Or part of the Back Story anyway...
So I was in The Woodlands recently practicing with John Friend and he started the Saturday practice by talking about fire and cultivating one's fire and will. He was saying that if we really want to make progress- in any domain- we need to cultivate fire and will. He was urging us to use the practice to help us amnifest our intentions and to bring meaning to all of our actions. He said whoever brings the most focus, who brings the most meaning to their actions will make the most progress. He then said that this is why he wrote the sequence for Eye of the Tiger. It was to help himself and others cultivate will. Sure it is a strong physical practice but it more about mental focus and determination when you get right down to it.
So, I was "brought up" in Anusara Yoga by a woman name Desiree Rumbaugh. For my first two years in the method, she was my primary teacher. I was introduced to the Eye of the Tiger by her. At her studio they practice a three-hour sequence called The Practice three times a week. (Or they did when I was around. She no longer really teaches at her studio she is on the road so much but anyway, perhaps the tradition continues. I am not sure.) Anyway, The Practice is divided into a Backbend Day and A Forward Bend/Inversion day. When those two sequences are combined, it is the Eye of the Tiger. Also, when an Advanced Intensive used to be coming up, John would email all of us who were going to go with the Eye of the Tiger sequence and pretty much say, "I expect you all to be able to do this. Get in shape."
So when I moved to Austin people kept telling me they had done the Eye of the Tiger. I even saw flyers for 2 1/2 hour workshops called Eye of the Tiger at YogaYoga. Me, being the mouthy, opinionated yoga teacher I am, kept saying, "If it wasn't 4-6 hours long, you did not do the Eye of the Tiger, you just did a full-spectrum practice." But many of us have been working up to it, getting together to do 3-hour practices (Gaze of the Tabby, Glance of the Ocelot, etc.)and building up to more and more advanced poses together.
Today, we are going to do the Eye of the Tiger. The schedule goes about like this:
15 minutes- Sun salutations
15 minutes- Handstand and pinca mayurasana
10 minutes- headstand (In the Real Sequence this is a 30 minute section complete with all of the sirsasana cycle. But very few of the people coming practice long inversions regularly, so I am cutting this portion down to 10 minutes.)
50 minutes- standing poses
15 minutes- hip openers
10 minutes- abdominals
30 minutes- arm balances
45 -60 minutes- backbends
45-60 minutes- forward bends
15 minutes- shoulderstand (In the Real Sequence this is a 30 minutes section complete with all of the sarvangasana cycle. See above.)
10 minutes- meditation
15 minutes- savasana
So that is about 4 hours or so. It would be six if we added the full inversions and cycles. Also the list of Backbends is pretty extreme and as a group, we cannot go through all of them either, so that shaves some time. (For instance he says 10-25 urdhva danurasanas and that is just one of the things on the list. He pretty much lists every backbend in Light on Yoga!)
Then- we get to eat. And I hope everyone is bringing some real food because we are going to be hungry! Anyway- I am very excited about today. It has always been a kind of tradition for me to practice a lot of yoga this weekend. Desiree used to have intensives on this weekend, then I started having them in Prescott, last year we had one here and now this year we are doing the Eye of the Tiger.
So, hopefully each one of us can use the strong practice like John suggested- to cultivate the will necessary to bring our deepest dreams and intentions to life this year.I hope that those of you in far away places are doing something fun and meaningful as well.