Thursday, January 31, 2008

A fun night

So we had 4:30 advanced class in honor of Rusty, even though he was not in attendance. I told my story about Rusty's request for Maricyasana D. A few weeks ago he requested the pose and then I ignored it, kind of brushing him off since the pose is so hard. And then on Tuesday after our back bending fun he said, "So next week, we will do Maricyasana D, right?" And we had a talk about it and he explained to me that in the way Ashtanga is traditionally practiced, you cannot go further into the sequence if you cannot do that bind, etc. So, then, well you know the rest of the story, I decided to get interested in the pose.

So I am focusing my forward bending practices on the sequence in LOY that preceeds Maricyasana IV's (in Iyengar Yoga Land it is called Maricyasana IV in Ashtanga Vinyasa Land it is Maricyasana D and I cannot for the life of me remember what John calls it.) appearance and the sequence where it first appears. Today's class was based on the sequence preceeding it, although we did acutally practice the pose. I think highlights of the class were really the horrible horse pose "Vatayanasana", badha padmasana and Anzy clasping in Maricyasana III on her own. (It is her New Year's Resolution pose.)

We worked on standing poses, ustrasana and danurasana in the 6:00 class. We had a fun time, everyone enjoying a bit more space than we had last week. There were a lot of people who I did not know in class and had learned "other ways" but were such good students that they listened well, applied my instructions well and made great progress throughout class. Great studentship.

Katherine, Anne, Kelly, Tabatha, Svetha all double-dipped. Yahoo. (Ari assured me she wouold have double dipped but hse had an appointment with the tattoo artist, which, understandably took priority.)

This weekend I am going to teach in Corpus Christi to teach at Michelle's studio, I am reallyexcited to introduce Anusara Yoga to her gang there. Plus I have never really been to Corpus so it will be fun to go to a new place.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Practice and Detachment

So- we covered sutras 1.4 -1.11 very quicky tonight :

1.1 Now, yoga
1.2 yoga is the means by which we join our mind in one place.
1.3 When yoga happens, the seer dwells in the splendor of our true nature
1.4 Other times, we are identified with the fluctuations.
1.5 there are five kinds of fluctuations you may know about them or you may not; they may be ahrmful or they may not.
1.6 the five flucationsa re correct perception, inoccrect percetion, conceptualization, sleep and memory.
1.7-11.11Then there is a discussion about each type of vritti.

And then he begins to list ways that we can still the fluctuations of the mind, starting with practice and detachment which is sutra 1.12 and where we focused our attention tonight. We worked on strong actions in the 5:30 class which took us through some standing poses into an introduction to bakasana. I made lots of technical adjustments and I really saw some improvement as we went along.

We had a few people missing in Beginning Yoga tonight but they were all accounted for and so we are still looking good on the Beginning Series Challenge.

It was kind of funny to work on the qualities of practice and detachment tonight. I did a strong practice myself before class where I worked on Maricyasana D. I was completely attached to working on the clasp. I actually got it quite well sitting on two blankets and by the end of the practice I was able to do it solidly sitting on one blanket. So, unpropped is another story. (There's the detachment part.) But the way the blankets have worked for me in the other maricyasana poses is that first the clasps came with the extra height and then shortly thereafter I could do them unpropped. One thing that was obvious to me is how little I actually tried to work on this pose in the past. I had totally ignored it and wrote it off. After Leanne's little pep talk post, I had some confidence that I should at least give it a good go.

So before pracitce, I did take a fascianting foray into reasearching the pose and where it first is presented in the LOY sequences. (This is some advice that Mary Obendorfer and Eddie Marks, two of Anne's teachers gave us at a weekend workshop. When you want to learn about a pose, find where it is first presented in the LOY sequnces and then see what came before it and that will tell you lots.) And it did. Maricyasana IV (Maricyasana D, to you Ashtangi's) is well into Course Two- all kinds of poses preceed it in the Iyengar School that do not preceeed it in the Ashtanga sequence. Like all of the variations of lotus- gorakshsasnaa, vatayanasana, yoga mudrasana, matsyasana, simhasana, badha padmasana, kukkutasana, etc. which tell you how important lotus is to the pose and that being able to move in lotus is crucial to Maricyasana IV.

In fact, with this standard, where the pose is place in the Ashtanga sequence is not in anyway adequate preparation. So maybe the Indian practioner for whom lotus is no big deal is prepared for Maricyasana D by the time they get to it in the Primary Series, but it comes as no surpise to me why it presents the stumbling block it does to the average, tight -hipped American.

Anyway- I am enjoying fousing on this nemesis pose and diving into the poses that inform it. So exciting to have a challenge and a learning opportunity all wrapped up in one. Stay tuned because how it always works is the learning opporuntity and practice challenge soon become the teaching opportunity.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


I got home from teaching, ate a big bowl of miso soup and now I am checking my email and doing "blog rounds" before going to bed. I thought classes went well this afternoon. I had a fun time at any rate. It was so great to see so many of the regular gang in attendance, many of who came to the Eye of the Tiger. So we got to comare notes on soreness. And also there are some "new regulars" in both classes which is great. I love to see some new people committing to the classes with regularity.

The thing about Anusara Yoga is that it really takes a regular commitment to really begin to see what the whole thing is about. Every class is kind of different. You may not get a "workout" every time and you may not learn something new every time either. But over a period of time, when a student invests in the the process of practicing the principles, amazing things happen on so many levels. It is a really exciting thing. I have watched it long enough to know that when someone really gets their arm bones back and gets shoulder loop activated, their upper back is going to change, their backbends will deepen. When Inner and outer spiral becomes a regular part of someone's life, their hamstrings lengthen, their hips open and deep forward bends become less of a big deal. But more fun than seeing all of that come along, is watching how people's lives begin to get a kind of texture to them where a sense of the magical comes alive and a palpable sense of community and support becomes an ever-present reality.

