocation and it seemed to go over pretty well. (It was a gently warning! Anyway, I asked Rhonda if she wanted me not to chant and she said to just do what I normally do, so I did. Maybe a bit more cautiously then with my group in Austin who by now is pretty used to my unique blend of philosophy, sarcasm and yogic "encouragement".) I taught a pretty strong flow class that emphasized shoulder principles and took us into back bends. The students were strong, willing and were great at listening and applying the lessons to their practice, making the adjustments I recommended and so on. I used The Shrine of the Heart as my theme.

I went back to Friendswood on Sunday and spent the morning teaching an all levels back bend class with the them of "tejas"(Light, spiritual luster, illumination) and the afternoon with the advanced students practicing all kinds of arm balances and preparatory poses and considering the concept of "anugraha" (The bestowal of grace, the type of grace that grabs hold of us, so to speak).

One highlight of the weekend is that Jill came to all the classes, both in Friendswood and in Katy. Many of you in the first Immersion group know Jill- (Funny,blond, pretty, short, opera singer Jill who usually practices in the front row...) I loved having a familiar face in the crowd and at least one person in the room to laugh at my not-so-funny jokes.

Another highlight was meeting the gang in Firendswood and getting to be part of their weekend fun. Valerie and I had some very nice visits/sharings and one of her best friends, Vicky let me stay in her house on Friday and Saturday night. Vicky has a beautiful home that, although it could be in a magazine feature, was actually comfortable and easy to be in. It was elegant but I was never afraid to touch anything or sit down somewhere, if you know what I mean. Kind of like both Vicky and Valerie. They are both beautiful women, inside and out,with such open hearts that you just naturally feel at ease with them. And on top of it all, Vicky has a bathroom about the size of my bedroom and so I was thoroughly indulged in a luscious, elegant soak in her jacuzzi tub. I am and always have been a bit of a bath fiend so this was a great treat for me.

Okay then. Off to walk the dogs and practice some asana.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Lots of fun!

Thursday night's yoga marathon topped off another fun week of classes. I continued with the theme of whole-hearted devotion with more back bends at 4:30, work on vasisthasana at 6:00 and an exploration of the upper back and pinca mayurasana at 7:30. Susan and Anne double dipped at 4:30 and 6. Jessie made it to both 6:00 and 7:30. And so many regular students were in attendance that we were really able to build on all the work we have done so far. The 7:00 class was small enough we could do a lot of work with the chairs to really open up our upper backs. And the only thing that could make Thursday better at all is if we could do the advanced class for 2 hours. Not that I am complaining, mind you...just always wishing we had more time in that class to go deeper into the advanced curriculum.

Anyhoo- I am writing now from a Starbucks in Katy, Texas. I taught last night in Friendswood, which was fun. Valerie Imore has a great studio there. We had an awesome group for a mixed levels class. We looked at some Anusara Yoga basics and did a little pranayama throughout the practice. In retrospect, I think our agenda was a bit ambitious but live and learn- hard to get a full practice in, teach the principles, and do some pranayama and meditation. We did manage to do some of all of it but not in depth enough for my perfectionistic standard for myself!!!

I had a good time though and the students seemed to enjoy the evening, so putting expectation aside, it was really great fun. I will teach in Katy today and then back to Friendswood to teach tomorrow. It is fun to meeting some of the Texas Anusara Yoga gang on this trip. More later.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Home from Home

It is funny to say that I am home from Prescott because visiting Prescott is like going home. So I feel like I am home from home, if that makes any sense.

Last July Kelly and I moved to San Marcos/Austin from Prescott, Arizona where we had lived for seven years. We had a coffee shop there and I had a yoga studio there, which I left in the good hands of Rachel Peters. (Rachel is one of my favorite people and best students ever who is now a Certified Anusara Yoga instructor. YAHOO.)

Also, my spiritual teacher and his ashram is there, which means in addition to the deep friendships and relationships I had there as a business owner and a yoga teacher, I have a web of friendships that are deeply anchored in our mutual commitment to life in our teacher's company.

So I left on Thursday to visit the ashram which was outstanding and inspiring. I taught on Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Prescott Yoga and then spent Sunday night, and all day Monday at the ashram.

I centered my teaching this weekend on some ideas from The Kularnava Tantra. Obviously, returning "home" inspired me to talk about The Kula. Just being with everyone was so rich. I looked around in each class and saw people, who over the time we worked together, had gone through surgeries, cancer, marriages, break-ups, the birth of children, and so on. And what was also so fantastic was to see that new people have been attracted to Prescott Yoga and so the sense of continuity was quite palpable and rewarding for me. I loved seeing all the ways Rachel has brought her gifts to the studio and her personal signature to the endeavor like her love of nature (the studio has adopted a trail) and now there is even a lending library there which is great.

Rachel took some pictures and so I will post them when she gets them to me and perhaps reflect a bit more on the weekend. Mostly, the weekend was so fabulous and special, but in a way that felt ordinary. Maybe that is what we mean by extraordinary-- just EXTRA ORDINARY. My body, mind and heart are so at home in Prescott that it felt normal to to be there and yet fantastic also. And we set dates for me to come back twice in 2008, which is an additional thrill.

