Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year

Well we packed The Love Shack, that is for sure. We made room for 40 people to practice and what fun it was. We had folks from all different traditions and studios and it was a really great way to say good-bye to 2008 and welcome in 2009. I had RSVPs from about 20 people so it was a wonderful surprise to find that twice that many people came. Really, the group was amazingly friendly, capable and fun-loving and the space was fantastic and welcoming. I led the practice vinyasa-style and we played with some fun handstand variations and got into drop backs. Basically, it was good sweaty fun.

A few scenes from our practice. I didn't take a lot of pictures so any of you who have some, email them to me and I will post them also.

Pre-practice gathering and Dale being silly. And the question on everyone mind is, "Dude where do you get those pants?"
And here is the lovely Lauran Janes welcoming us to The Love Shack and sharing her vision for the space. And really, its a great vision- A co-op where each teacher is their own studio. Teachers can rent the space and pay a reasonable fee to support and sustain the facility and after that, the class fees collected go directly to the teacher.

Here Kristen is going up into handstand from urdhva prasarita eka padasana. Kristen is getting ready to take a 3-month sailing adventure so I was pretty psyched that she was able to amke it to practice again before she takes off. Three times now we have said good-bye but I think this time was really it. But she will be back in the spring, probably with LOTS of great stories.

Here is Anne assisting Lauren. Although Lauran has a fantastic free-standing handstand and so does Anne but they partnered up in the spirit of things. (And as a commercial here- Anne leads a practice at Clear Spring Studio on Friday afternoons at 3:30. They use an Iyengar sequence and this would be a great place to hone in on your inversion practice. Anyway, link to her blog from mine and you can get details about that.)

Here is Jesse and Ron working together. Love the precision in action.

Here is me and Anne. We are working here on pressing up to handstand from ardha baddha padmottanasana and then working on padmasana in handstand.


Here is Karuna demonstrating urdhva danruasana. Prior to this shot, she was showing how to plug your arm bones into the shoulder sockets.
Karuna, making it look easy.
Here is the group in urdhva. Pretty nice sight, really. 40 people all up inthe pose. Now that is a great percentage!

Working on drop backs.

So again, this is only kind of a glimpse at the practice. Lots of people were doing great poses. At least half the folks in attendnace are yoga teachers. At the end we introduced outselves and I had people who teach share where we could find them around town. It was an amazing group of teachers, "yoga junkies", bodyworkers and friends. That I think was really the inspiring part of the practice to me- that we could all just come together to share the love of practice and to support Lauran's vision which is really a vision for all of us. Thanks to everyone who came and to all of you who donated money so generously. It is a great momentum for The Love Shack to start off with.
For those of you who are interested in the sequence here it is- I had planned a few things more and a bit differently but this worked out pretty well nonetheless.
Childs pose
surya namaskar A 5X

First Flow: Do complete flow 2X on each side

  • crescent
  • standing back arch
  • uttanasana
  • step back with left leg to a right leg lunge with knee down and big Inner Spiral in the back leg then the front leg then the back leg then step
  • wild thing with right leg high and then step forward with right leg to
  • anjaneyasana with a big back bend.
  • vinyasa
  • repeat from the beginning only step back with right leg for the lunge

Second Flow- Do complete flow 2X

  • utkatasana deep sits- 5X(Don't ask, too hard to describe)
  • one-legged down dog to knee to shoulder flow-5X
  • wild thing
  • vira One
  • Revolved Vira 2
  • Reverse Revolved Vira 2
  • revolved lunge
  • deep lunge with forearms to the floor
  • revolved lunge with quadricep stretch
  • repeat from beginning but do second side

Third Flow- Do complete flow 2X

  • garudasana
  • standing baby cradle
  • eka pada galavasana to eka pada bakasana- to bakasana to chataranga
  • anjaneyasana
  • anjaneyasana with back leg in bhekasana
  • vira one
  • revolved parsvakonasana
  • eka pada koundinyasana
  • wild thing
  • parsvottansana
  • parivritta trikonasana
  • parivritta ardha chandrasana
  • parivritta ardh chandr chapasana
  • urdhva prasarita eka padasana
  • repeat on other side

handstand from urdhva prasarita eka padasana

Fourth Flow- complete flow 2X

  • utthita hasta padangusthasana
  • parsva utthita hasta padangusthasana
  • ardha baddha padmottanasana
  • hop back to down dog with foot in lotus
  • vasisthasana 1, 2
  • parsvakonasana clasped
  • trikonasana
  • wild thing
  • repeat on second side