And of course these things happen in other methods but since this is a place for me to wax philosophic about Ansuara Yoga and my current love affair with it, there you have it!

This week is brought to you by the Fire Element. Fire as it moves from gross to subtle moved through qualities like determination, will power and on towards spiritual illumination, tejas. Right? Fire gives us light and heat. Too much, well, blazing inferno. Too little and we are cold and in the dark. Like that.

So at 4:30 we did a good basic flow with lots of one-legged balancing poses using a lot of determination (muscle energy) to feed the illumination (inner body bright). And at 6:00 we worked on urdhva danurasana and dwi pada viparita dandasana, two of the four pillars of back bending according to Mr. Iyengar. So George talked about the Four Pillars of and Advanced Back Bend Practice this weekend. They are: Urdhva danurasana, dwi pada viparita dandasana, kapotasana and mandalasana.

It is so great to think about because these poses are often skipped in the pursuit of fancier advanced back bends like the eka pada raja kapotasana backbends and natarajasana. But as I am thinking about these bends I can see that if you have the capacity to work in these poses, the other advanced poses will follow quite readily. (Yes, I can see that Ole' BKS might be on to something here... ) So anyway, we are going to work on these four pillars in our advanced classes.

First, we need to be pretty proficient at urdhva danurasana, which most people really are and drop backs (which most are not) and also dwi pada (which many are) and headstand drop overs (which many are not) and then it is really just a short walk over to mandalsana from there. Kapotasana, I think is harder but we should easily be there by spring providing that this little post doesn't frighten people away and I have to start building with a new group. ("Hello, my name is Christina. Thank you for coming. I used to have a lot of advanced students but then I scared them away by talking about the Four Pillars of Back Bending. Please come back. I will be nicer to you than I was to them.. " Can't you just imagine it?!) Anyway, just sharing the vision, folks. (The vision of the back bends, mind you. Not the vision of me alone in class begging people not to be afraid. ) One little step at a time. (Or in grouping of 5 and 10 back bends at a time like tonight!)

And for Rusty (my favorite ashtanga practitioner next to Chris Kitteridge in B.C.) (Rusty, that should not make you feel bad, because I have practically moved in with Chris and his wife from all my visits up there so until you wake up at 4 am to drive me to the airport in the snow, you will just have to be content with being my second favorite. Most favorite here locally, though!), I am going to practice sorting some things out about Maricyasana D. He promises me hoards of visiting Ashtangi's if I can offer any insight about how to make that clasp!! So, now that I can clasp in a, b and c myself, I might as well quit writing that pose off as impossible. It may take two or three years but well, what else am I doing? (Any genetic engineers out there who know how we might all grow longer arms? I think that might be easier than actually learning the pose correctly!)

All right. Enough already. Svetha, Hannah and Kelly were the double dippers tonight. Alice wins a prize for getting hubby Steve back to class after last Thursday night. So even though I missed her exuberance at 6:00, she and hubby being there at 4:30 more than made up for it. Also, Mark and Hannah are back from their travels so it was fun to have them in class again. Anyway, I could go on- like the four Katherines in the flow class- Kathy, Cat, Katherine and Katie. Strange day. But mostly, like I said earlier, it was just great to see everyone.

Until next time. Carry on.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Eye of the Tiger

So, if I could move, I would write more... Kidding. Although I am pretty darn sore- what from yesterday's back bends and today's, well, everything. So, a few pics and a brief synopsis is what I can accomplish before a hot bath!
I met with John Friend in Austin this morning. He was in town for a wedding, called me up last night to go to dinner with him and Charly but I was already eating and so we made a coffee date for this morning. It was an awesome meeting, full of great inspiration and direction. We talked some about my recent trauma/drama, a lot about my book, our view of samadhi and enlightenment, synchronicity and serendipity and about the future for Teacher Training in Anusara Yoga.
He is very excited about the new changes for the Anusara-Inspired status because the new requirements elevate the standards beyond what the affiliated status used to be. This is good for all of us because when you get that designation it will really have a standard associated with it that you can take pride in and that it hasn't had before now.
So, the meeting was awesome but, of course, I was late for the practice because we were just chatting away. But I was not terribly late and walking in the room was just so fantastic for me. I was really happy to see everyone and so grateful for what we are creating here together. John is coming in '08 so do not worry, we will have official info soon.
I had good time today and from what I could tell so did most people. Eye of the Tiger Practice can be as much a social event for some as a yoga practice. Once people get to their physical edge, they tend to slip into talking and just enjoying one another's company. This is not a criticism, more like a phenomenon I have watched over the years. And really, there we are together for 5- hours in small, sweaty room so it is a totally natural thing to want to chat and just enjoy being with one another. I did have to "Shush" the "trouble makers" in the corner at one point so that we would actually have a hope of getting the soothing effect of forward bends. (Mean Christina...)But even George Purvis told me that when he and John Friend and Sam Dworkis used to do these long 6-hour practices, there was a lot of talking in and amongst the asana practice. So there you have it.
So since it is Dad's 70th birthday I gave the theme about earthly love teaching us about heavenly love. My Dad's favorite scripture is from Paul's letter to Romans where Paul says that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Jesus Christ. Not war, not sickness, not anything. And so, as some of you know, my Dad used to tell me, during my very turbulent adolescence (when I was not feeling very lovable and I was certainly not acting in a way that was very lovable) that his love for me was like that. There was nothing that could destroy it.
And that is exactly what the philosophies of Anusara Yoga say about Grace. It is ever present. It if full of peace. It exists no matter what is happening as the essence of light itself. It cannot be destroyed. And further more, each domain- the earthly domain and the heavenly domain- teach us about the other. We can understand the heavens through our experience on earth and we can understand this earthly life by learning about the cosmos and its laws. A father's love can teach us about God's love. What a cool thing.
So, Happy Birthday, Dad. Thanks for loving me, teaching me and challenging me to be who I am.
And now the pictures.