I got off the plane on Tuesday at 2:30 in time to have a snack and to teach my Tuesday night classes at 4:30 and 6:00. I decided to teach about a story I heard at the ashram this weekend.

Krishna and Arjuna are hanging out together and Arjuna asks Krishna who his best devotee is. Krishna says, "It is the oil merchant."

Arjuna says, "WHAT? How can the oil merchant be your best devotee?"

So they go visit the oil merchant. Everything appears so ordinary that Arjuna still doesn't get it. Krishna says to the oil merchant, "How often do you think of Me?"

The oil merchant replies, "I think of you twice a day without fail."

Arjuna is now a bit flustered. He exclaims, "How can he be your best devotee? Twice a day??? I am with you all the time!"

Krishna tells Arjuna to help out the oil merchant and to take some pots of oil from one place to the other in the store. Arjuna complies. When he finishes his task, Arjuna comes back to Krishna and Krishna asks him, "How often did you think of me when you were carrying the oil?"

Arjuna says, "Well, not at all, I was concentrating on the oil."

Krishna tells Arjuna, "It is no big deal to remember me when you are with me all of the time. The oil merchant is my best devotee, not because if the amount of time he remembers me but because he is without fail in his sadhana. Even though it is only twice a day that he thinks of me, he never fails at it. You, who are in my presence all the time, could not remember me when given another task."

So- the story teaches us about being whole-hearted at what ever level of practice we are engaging. THe story reminds us to be steady and without fail in our efforts and to honor the devotion we bring to our practice, not just the number of times we can make it to class or the number of hours we log on our mats. And so coming to class is really one of those times we can be like the oil the merchant and be whole hearted in our remembrance of the things that matter deeply to us.

So the flow class had lots of balancing poses in which to remember the mid-line and the advanced class practiced whole-hearted work in preparing for and practicing back bends. We worked on drop backs and standing up from urdhva danurasana. We worked on standing up from urdhva danurasana two weeks ago in class and two weeks ago everyone used two partners to come up. This week most of the class was working with only one person helping.

So to me this is a tangible example of what happens when a group of people comes to class regularly. We can really build on the principles and learn how to progress together. I came into the advanced class, everyone was in neat tidy rows, and then when we did urdhva danurasana I did not even have to explain arm bones back because almost everyone had been there so often they were doing it without the demo! (This is ecstasy for a yoga teacher, by the way...watching students embody the teachings and become responsible for them without being told because then I can teach other things! YAHOO.)

And not only were there neat tidy rows, not only did everyone follow instructions well, not only were people laughing and enjoying one another's company but Jessie kicked up to the wall in handstand by himself for the first time ever!! And this week Tabatha, Kima and Sveta all double-dipped, making it to both classes. Way to go, ladies!

So- this is quite long enough by now. Stay tuned for the pics from the weekend.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Currents of Grace

So while we are on the subject of kayaking,here are pics of me and Kelly on the river this morning. First me, unloading the car (Terrible posture...bad yogi!)

But what fun we had. This is me... Wheee...

And now for Kelly...

What a stud, huh?

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Satya, Ocean of the Heart, Asteya, The Kula

I got an email from a teacher asking me if I wanted the night off Tuesday because she wanted to pick up some classes. I was kind of shocked that someone was soliciting classes, but I just responded saying that I love to teach my classes and only miss them when I absolutely have to. And I really do love my classes.

Monday night at San Marcos School of Yoga always has a special place in my heart because when we first began classes here we started them with Monday night and so many of the people in the Level 2 class were the inaugural members of the School. And this week was really fun because my friend/student from Montana was ins Austin on business and so he came to class and then he stayed for dinner which made for an even more fun evening. In class we worked ontriangmukaipada pascimottanasasana, krouncasana and pascimottanasana while contemplating the yama of satya, truth. The Level 1 class worked with satya, also and refined parivritta trikonasasana which led us into Maricyasana 1 and Maricyasana 3.

I taught a variation of one of my favorite flows on Tuesday at 4:30 using the theme of The Ocean of the Heart. The advanced class was a great surfing expedition on the waves of the ocean of the heart and an exploration of the currents of inner and outer spiral for hip openers, arm balances and hanumanasana. (think about it- Hanuman leaps over the ocean...) Fun night, though. (Kelly came to class and actually got off the ground in eka hasta bhujasana for the first time.) In fact the arm balances inn the room were outstanding and 23 people all had straight legs in surya yantrasana- what a group!

Tonight in San Marcos we reviewed the Seven Loops in the Level 1&2 class, focusing a lot on shoulder loop to help with bhujangasana. We talked about asteya and about the precious jewel of wisdom that arises when we are established in non-stealing. The beginning class worked with the theme of The Kula, learned Outer Spiral to add to last weeks' Inner Spiral lesson and put the two to good use in Vira 2, parsvakonasana, and trikonasana.

I will have to miss my Thursday night classes in Austin since I will be on my way to Arizona tomorrow. I am visiting some friends there and teaching at my old studio, Prescott Yoga. I am so excited to see everyone there. It has been a year since I have been back.

However, Anne is teaching on Thursday at 7:30 at Westgate so check her out there.

I guess that's about it for now. I am hoping to get up in time to get to the river for some kayaking in the morning. What a fun life it is...