Handstand press from half lotus

Fifth Flow: do 2X

  • ustrasana
  • waving ustrasanana
  • ustrasana
  • jump through
  • setu bandhasana
  • urdhva danurasana
  • navasansa
  • work on drop backs

Sixth Flow: do 2X

  • down dog
  • Right leg forward to eka pada rajakapotasansa prep with forward bend
  • bring back leg around to agnisthambasana
  • twist over top knee in agnisthambasana
  • krouncasana variation (Keepy bottom leg as though in agni)
  • surya yantrasana variation
  • ardha baddha padma pascimottanasana
  • pascimottasansa
  • vinyasa and repeat on second side

Seventh Flow: 2X

  • supta padangusthasana 1, 2
  • supta padmasana
  • matsyasana
  • urdhva mukha pascimottanasana
  • jathara partivarttonasana
  • repeat second side



Tuesday Night

Well, last night was great fun. Both the 4:30 and 6:00 class were well attended and both groups were attentive, skillful and hard working. I talked a little about resolutions in both classes. Interestingly enough, very few people in either class had made any. I had lots of double dippers but I forgot to write their names down... Terry, Susan, Kelly, Anne, Mike, Catherine, Jesse, Meg, and a few other I cannot quite recall...

At 4:30 the theme went from resolutions to support. The thing I really love about New Year's is it is a time when many people (At least in theory, not evidenced by my informal survey, however.) are making resolutions. It reminds me of this idea we talk about a lot in yoga that has to do with using the power of the group and the community to help you in your practice. There is this whole idea that you really cannot do the yogic work alone, nor are you intended to. (yes, a case can also be made that no one can do your work for you and so forth and this is also true.) For instance, amongst those who worship Shiva as the Absolute, there is a tradition of chanting Om namah shivayah at certain times of the month. So wherever you live you know you, when you are doing this at the same time as thousands of other people. The idea is that your efforts get pooled together with everyone else who is doing the practice and therefore magnified and the energy available for transformation is exponentially increased.

So really, New Years is kind of like that. But in a lot of ways, so is every yoga class. We can come together to utilize the group's energy, focus and commitment to strengthen ours. And while we are drawing on other people they, in turn, are drawing on us. It is a cool thing to consider. This is why I LOVE group practice. (And you can join us today at 2-4:30 at The Love Shack for the New year's practice....) So anyway- 4:30 all of that went into support as the theme. We worked with muscle energy and did parsvakonasana, trikonasana, parsva uthitta hasta padangusthasana, anantasana and variations, vasisthasana and variations and supta padangusthasana. Fun times.

At 6:00 I had a very tame back bending sequence planned that covered all the basics one needs to do urdhva danuarasana. But then I got going and we were off the sequence (in my mind) by the end of Surya Namaskar and we went into eka pada rajakapotasana back bends. So many people touched their toes for the first time it was just really incredible. I love the look someone gets on their face when they feel their own toe behind their head! People worked so hard and so willingly followed my directions and the result was some really great breakthroughs. I used the theme of the hero's journey and how one must be resolute (link to resolutions!) to keep the hero's heart open no matter what is happening, etc. So we used resolute strength in the legs (muscle energy) to lift the warrior's heart (inner body bright) and bring it into its expression. (Shoulder loop) Again, fun times.

All right then, lots to do before the practice.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Love Shack

"The Love Shack is a little ole place where we can get together...."