So Many Backbends

Here is me and Anne with George, one of my favorite Iyengar teachers. He is so funny, so genuinely nice and so able to inspire hard work without shame, criticism or anything negative attached to it. Since demeanor is so casual it is sometimes easy to miss the depth of his knowledge, training and experience but he is really a great teacher. One time my spiritual teacher said that true humility is one of the most rare qualities to find in a person. I think George has it.

Note the cure bloomers we are all wearing. Perhaps we should have demanded a full body shot to really show the truly unflattering nature of said bloomers.

George definitely wins the creative bloomer award. These have some kind of Chinese symbols on them. I really like his John Deere pair. One time I was in a class with him when someone said they were going to make him some with lace and challenge him to wear them. He replied that he would certainly wear them explaining, "That is the great thing about being so comfortable with one' s masculinity. Stuff like lace is no problem for me." Love that guy. Particularly funny to imagine if you actually know him.
Well the main thing I have to say about yesterday is SO MANY BACK BENDS! Ustrasana, shalabasana, makrasana, danurasana, parsva danurasana, scorpion, kapotasana, and all kinds of grueling preparatory drills that I am certainly going to steal and make all of us practice this year. I had fun, I learned a ton, and had a great practice. I am never disappointed in a workshop with George. Oh also a fun thing is only one standing pose. of course it was uktasana and we did do it about 5 times but really, how wild- no trikonasana, no Vira 1, etc. Radical! Moslty back bends preapring us for more of the same. Very great sequencing. On a future post I want to write about the four pillars of back bending that he discussed but no time right now.
Okay- I have to bathe, drive to Austin for a meeting with Juan Amigo, then back home for the Eye of the Tiger at noon. More later.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Thursday Night

First off- the double dippers: ANNE, ARI, KELLY, KATHERINE, and SUSAN! Yahoo. Although yes, Svetha had a good excuse, as she had parent teacher conferences. And Lisa and Pamela had a great excuse given that they are studying anatomy at the local community college to augment their Immersion Studies... And in the case of this evening's classes, either class was plenty challenging to stand alone as a great, strong practice. Truly.

We worked on back bends in the 4:30 class and on using the downward flow of energy, like water or rain flows down into the soil to nourish the foundation so that the flower above could blossom. Like that. So we had a lot of fun. Kelly kicked to handstand for the first time unassisted. (Well, to be accurate for the first time unassisted since his original attempt to do this pose when he put a hole in the dry wall.) We even got out the chairs and did some dwi pada viparita dandasana variations with the chairs since we were a smaller group than usual. I really love teaching all sizes of classes because you can do different things with a small group than with a large group and vice versa.

The 6:00 class was another crowded night in the Kundalini Room which was pretty darn fun. We worked with the Ocean of the Heart and in joining the individual waves (or body parts or people) into one ocean or whole. So that was fun. We worked with Vira 1, Anjaneyasana, maricyasana 3 and parivritta parsvakonasana. Shayne came back for another class, which was exciting. Last week was his first yoga class ever. I always like it when beginners return. (Well, truth be told I like it when anyone returns. Might as well be honest here!) Also lots of couples came together tonight- Alice brought her husband and Carol came with Kerry. Terry returned to yoga after having two broken ankles (falling off a roof, not yoga) and he brought his wife, Cheryl so I got to meet her, which was nice. I also got to see Jeri, who has been buried at work these days.

So, all in all, a great day at work. After class we hung out and talked and then Anne and Kelly and I went to CM for food and to get some grocery items we needed. I am looking forward to a day off tomorrow to catch up on some things and then it is the workshop with George Purvis (don't miss it- I will be in Iyengar Yoga uniform--blooomers and all) and the the EYE OF THE TIGER (where I will wear somthing much cuter) on Sunday. Yahoo. It is my Dad's 70th birthday on Sunday so we will have to do some things in multiples of 7. Something like that.

All right then- time for bath and bed.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A Great Luminosity

So we kept working with the third sutra tonight. "When yoga happens the seer dwells in the splendor of his true nature." I looked up the word for splendor and it means "A great luminosity." Anyway, isn't it nice to consider that when yoga happens we will dwell in great light? I love that. I also like that because it points us once again the idea/fact/teaching that who we most truly are is good. Full of light. Luminous. Ahh...

So at 5:30 we worked on some standing poses and getting the inner spiral of the legs established so that we could take the tailbone in and then open the heart, making room for the luminosity to shine. It was a great class- also I taught about how to use kidney loop in ustrasana to ease back pain. We made a valiant attempt to get the head organized in ustrasana but I think that is going to need a re-visit. Or five. (!) It is a fun class with people working hard and making great progress. Such great students.

The beginners learned about Spanda and about Organic Energy. Last week they learned Muscle Energy and so this week they learned Organic Energy. Spanda is the pulsation of the Divine. One of the ways that the divine functions, according to the Kashmir Shaivism tradition, is in a pulsation of opposites. The Singular Presence of the Divine manifests as a pulsation of opposites. So just as we have the one breath we have, within that breath, an inhale and an exhale. Just as we have one 24-hour day, we have nighttime and daytime. Like that.

