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.