SO --I have mentioned to many of you (and several times on this blog) that the lovely and talented Lauren Janes has started a Yoga Co-Op. She sometimes calls it the Love Co-Op. I have taken to calling it The Love Shack. So anyway- here are some pictures of the space and it is, in fact, in this lovely place where we will get together on Wednesday for a yoga practice. The general, although informal, consensus was that an afternoon practice would be best for everyone. S we are going to go with 2-4:30ish. I want to go up to Georgetown that evening so that gives me a small prayer of being right in front of the worst of the traffic headed north and gives everyone time to get home, shower, clean up, eat and head out for whatever other celebrations they have in store for themselves for the New Year.
As far as logistics go:
Where: The Love Yoga Co-Op is located at 2525 S. Lamar, Unit 9 (behind Walgreens and Taco Express/Maria's Tacos)Corner of S. Lamar and Bluebonnet (just south of Oltorff)
When: Wednesday, New Year's Eve 2:00-4:30pm
How much: I am not charging anything for the practice but I am asking that you make a donation. I, in turn, will offer all of the donations to Lauren and to the Yoga Co-Op as an offering of support for the project. She wants her space to support local yoga teachers and practitioners, so if we support her idea, she supports us and on and on it goes like that. Cool, huh?
Why: It will be fun. Plus, we really get to inaugurate the space at the same time. I love that. We get to be there practicing and focusing on our own intentions for the year and also participating in creating a certain energy field within the new space. It is an awesome thing if you think about it.
So spread the word, make plans to be there and come ready for a rockin', full-spectrum practice that will incorporate- hip work toward padmasana (for Susan), parsva sarvangasana (for Mandy), lots of twists (for Anne), a foray into kapotasana (for Christina) and pascimottanasana (for Jeremiah). My idea of fun. Please come!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

Well, it is Christmas morning here in Georgetown, Texas at the Sun City Del Web Community where Mom and Dad are spending the winter. I suppose in many other places it is Christmas morning also. Although, my friend Timothy is in India and so it is not Christmas morning for him anymore. But he and I exchanged Christmas emails yesterday when, for him it was Christmas. Okay, rambling, now.

Kelly and I got up here yesterday afternoon and made dinner and watched National Treasure with Mom and Dad. I was so sleepy about half way through the movie that I almost went to bed. And I should have because by the time the movie ended I was wide awake and I could not get to sleep. So I got back up and watched The Pacifier with Vin Diesel and even some of Bruce Almighty with Jim Carey after that. So now, suffice it to say, I am a bit tired this morning. Tonight I will have to observe a better "bedtime protocol" for myself!

All right- Mandy and I have been scheming about a New Year's Eve practice on Wednesday for a while now. I love practicing on New Year's Eve. Every year in Arizona I would lead a candlelight flow class on New Year's Eve. Then people could go out and party and do their thing. Anyway- I think something like that would be fun this year. I do not know where yet, but I am aiming for somewhere in Austin that afternoon or early evening. Anyone interested? I thought I could make a sequence that incorporated as many of our "Resolution" poses as we could so that we all could support each other in working on them. Of course, this means you have to email me and tell me you are coming and what poses are on "your list." More details to come, obviously. (Like where and when!)

Also- Mandy has organized the Thursday group practice to begin on January 8th. I am actually in town that Thursday and so I may get to lead the practice for its inaugural session which would be really fun. (For me, anyway! Hopefully for you. Please come!) And Lauren sent me pics of her space, The Love Co-op and it is truly love-ly. I cannot wait to practice there. What a cool project that we get to support and that will support all of us. Does it get better than that? The address of the space is 2525 s. Lamar (corner of Bluebonnet and Lamar, behind the Walgreen's and taco express/maria's tacos), unit 9. Please e-mail Mandy for more details about the practice and stay tuned for more details about class offerings at The Co-op.

Also that evening (January 8th) Craig begins his 4-week course on the Gita at YogaYoga South. Really, we should all go to that. Someone told me that someone else told them that they were kind of "Bhagavad Gita'd out" which really made me laugh. If you have come to yogic equanimity with your karma, your dharma, your adhikara and your devotion, then by all means go out drinking instead- you are free from the need for these teachings!!! But for those of us still pondering the issues of our place in the world, our yogic skill in action, this course might be a useful way to start the new year. I think it would be give great support to whatever resolutions and intentions we make for the year.

Okay-well, enough advertising for now. Email me if you have interest in a New Year's Eve practice and when I iron out the details I will post them. Here are some pics from yesterday:
Kelly, beginning the photo documentation for the trip.
Me, ready to go.
Dogs, loaded into the car. Lots of stuff also loaded.
Mom and her Dog.
Me, in bed this morning wishing I had gone to sleep earlier.