This Beginning Series class is a really awesome group as well. People are respectful, listening and not hesitating to put the principles to work in their poses. I am able to just download a bunch of information to them because of their studentship. At the end of eight weeks they will not look like beginners- that is for sure. Already, they have made so much progress. I started them on the "repeat after me" technique of learning. (Everyone say it: "1. hug to the bone...2. draw to the midline..." ) So fun.

I learned a great story today from Craig. I told him about the little drama I alluded to in my post yesterday but gave no details about. He was reviewing my joytish chart and told me about how Venus is in my first house, which is actually her house and so is in an exalted position. Anyway, evidently, Venus rules teaching. He said, "You know it is funny that this situation is arising for you. Venus is the consummate teacher. In fact, Venus would teach anybody who was a good student. She did not care. (In this case, what studio they belonged to.) If they did the tapas, if they prepared themselves, she would even teach the demons! (Not that my YogaYoga students are demons, mind you. Not by a long shot. I think of you guys more like angels. Really. Thank God for you, as far as I am concerned. But I digress.)

Evidently the demons would learn the yogic secrets from her and then go put them to use. At times, they would even win battles against the Gods with the information they got from studying with her. And so the Gods would get mad at Venus about teaching the demons. She would say, "Hey look, they did the tapas, they did the purification and so I taught them. You could have learned from me, had you wanted to, had you done the work, I would have taught you. So what are you really mad at?"

Ahh...What a story. Venus kicks ass. (Too bad Venus is not an option on the Facebook "What Superhero Are You?" application.)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


So how great that it is water week and it was raining tonight! So from the openness of the ethers to the firm resolve of the earth we move to water. The water element informs our studentship by reminding us to be fluid, responsive, reflective and receptive.

This is a great lesson for me today as I had some interesting interpersonal/political situations get called to my attention this very morning. Evidently things are going on I did not even know about that are nothing more than ignorance and confusion, joined with projection directed at moi. Ugh. One yoga siddhi (power) I have yet to cultivate is the ability to "suffer fools well." I just really suck at it. Truly. It is a big weakness of mine, I think. And while it sounds harsh since you do not know the story (and it is not at all appropriate for sharing in this forum) that is really what is at issue- a handful of people acting foolish. By foolish I do not mean that they are bad people. By foolish I mean that they are making assumptions about me, my motives and my actions and then projecting the worst on to each (me, my motives, my actions) and then making a big drama out of it. This is foolish behavior. Understandable, but nonetheless, upsetting. Heart-breaking, really.

My first impulse, as you might guess, is more in the fire domain. But since water was on my mind, I cultivated it consciously in this very long phone call I had this morning. Anyway- what it brought me to think about was how important each element is in dealing with life and choosing our responses to circumstances rather than just reacting to them. Water is a responsive element and a reflective element. Think about how water reflects light or an image. Well, when we can be reflective, even under stress, then we can actually choose a response that is more optimal, rather than just simply react out of our conditioned habits.

So after this phone call this morning I did a great practice which brought me back to just how much I love practicing yoga and how good it is for me and what a blessing it is to have yoga. And as I thought about water and as I practiced I also realized that water will often just go around obstacles. In this case "going around the obstacle" is largely internal, which is awesome. Whenever I can find the solution to an issue within my own way of looking at something or working with something I am so psyched because I am in charge of that process and there is a much better chance of changing myself or my attitude than changing an external situation. Pretty much always.

So back to classes- we worked on Inner Spiral a lot in both classes. The flow class did a fun flow of twisting and turning and simply "riding the wave of the breath". And we did mega-hip opening in the 6:00 advanced class. It was a fun evening which brought me back to the simple joy it is to teach yoga. I was so happy to see the folks that were there and as usual, teaching brought me out of myself, which is another blessing of teaching.

The only sad news to report is NO DOUBLE DIPPERS!

We have EYE OF THE TIGER THIS WEEKEND. Sunday. January 27. 12-5. Potluck to follow.

Monday, January 21, 2008


I had such a nice weekend up in Bozeman. It is so beautiful there and I love going there to teach. One thing that was really fun was seeing Jenny Lepaige who was a student of mine in Prescott in 1999-2001 when she was a student at Prescott College. She lives in Bozeman now and she came to the workshop so that was a fun connection. It was super cold there- like below zero cold. Brrr.

I got home from Bozeman this afternoon in time to get home and teach my classes at San Marcos School of Yoga. We are working on sutra 3 this week. "When yoga happens, the seer dwells in the spledor of its true nature." The 5:30 class worked on Inner and Outer Spiral to open the hips and learned eka hasta bhujasana. The 7:00 class worked on Inner and Outer Spriral, refined parsvakonasana and worked on halasana. Both classes were really well attended and lot of improvement happened throughout the classes.

I had lots of insights and revelations this weekend but I am much too tired to articulate them now. It was one of those weekends I feel like I probably learned more than I taught! What a great deal this job is.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Off to Bozeman

Okay- so it is bright an early-- well not so bright right now, actually- and I am headed to Bozeman, Montana to teach for the weekend. I get back around 2pm Monday in time to teach my Monday night classes down here at The San Marcos School of Yoga.

I had a good time in classes last night. The advanced class was almost all familiar faces except about 3 people that I did not know, so it was one of those "preaching to the choir" kind of experiences. We worked on hips, standing poses and a few arm balances. Lots of people made some breakthroughs in bakasana, actually experiencing lightness from activating muscle energy. Oh and I have been calling bakasana "crow pose" for years but I stand corrected- crane pose. Even BKS calls it crane. I finally looked.