Okay then, more later.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve

Well, I made it through Christmas Eve Eve relatively unscathed. I wore my Santa hat to class to keep my holiday spirits up, which opened the door at 4:30 (which is like my new favorite class these days because it is always well attended with people of all abilities who are really eager to learn and challenge themselves to go deeper in the practice and understanding of the poses. It has been one of my favorite classes to teach lately.) to some interesting sharing about childhood Christmas and when we and/or our children found out "the truth" about Santa Claus. Here I am demonstrating cobra pose, Santa Hat and all.
At 4:30 we worked with some basic principles in the shoulders and applied them to parsvakonasana, clasped parsvakonasana, maricyasana 1, parivritta parsvakonasana, clasped parsvakonasana and maricyasana 3. It was fun.
At 6:00 I had a strong sequence planned but we did not make it through my plans because most of the people there were brand new to the advanced class and I think I was speaking a foreign language as far as they were concerned. They were great students just not trained in how to translate my directions into their bodies. But we did make some good progress toward padmasana. I want people to really be able to get into padmasana with no hands and upside down in headstand, shoulderstand, pinca mayurasana and handstand this year. However, once the New Year and the new session begins I am going to take a step or two back from the edge in that class and go back to the basics so that we can build again toward the harder poses. What happens with that class is that once we are well into the session it gets harder and harder for new folks to join us. So, if you have been scared to come to the advanced class, now is the time to join the fun, because we will be easing into things at the first of the year. That is may plan anyway. At least for the weeks I am here.
Okay, time for a little asana practice and then up to Georgetown to hang with Mom and Dad.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Eve Eve

So, I have many childhood memories of this day. What day is this you ask? Well, it is Christmas Eve Eve and really, as a child, it was like the longest day of the year for me. Christmas and all the presents were not the next day. There was the whole day of today, then the whole day of Christmas Eve and then it was Christmas. At some point in the whole affair of growing up together, Anne and I discussed our feelings about Christmas Eve Eve and we discovered we each felt the same way about it. So over the years we have taken to commemorating the day every year with at least a phone call, if not a fun activity.

Anne is a bit under the weather so I am not sure what her plans are for today but I will be teaching my yoga classes this evening and then hopefully scooting over to the Alamo for Slumdog Millionaire. That is, if I can actually end my class on time, which as we all know, is not one of my strong suits. Last night Kelly and I went to see Yes Man, which I thought was funny. I was definitely in the mood for funny and I love Jim Carrey movies. Well, most of them anyway. I like them best when he doesn't really try to act. But that is another story. And yes, movies are part of my personal Christmas time traditions that go way back.

All right then, more later.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Mid Winter Sweatfest

A few pictures from practice. I didn't get many. But we had a nice crowd in attendance- Jesse, John, Valerie, Me, Kelly, Erika, Margaret, Hanah, Mark, Anne, Jeff, Jeremiah, Kristin, Sheldon, Tristan, Meg, Kim,Caroline. I think that is is but I am feeling like I have forgotten someone... Oh well. Chime in if you were there and not on this list! Fun times.

We had a very fun, sweaty practice together yesterday. I brought a camera and everything but we were just so into practicing that it was hard to capture a lot of it on film.

The sequence, more or less:

Surya Namaskar- 15 minutes
handstand- 5 minutes
parsva utthita hasta padangusthasana
vasithasana 1,2
wild thing
deep hip stretches- forearms to floor, shoulder under shin, head behind shin
in flow:clasped parsvakonasana-clasped parva uttanasana- clasped parsva utthita hasta padangusthasana
eka hasta bhujasana
eka pada kouninyasana 2
wild thing
vira 2
reversed vira 2
surya yantrasana
vira 1
parivritta parsvakonasana
in flow- clasped parivritta parsvakonasana to clasped parivritta uttanasana to bird of paradise
ekapada koundinyasana 1
dwi pada koundinyasana
parvsa bakasana/dwi pada koundinyasana attempts from sirsasana 2
wild thing
supta virasana
kapotasana prep with stright arms like urdhva danurasana
kapotasana prep back against wall with leg rooting partner assists
urdhva danurasana (load the legs!)
standing up form urdhva and dropping back
viparita chakrasana
kapotasana - (Yes, christina got her heels thanks to J-Man's most intelligent assist- just a few more inches to the ankles in 2009!)
eka pada rajakapotasana variations
parsva uttanasana
baddha konasana
ardha matsyendrasana

We had a nice gathering afterwards over at the Sell Family Estate. We had the perfect amount of food and people to enjoy all the food. It was a fun and upbeat meal with a very comfortable enjoyable vibe. Perhaps I can start a holiday potluck tradition here. At Prescott Yoga we had the most fabulous holiday yohga party every year. We did a white elephant (but we changed the rules- it was a gift that you did not want but that someone else might not just some random piece of crap you had laying around) and the food and drink was always off the charts. So perhaps next year we can have a practice and a potluck at my new house!! yes, they took the offer!)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Saturday Practice and Party

I am pretty darn excited about today's practice. After many hours of looking at houses yesterday (why look for a house you ask? Seems pretty obvious to me- we live 40 minutes away from Austin and Kelly's school my local work and most of what we do is in Austin. And we both want to live in Austin. So it is pretty simple. Prices are low. Sellers are motivated. Interest rates are way down. I can rent my San Marcos house out easily and help pay for the mortgage on a new place. And well, diversifying income streams is never a bad idea for the self-employed person. Especially when you realize that as a independent yoga teacher, not one bit of the income you make is passive. I am paid ONLY for the time I am in front of a room teaching. I am not paid for preparation, planning, follow-ups, phone calls, emails, marketing, networking, training, days spent travelling, recovering, dealing with politics in other cities as well as locally and so forth. I have no sick days, no paid vacation and no paid office hours. (I am not complaining. I love my work. There is nothing I would rather do and I personally think that this job was perfectly designed by God to give me a dynamic blend of success and ego stroking as well as challenging, ass- kicking lessons in humility. Additionally, I am not cut from the cloth of the 9-5 employee- not by any stretch. I would not trade "paid office hours" for the autonomy I have. No way. And give me "potential to earn" over and above a "guaranteed minimum salary situation" any day. I hate limitation in most forms and particularly when it has to do with money. I am just saying that collecting rent on a house that is already paid for is a pretty nice idea.)

Okay- so after looking at houses (and finding one I like but that is another story) I met up with Anne and the gang at Clear Spring Studio for their group practice. She had chosen to do a sequence from the back of Light on Yoga that was super inversion oriented (as all those sequences are) and very padmasana intensive. I had a really great practice and it was the perfect thing to do before the back bending frenzy that I have planned for us down here today. We spent a ton of time upside down and my hips got nice and open. Then Kelly and I left practice to go write up an offer on a house with our agent and after that we went to dinner with Jeff and Anne and then we came home. A full day, all in all.

So now we have a few things to get ready for the afternoon and evening. But mostly, a pretty mellow day is on the horizon. Yay. I need a pretty mellow day.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Friday Morning

Well, I woke up early but felt really rested, most of which I attribute to a most excellent acupuncture treatment yesterday with Dr. Craig. So after my morning practices, my tea/milk and so forth, I answered some lengthy emails I have put off and I am now getting to my morning blog post.

Thursday night classes were pretty fun. I think the students in attendance had an okay time, I know I did. Several people have told me that they are bummed the Thursday advanced class is coming to an end and it was a bit bittersweet for me as well. I have taught that class for two years exactly and people who have regularly attended it have advanced in their practice by leaps and bounds which is one of my favorite things about teaching Anusara Yoga. People who do it regularly really get better.

I had a whole rant about this in the Immersion this last weekend. Stephanie asked about how one goes about introducing harder poses into ongoing public classes. I said that what I do is to get an idea of where I wanted to take the group over the course of six months. Then I tell my students my vision. Then I proceed, over the course of the six months to teach all the building blocks and tools to get there. (i.e.- I drag them along with me toward said vision!) Now the great thing about this approach is that people really improve a lot. The challenging thing about it as a teacher is, because people are improving so rapidly, people who skip out for two to six months come back to the same class and realize their level 1 class, somewhere a long the way, became a level 2 class while they were not there.

At some point in the last ten+ years, I made my peace with this phenomena and I decided to stop apologizing that, in terms of asana and yogic practice, I am into progress. I am into facilitating change as a teacher. I am, in no way, interested in learning and teaching creative ways to stay the same. There are a lot of teachers who do not see asana practice in this way. They are not into challenge. They are not into asking a lot of their students. I have had numerous discussion with teachers all over the country from different methods and they have their reasons for teaching how they do. All that is fine also. But me, I want to look at group of students and see that over the course of their studentship with me, there are measurable results happening on the mat.

And this has nothing to do with pushing, a lack of contentment or anything like that. I am not confused about attainment and its limitations and the temporal nature of such things. Not at all. But I love our method because when you practice it, you align with something whose very nature is expanding. You align with Grace and there is no way to stand still when you align with its currents. It is just not the way that it works. Move yourself in accordance to the principles over a long period and they change you.