We packed the kundalini room with 31 folks last night for a strong hatha class working on standing poses and muscle energy. The highlight of that was watching Kelly do his asana up on the stage and when he demoed the poses he was so perfect in his form it was like this major transmission of "here is what happens when you use the principles"! I was so proud of him. Also we had Shayne there for his first yoga class ever and Deborah who has recently joined the fold from the LA Anusara Yoga gang.

One of the great things if you practice Anusara Yoga is that when you move to another area with Anusara Yoga, you get instant friends. Hopefully that is how it works at any rate. It was how it worked for me here with all of the fine Austin folks welcoming me into the scene.

Susan, Kelly, Victoria and Anne double dipped. Seems like someone else did too but it is escaping me right now... Apologies, I usually write it down. Last night I was just a bit focused on making room for everybody.

Well, time to go. See ya on Monday. Love.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Good Morning!

We had a good time down here last night. We kept working with sutra 2 at 5:30 and the 5:30 Level 2 class learned vasithasana which was certainly a fun thing for most. Almost everyone got ahold of their top foot and assumed a respectable form of the pose. Earlier in the class we worked on ardha chandrasana and, as a group, we made a lot of progress on that as well. This class really seems to like a challenge as many people who were there on Monday night were still talking about urdhva danurasana. So, lots of fun to come as the poses get a bit trickier!

The beginning yoga class reviewed all that we did last week and learned some new poses like prasarita paddottanasana and anjaneyasana and I introduced the three aspects of Muscle Energy. (What are they? Repeat after me...1. hug to the bone 2. draw to the midline, 3. draw from the periphery to the core...) It was a fun class and everyone's poses improved by the end. We used the theme of anugraha and discusses the "bestowal of grace that grabs hold of us and makes us able to do what we can not do alone." Great fun.

I also issued the Beginning Series Challenge for the first time last night. And that is that anyone with perfect attendance in the Beginning Series will get a $10 off coupon for the next session. Cool, huh? Stick with it and you get a free class. Fun. Fun. Fun. I thought of this when I noticed the attrition that happens in most beginning series I teach so I really wanted to find a way to enoucrage people to stay with the class and continue on to the next level. We'll see how it goes.

And about the post about it being hard which we could all affectionately call the "No Whining, Please Post." I apologize if it seemed insensitive. I do know this is hard. Really I do. And I do know sometimes it helps to honestly acknowledge the challenge. I get that. I do. And I do know that you can acknowledge what is hard out loud to me and it is not "complaining" it is only sharing and epxressing. All that post was about is watching ourselves for when that place of "sharing and acknowledging what is" tips over into a state of mind and heart that is not trying to move past the challenge but is, instead, enamored with the challenge itself. I got a personal email in my box that made me wonder if perhaps, I had not been clear enough about what I meant. It was not an accusation in any way.

And I really was not talking about the Immersion. You guys are still beginners. You do get to complain a bit. But by session 7, 8 and 9 and by the Teacher Training, you can still complain, just not to me anymore. Deal?

All right then, carry on. Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Good Morning

Well, it is Wednesday morning and it seems like a lot has happened since my last post. The Monday night San Marcos class learned urdhva danurasana for the first time, so that was cool. It was neat to see how a group of people who have really learned the "armbone back" principle could keep it together when they went into the backbend preparation. Also fun to teach that poses to people who have not learned it another way because getting everyone to stop on their head and plug their arms in was not a challenge- they have no previous habit of just pushing up as soon as they can. And everyone made progress on the pinca variation from the previous week.

The Level One class learned ardha halasana with the feet on a chair which was great fun. We have some new folks joining that class which is great because that means the likelihood of the class staying on the schedule increased dramatically! It was getting dangerously small over the holidays but now it seems quite solid.

We are working with the theme from Patanjali's Second sutra this week. Yoga is the cessation of the happenings of the mind. Anyway, while I do believe that there is probably a yogic state where the mind actually does stop I am interested more in looking at samadhi as Carlos suggested as a "joining together" or "A bringing together" and so to me, in a practical sense, Yoga is that state when I am joined with my deepest self. Whether or not, in that place the actual brain waves cease I could care less. But if the process of yoga I could be joined in such a way that I am not wavering (nirodhah) from my decision to Practice then, yes, that would be very cool.

The Russian Mystic G.I. Gurdjieff talked about how each one of us has multiple "I's". So one "I" wants to practice, one "I" is only out for herself, one "I" is pretty dedicated to service, another "I" only wants to party, one "I" wants to get up for meditation, one "I" loves to snuggle down under the covers until the last possible minute...And on like that. (This is not so dissimilar from the Transactional Analysis model for you psychology buffs, but with a spiritual context, not a psychological one.)

So in our minds we are usually wavering from the aim of the heart because there are fluctuations between the "I's" and what they each want. If yoga could cease that wavering and join these "I's" together toward one common aim where the different "I's" were not working against each other, well, that would be as close to samadhi as I would ever need to come.

So that was Monday. Muscle Energy. Sutra 1.2.

Last night in Austin we worked with the principles of Muscle Energy as they relate to the earth element and as they relate to studentship. In our Immersion over the weekend I asked the question "What is studentship?" And I got some lovely answers about being "open, receptive and willing". These are very common answers to this question of studentship. (I have asked it around the country, in various trainings and situations and these are the most common responses. Really.)

The thing to me that is always shocking about this discussion is how much more common the answers of openness are compared to hardworking, disciplined, committed, tenacious, unrelenting, passionate, etc. So I got to thinking about how usually John discusses studentship in relationship to the five elements because each element has a different quality and studentship is such a big task that we need all five aspects covered to get the job done.