That is a long way to say people who have come to that class for two years are pretty damn good now and they were great when we started working together. The 6:00 flow class was probably one of my favorite flow classes ever. I started it with strong music, no wasting time and no easing into it and everyone just jumped into the spirit of it with me. It was a blast. Nothing hard or complex just a good sweaty flow with great tunes. Sometimes that is just the thing.

Okay, off to hunt for a house. YIPPEE!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Thursday Morning

Well, I am finishing up with some internet tasks and with my cup of tea and thinking about what to write. Yesterday I organized my closets which is always a time when I contemplate aparigraha and my complete and utter application of said principle relative to clothing. For my non-yoga readers, aparigraha means non-grasping or non-hoarding. To practice aprigraha one might choose not to collect more than they need or can use. One look at my closet and we can all see pretty clearly that I have not applied myself to that particular ideal! I did make some organization progress though. And I collected a bag of things I am going to pass along to Anne and then she can deal with aparigraha (or not) relative to her clothing collection...

Then I made a fantastic lunch of yogurt rice and spinach and spent some time doing some editing for my book. (When will it be out, I am always being asked. And really I just do not know. the simple answer is it will be out when it is out. The first book was not in print for a whole year after it had been accepted for publication so really, it may be 2009, it may not be on this one. I am hopeful for 2009, however. But there are lots of hands in such projects and different hands work at different rates so it is just too soon to know.)

After that I did a fantastic asana practice. Kelly joined me for a while and he did his first-ever unassisted drop back to urdhva danurasana from standing. It was really cool. His first attempt unassisted landed him on his head but he laughed, got right back up and tried it again, which was great to see. One should always get back on the horse, when at all possible. I worked a lot on kapotasana which I decided would be my goal pose of 2009. I can grab my toes easily, I can grab the outside of my feet and with help I can sometimes get my heels. But the real pose has you grabbing your ankles. So I figure working on a solid grasp of my heels this year is a good place to start and perhaps by the end of the year I can work toward grabbing my ankles. Anyway, be ready everyone- it will be year of quad stretching.

So tonight is the last class that I am teaching on Thursday nights for a while. It is kind of the end of an era as I have been teaching that 4;30 advanced class for 2 years now. The class has really morphed and changed a lot but many of its original attendees are still regularly rolling out their mats at 4:30 only now much more able to arm balance, back bend and turn upside down and even inside out. Its a pretty cool thing. I will miss the class as I have really enjoyed it. But in addition to kapotasana for 2009 I have a resolution to guard my time and energy when I am home a little better than I have this year. This means I need to practice some boundaries relative to time off and making sure I get adequate R&R.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Wednesday Morning

Well, last night classes were fun as usual. At the 4:30 hatha class we worked on the component parts of arm balances in a a lot of hip openers, standing poses and abdominal exercises- strong shins, strong inner thighs, arm bones back, full kidney loop and strong pelvic loop. We took the actions into eka hasta bhujasana and bakasana. It was really cool to see how many people progressed in the poses and how many people got some insight into the building blocks of those many times challenging postures. I used the theme of remembering the light given that it is the darkest time of the year and the many different religious celebrations these days each celebrate light in some way. And really, every day in yoga is a celebration of the light in each of us.

At the 6:00 advanced class we did a rockin' warm up with standing poses and arm balances in a flow and headed into standing up form urdhva danurasana and dropping back. It was great. So many people have come a very long way in the pose this year. Pammy was dropping back and standing up on her own which was great. I guess she has been able to do that before, but I do not think I have seen her do it until last night. I talked a little about the Grinch who stole Christmas but who by the end, through the power of heart-felt community, grew his heart three times as big. Which is really what we get to do when we come together. Use each other to expand our hearts.

Well, that is it. Today I am going to organize my closets and then do some work on the Corpus Christi Teacher Training that is going to be starting soon. It is such a weird part in my life that I plan things way in advance and then I feel shocked when the time comes for them to begin! I am pretty excited about that project though.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Immersion weekend #7

Wow, what a weekend!

I was so tired when the weekend started from travelling and from the journey over to The Woodlands that I was a little worried about how the weekend would go. But when we started the asana class everyone was so focused and attentive that my energy came right back. People knew the answers to my "quiz in motion" shouting out the three parts of muscular energy, the three aspect of Inner Spiral, Outer Spiral that I was totally inspired by how much they have learned.

On Saturday we worked toward some more advanced arm balances like eka pada koundinyasana and visvamitrasana and Sunday we went deeper into back bends than ever before- from ustrasana to urdva danurasana to dwi pada viparita dandasana to headstand dropovers to scorpion work with the chair. I mean really, it was a pretty impressive showing. Not one person has not improved in their practice and understanding. I love that about Immersions. To me, Immersions are kind of an ideal teaching scenario. They have the focus and intensity of a workshop format but they have long term relationship and progression that ongoing public classes have. Very cool.

Today I slept in, did my morning practices, luxuriated in sweet cup of chai, caught up on emails and had a lovely talk with Miss Mandy (Who, by the way is scheming about a way to keep the love alive on Thursday afternoons for those of you who are devastated that the 4:30 advanced class is ending at the end of this YY session- so stay tuned for details on that!) and am now catching on up the blog. (I personally do not use the word blog as a verb. I do not "blog" per se. I write on my blog. Just a pet peeve of Christina Sell. Silly, I know) At noon Kelly and I are going to go to Matt's Ashtanga class and then we will meet up with a real estate guy and mortgage broker because we are scheming about how to move to Austin this year. Still just a nugget of a plan but I am researching if it is even possible.

All right then, time to go take a bath and get ready for the day. I do want to invite everyone to San Marcos for a practice on Saturday afternoon from 3-6. I know it is predictable but we will emphasize back bends and holiday cheer. Let me know also if you are interested in sticking around for food and drink and making merry because I was thinking that would be fun also. If you want to come drop me an email at . No fee, but donations are welcome and a bowl will be out by Ganesh. Everyone is welcome but the movement is going to be toward viparita chakrasana and dwi pada viparita dandasana to sirsasana so make sure you know your limits and modifications.

All right, gang, until next time then.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Quick Update

So, after the Immerion in Tucson, I spent a few days in Prescott WHICH WAS OUT OF THIS WORLD FABULOUS for me on so many levels. But most profoundly important was connecting with so many of my friends there. It was like walking into a big embrace. It was really a potent and important visit for me.

I came home on Thursday. My plane landed around 1:30 and Anne picked me up. We got a cup of coffee at Whole Foods, checked out the Lululemon store and then made our way to YogaYoga for my Thursday night classes. That was fun. Well, I had a fun time. And please come next week because they are the last Thursday classes I am going to teach for a while- I am not on Thursday nights on the next schedule. So join me for a big blowout practice next week.

Friday Kelly and I drove to The Woodlands for a practice with John Friend and for the Anusara Yoga office party which is becoming a holiday tradition here in Texas. It was a fun practice and nice to see all the Austin folks there this year. Such a tangible representation of our growing community of dedicated practitioners here. Last year, the only Austinites to make the trip were me, Charly and Paige. This year, we were the biggest group there. (Go Austin domination is near!)

Yesterday, we drove back to Austin in the morning and I taught the Immersion all afternoon, which is what is on the agenda today. (not the driving part, but the teaching part!) I will catch up on those details tonight or tomorrow morning. For now, I must get to my mat for a practice and then head up to Austin. We dive deeper into the tattvas today. Yippee.

Monday, December 8, 2008

13.1 “The body is called a field, Arjuna; he who knows it is called the Knower of the field. This is the knowledge of those who know.”

13.2 “I am the Knower of the field in everyone, Arjuna. Knowledge of the field and its Knower is true knowledge.”

            This is where we started Saturday morning with Carlos Pomeda on our short journey through the Bhagavad Gita, at the San Marcos School of Yoga this weekend. But how can this be you ask? Christina has been teaching an immersion in Tucson all week and there are pictures on the Blog to prove it. I, Kelly, aka. The Husband, hosted Carlos and his wife, Suesi, here for the workshop and it was great.

            We had a very intimate group to study the Bhagavad Gita this weekend and for several of us it was our first time of delving into it. Everyone really enjoyed the weekend.

Actually, I read it for the first time this week in preparation for the weekend. I am sure that for many reading it the first time it strikes people as being very timeless.

How many of us are dealing with great conflict within ourselves and our lives? There may be no actual war and no one is going to die but that does not make it less personally painful. If you are a regular reader of the Blog you know that Christina has been going through a hard time in her life and I am intimately tied into that, and I am going through my own hard time. And we have a shared hard time also. So in the last few months that has made for a lot of hard times. Many times in the last few months as Arjuna lay down in his chariot depressed and dejected, I have sat down in my chair the same.