So the "open, willing and receptive" kind of answer is the ETHER element. It corresponds to OPEN TO GRACE because we must be open to help, open to the highest possibility. The Ether element is the element out of which all the other elements arise. Same with Grace. Same with openness. Without that, we have no prayer for success.

But after that opening, we must come down to EARTH. The earth element is solid, stable, long-enduring, steadfast. So we need steadiness, reliability, solidity, and discipline in our lives as students. We can bring those qualities into the body through muscle energy. We can have all the openness in the world but if we are not grounded, stable, disciplined and long-standing in our practice, we will not get very far.

So we worked on opening the hips to create a stable seat in the flow class and on lots of balancing poses and backbendslike ekapada urdhva dnaurasanaa to cultivate steadiness in challenging positions at 6. It was great fun. I mean, I had fun and it seemed like most people did. Kelly and Svetha both double-dipped and while a lot of people I am used to seeing on Tuesday were absent, there were lots of familiar faces there practicing.

So in Austin this month we will be looking at the elements as they relate to the principles and as they both relate to studentship. All right, that's the morning wrap up. I am going to write and the practice some asana before Kelly comes home from school. Have a good one.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Tuesday Night

Been in a whirlwind of busy-ness and so sitting down for a daily re-cap has gone down to the bottom of my list. And tonight, after a long session of emailing I am too tired to be insightful or even descriptive. Tune in tomorrow- I have a good feeling about it.


Monday, January 14, 2008

Monday Morning

So the Immersion weekend went swimmingly, I thought. Our theme for this section of the Immersion is Deepening the Practice and I think we are really staring to do just that. The first section was Mastering the Fundamentals so my intention was on group bonding, laying a foundation and helping us all to get "on board' with the principles, the philosophy and the language. And I feel like we really did that as a group. So from the strong foundation we keep going- deeper into the method, its aplicaiton and into our own studentship and practice.

It was amazing to me on Sunday how much more attention and focus and integrity everyone brought to the classes and how willing everyone was to "go deeper." I loved having both groups together finally. I think the two group melded in a great way.

Even though 6 hours is a long time, I would have loved even more time to connect some dots and to discuss some things- like the rich material from Carlos' video sessions and some of the points Mark made in the anatomy class (which I thought was wonderful) and I would have liked some time to work a little with Tabitha's shoulder, Daphne's neck and also the whole range of S.I. complaints in the room. But other than that, I think it was a great weekend.

One of the great challenges in Anusara Yoga is to communicate and convey the depth of the philosophical tradition, the elegance and precision of the alignment technology and still have class/workshop/immersion be experiential enough so that as John says, "students feel the shri". It is always a balancing act because also on top of that we are always working on clarifying and refining the asana and their forms. (You mean the feet in classic gomukhasana actually are supposed to touch?!!) Tall order. It is a big juggling act. I like it, though. This challenge means that Teaching Anusara Yoga is never,ever dull.

It seems lately that I hear a lot from aspiring Anusara Yoga teachers (Not in the immersion per se, more just in general- here, there, in my travels and trainings, conversations, etc.) that managing all those levels of the method is "hard". And I will say to everyone that yes it is. Get used to it, the "demand" is not going to change. In some ways it does not get easier, although you will learn how to get better at it. What can also happen is that you can learn to love the challenge of it instead of complaining and wishing it wasn't so hard. But honestly, it seems to me because the order is so tall, one must learn to live with a little of what I like to think of as "Divine Discontent". No matter what you choose to cover one day, that means something else gets a little bit less "play time."

For instance, take one class to drive home an inspiring philosophical theme and you may need to let go of "perfecting the poses" that day. Work on the technical one day and even if it is linked to the theme, the likelihood is that students will be little more in their heads than in their hearts. Focus on the breath one day and the intricacies of Inner and Outer Spiral are going to need to go unexplored. So after every class you get to review and live with your choices, their resulting consequences -good and bad- and get another go at it in the next class, hopefully learning as you go along.

I think of it as Divine Discontent because we are teaching yoga and because of the high calling that it is to share these teachings. No one starts teaching yoga worthy of the station. (Essentially Worthy yes, of course each one of us is that. But worthy based on our teaching skills? Usually not. Let's just be honest about it.) Teaching is a skill and we have to build our capacity and skill set to be worthy of such a high calling. To me there is very little that is "more Divine" than that. So we are challenging ourselves to keep all these aspects alive as we teach because it is important that Attitude, Alignment and Action be woven together and we just live with a little ongoing discontent because the bar is so high and it is always being raised.

For instance we expect one thing of you as a new teacher who is beginning to add in the principles to their classes. Once you want the Anusara-Inspired status after your name the bar gets raised. When you want the certified status it is raised again. And so on and so on. Hopefully at some point you are raising the bar for yourself , not "Anusara-Yoga-corporate". (And keeping high standards for yourself is never to be confused with nit-picking yourself to death in a perfectionistic nightmare fueled by your own self-loathing. Very important distinction here, folks.)

So, before you complain to me about "its hard", please, please, please just think for a moment. Do you really want the bar to be lowered so far down that it is easy to do this, that you do not have to grow or change or apply yourself in order to represent one of the most elegant methods of yoga on the planet?

Or can we all agree that implicit in the task is that it is hard and can we talk more about how worthwhile the task is? How worth the struggle it is? How satisfying it is to become a worthy vehicle of these most pristine teachings?