            So how do I apply the Bhagavada Gita to my life?

2.47 “You have the right to work, but never to the fruit of work. You should never engage in action for the sake of reward, nor should you long for inaction.”

Carlos thinks the first line of this is often misinterpreted. The word is, adikara, so rather than a, right to work, it is that our action is the only thing that we have jurisdiction over, not the outcome. The results matter, but are not up to me, so my focus becomes the action. This is a particular potent teaching for me, I often find myself predicting the future and becoming paralyzed rather than looking inside to my self and doing the best I can with my actions and accepting the mistakes I am going to make, and allowing that things could go horribly wrong and I may suffer, and as Christina’s therapist said, “suffering is not the worst thing in the world.”

Results do matter so what do we do next?

3.8 “Fulfill your duties; action is better than inaction. Even to maintain your body, Arjuna you are obliged to act.”

But how do we know what to do or how to act? First you have to know the field or the Self and how is that done?

6.10 “Those who aspire to the state of yoga should seek the Self in inner solitude through meditation. With body and mind controlled they should constantly practice one-pointedness, free from expectations and attachment to material possessions.”

It is nice that Krisna gives the beginners a little hope in very small steps.

2.40 “On this path effort never goes to waste. And there is no failure. Even a little effort toward spiritual awareness will protect you from the greatest fear.”

So now I take a small step to my cushion and pick up my bow and work towards Arjuna’s last words in the Bhagavad Gita.

18.73 “You have dispelled my doubts and delusions, and I understand through your grace. My faith is firm, and I will do your will.”


Sunday, December 7, 2008

Last Day

I haven't written in a few days although there is just a ton to say. Paul Muller-Orgtega came on Friday night and he has been teaching a workshop on tantra called "The Sublime Path of the Great Return". It has been an incredible workhsop so far and so profound for me personally and for the group. It is one of those amazing blends of being totally far out and also being immensely practical at the same time. Paul is such a force and he offers a kind of transmission of information, passion, inspiration and technique. Really, it does not get much better than this-- unless, of course, you are at the Carlos Pomeda weekend in San Marcos!

It is really hard to capture the depth of what the week has been so covering the details of content seems to kind of be a starting place but it has been a lot more than that. The real thing is in the context and the shared intention, I think. The power of the group and the power of joining together and setting aside our masks and conventional strategies and concerns has just delivered us all into a place of connection that is quite rare and yet also, somehow, the most ordinary thing in the world.

Paul gave one of the most brilliant and satisfying explanations of "Evil" that I have ever heard in ANY Anusara Yoga workshop. He outlined and described how absent light really can be and how very truly Hell can be on earth in a way that was authentic, useful and clarifying. And yet, how is darkness dispersed? Well, not by a full frontal attack, but by bringing light. In this case it is the Light of the Supreme itself in the form our awareness our own burgeoning consciousness that we turn on ourselves through self-observation, and our various practices like pranayama and asana and meditation and so on.

And he was adamant that we do not ignore the darker forces because the Essential Goodness is fragile and easily corruptible. He said, the presence of darkness should create within us not despair or defeat but URGENCY to practice. He was equally outspoken that we do not say, "oh that seemingly bad thing was not actually bad, it was actually's all good " or some such Pollyanna kind of thing. He said that is a gross misunderstanding of levels. It is not skillful to deny the level of reality that is operative.

This consideration is so useful in terms of our psychological processes as well. My teacher has been teaching a lot lately about how we should never work against our patterns and strategies. They are smart, adaptable and persistent. Work against them, launch a full frontal attack on them and well, sooner or later, they will figure out how to beat you at that game. (They are like the Borg, in that way.) What we can do, he says, is work FOR something. Work for the highest, work for our yogic aim, our deepest intentions.

John Friend also gives this teaching. One time, I remember that when someone was really scared to do a pose in class he said, "Well, sometimes, fear is appropriate. We do not say, we should be fearless. However, the teaching suggests that instead of giving into the dear that you dedicate yourself to something Higher." Courage after all, is not the absence of fear. It exists in the presence of fear. So like that.

Okay, well, our break is nearing a close and so it is time for me to close this down for now. I am off to the ashram where I may not have easy access to the world wide web. But I will be back in Austin for my classes on Thursday. Of course, if I get off the property and to a Starbuck's I will check in.