My Dad always taught us that asking the right questions is more important than arriving at the right answer. This principle is so important to sadhana because what question you ask points you in a certain direction. So we see that the answer is inextricably linked to the question. Think about it. (I know, its a blinding flash of the obvious here this morning!) But if, as we are leaning Anusara Yoga or learning to teach Anusara Yoga we ask questions like, "How can this be easier?" we get pointed toward a certain stream for the answer to that particular question. The stream you are pointed to in this case is called The Stream of the Mild Student.

If instead, we ask, "How can I rise to the occasion? How can I meet the demand with integrity, passion and commitment that does not falter?" we get pointed into an entirely different stream. This stream is called "The Stream of the Intense and Worthy student." And really, this is a better stream to be in. There is less whining, less complaining, more action, more fruit, less bullshit and fewer excuses in this stream. My opinion is that it is better to be the slowest student in the intense stream than to be the fastest student in the mild stream.

Along these same lines, in Patanjali's Yoga Sutra he points out that there are three levels of student: mild, medium and intense. "It is just like salsa," according to John Friend. So really, Anusara Yoga is for those who like it HOT!

Have a great day. Thanks for sharing the journey.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Immersion- The Next Stage

So I think about 33 of us are moving forward into the second 36-our part of the 108-hour shebang. We had the first day today which consisted of review (And my very snazzy -I thought- power point presentation) and then a good strong practice (With a little teacher training thrown in) and then a fascinating video guru session with Carlos on the sutras and a review on the arm spirals which went really well, I thought. (Even though Lisa cringed when she asked the question, she couldn't not ask (which is a good thing because she really wants to know)and I had actually been thinking about how best to present that info over the week as I was preparing for the weekend and it really went pretty well. ) So well, in fact, that I thinkin for the next Immersion I will start with today's presentation on the arms and see if that goes better.

That is what i love about teaching. (one of the things.) It is never boring because I am always learning and always thinking about how I can do things better. Like today, we had our theme as studentship- one of my favorite themes. And as teachers we are definitely students of the class and students of our students in so many ways. That is a cool thing.

Well, I am a bit brain dead and need to turn off for a while. Can't wait for more of the same tomorrow.


Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Wednesday Night

We had the first night of Wednesday classes at San Marcos School of Yoga. The Level 2 class had a really nice turn out with some new attendees. We worked on poses leading up to parivritta trikonasana and I introduced dwi pada viparita dandasana over a chair. Everyone worked really hard, brought great attention to detail and kept a good humor throughout. We continued with the theme of atha yoga anusasanam.
We started a new beginning series last night which is always excited. We had 16 people there, most of whom were brand new to yoga. The first night of a Beginning Series I usually introduce the chant, talk about Open to Grace and work on simple actions in coordination with the breath. Mostly I want to not scare people and get them breathing and moving in way that they leave feeling confident and empowered to some back and learn more.
Here is a kind of funny story-Yesterday afternoon a woman called saying she wanted to come to yoga but "she didn't want to be in class with a bunch of teeny-boppers." Kelly very nicely told her that we had students of all ages so she should expect some teeny-boppers but what he could offer her was Beginning Yoga which started that night, did she still want to come? She said yes and she came to class.
Between that phone call and 7pm when the class started Cassie decided to enroll her girls who are 9 and 12. So, this poor woman who did not want teenyboppers in her class, was actually in class, not only with a bunch of twenty-somethings from Texas State but with a 9 and a 12-year old!
Anyway- I thought it was fantastic because we had age range span in the class from 9 years old to mid-60s. How awesome is that? Personally, I find that as inspiring as it gets in terms of "coming together to practice yoga". There is no age requirement, there is no age limit. What is required is a sincere desire to discover your greatness and to work as hard as you can, relative to your capacity.
And we even had a double-dipper last night. Genvieve came all the way from North Austin (Yea, G!) to take the 5:30 class and to take the Beginning Yoga class for teacher training. I always say that the best way to get teacher training is to go to an experienced teacher's class and watch how they teach. Want to learn how to teach Ansuara Yoga to brand new beginners? Go to a Beginning Series, not for your practice, but as a student of the teacher's teaching. You will learn way more that way than in a seminar called "Teaching Yoga to Beginners". It is a fact. (okay, well, that is actually just a strong opinion of mine, more than a fact.)
All right then, up and at 'em. I have a lot to get done today. Enjoy yours.


One of the things I like about external marking points- like new years, new sessions, new months, etc. is that it always makes for an easy way to "Start over". So for my Austin classes I thought I would sat this week at the beginning and work with the theme of Open to Grace. There really is a lot to say about open to grace but one aspect we worked with at 4:30 was that Opening to Grace reminds us to put our individual efforts in the stream of grace as a means by which we might glorify the supreme. (anu- the self, the individual; sara - to follow of to flow- anusara then is to put the individual into the larger flow...flow with Grace... like that)

The 4:30 class was good strong practice going in the backbending direction, with lots of familiar faces and few new one who I hope return for more fun next week. Hard to know.That kind of class, you either like or you hate!

Abigail is a new member of our group, joining us from Scottsdale Arizona where she studied with Christy and Des and the folks where I got started. She is going to join us in our immersion and hopefully be at our practices and so forth, so that is fun. Please make an effort to welcome here when you see her and help make her transition smooth and easeful.

We have been slightly reduced in numbers at 6:00 on Tuesdays but the 20 people who were almost all part of the "regular gang" and worked hard, laughed a lot and practiced some variations of gomkhasana, garudasana, some good arm balances all in the name of Opening to Grace and remembering the midline, that source of Grace in the middle of it all!

Mike, Susan, Anne, Kelly, Svetha (back from Egypt!!), Jeremiah, Bridgitte all double-dipped for a thoroughly challenging evening of work.

Ari brought in some T-shirt designs which ARE GOING TO BE GREAT so stay tuned for the details of how to get yours. (even if you do not live here, you are going to want one of the Austin Kula's shirts, believe me, and we will want you to have one because the kula's boundaries are not limited geographically...It is just one big gang.) I think profits are going to start a scholarship fund for local events. I think that is the idea.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Tuesday Morning

Patanjali Yoga Sutra 1.1-
atha yoga anusasanam
now we come together to study yoga

Several years ago, I spent a year teaching my classes based on Patanjali's Yoga Sutras. So this year I thought I would do the same with my classes in San Marcos- except with the Beginning Series because they have a specific "introduction to Anusara Yoga" curriculum of themes. Anyway, since classes started last night, we started with Sutra 1. How cool is it that the whole treatise begins with NOW? Now implies that we have made ourselves ready, now implies that we engage the practice as we are, now implies that we do not wait to begin, now implies that our field for practice is immediate.
And really, no matter what the teacher is saying in any class, the instruction has at its heart an invitation to the now moment. Sometimes alignment instructions seem like an endless barrage of things to do and not to do in some kind of perfectionistic nightmare. But really, they are not that at all- alignment instructions are an invitation to engage the moment skillfully, mindfully and with precise awareness in action.
The Level 3 class began the foray towards headstand with some work on pinca mayurasana variations. So that was an exciting way to start the year after a two week break! The Level 1 class worked on taking the arm bones back in a variety of standing poses, chatauranga, and setu bandhasana. We had a few new people join us for classes and lot of returning folks so that was fun. It was nice to see everyone back after the holidays and ready for a new year.
And also, Ave visited us. She is the one-month old member of our community down here, although she came to 9 months of classes in utero. She is a very beautiful baby. (Although most of them are when they are sleeping so peacefully after just begin breast fed!)
Oh, and Fish made us a homemade cheesecake. And it is just how I like them- not very sweet at all, very cheesy with a most excelllent fat to flavor ratio.
Have a great day! Seize the moment!

Sunday, January 6, 2008


Okay so the current Immersion group is heading up a T-shirt project. The T-shirts will be available to all who wants one, near and far, Anusara Yoga purist or occasional visitor so stay tuned to that and if you have any ideas post them here and Lisa, our lovely project coordinator, will be able to see them. Ari is heading up the graphics and the printing side of the formula. Let me know if you live far away and want a shirt and we will make sure you are included in the order.

Anyway, the brainstorming has varied from the beautiful heartfelt sentiments like "open to grace and melt your heart" (Zoe) to the sassy "My midline is bigger than your midline" (Pamela- in fact her contributions are too numerous to name here) to the encouraging "it's going to be great!" (Lisa) and the frustrated "Get your ass in gear, John Friend is coming to town!"(Christina) to the fashionable, "You know you practice Anusara Yoga when you have a drawer full of fabulous yoga clothes." (Jeremiah).

Anyway, at one point Pamela sent me an email with a slogan about why you would do Anusara Yoga as opposed to Iyengar Yoga which was something to the effect of "Our chant is easier to sing than theirs." So yes, our Yoga Song is pretty great.

Also my students (Linda in Prescott, and Leanne in BC) have both recently asked me to write about how I translate the chant. So, this is not a translation but rather a contemplation on the translation. Here is the transliteration in bold, the classic translation from our teacher training manual in italics and my two cents following that.

(Oh and for a bit of free Teacher Traning here- this is how you make a theme real and believable. You take a concept, you reflect on it and on what it means to you based on all that you know about the philosophy, you write about it and then you bring it to life with asana. Yes, it is not easy. Yes, you have to think. You must reflect, chew on things and come to your own insights or else you are just parroting someone else's ideas. But the cool thing is that the themes in our method mean that we are constantly thinking about our philosophy, about inspiring, Big Ideas. Over time I have found this aspect of Anusara Yoga to be the most transformational aspect of the practice beacuse the Big Ideas pull us into their sphere of influence and out of our mundane shallow concerns.)

Anyway- enough of that rant, here is the THE ANSUARA YOGA SONG .

Om Namah Shivaya Gurave
I offer myself to the Light, The Auspicious One who is the True Teacher within and without.
I offer myself to the Light, to those Auspicious Forces of Grace that destroy my ignorance and teach me who I most truly am. This line affirms that we recognize that our deepest ignorance is the belief that we are separate from God, from our truest self and from one another. This is the Call to Grace to help teach us the truth.
Saccidanda Murtaye
Who assumes the forms of Reality, Consciousness and Bliss
This Grace that we are calling upon to help us has three basic attributes:
1.) Grace is Real. (Sat) Also "sat" can mean truth as well as Being. So this part tells us that Grace comes into being. The truth takes form and is manifested. It is Real. Spiritually and Materially.
2.) Grace is conscious. (cit) It knows that it IT IS. It has the power to reflect on what it is doing. It knows what it is doing.
3.) Grace is essentially Blissful. (ananda)
So simply, this line affirms that the nature of Grace is that it is Real, Conscious and Blissful. Also keep in mind that according to these traditions, as manifestations of the Divine ourselves, (Sparks of the fire, etc.) we share its basic attributes. So this line also tells us that our basic, primary nature is Real, True Being, Consciousness and Bliss.
Nisprapancaya Shantaya
Who is ever present and is full of peace
This Force of Grace that teaches us who we really are, that comes into being, is conscious and is essentially blissful is also ever-present and full of peace.
Niralambaya Tejase
Independent in existence, the vital essence of illumination
Niralambaya means without support. It suggests that "Grace just is", it needs no circumstance to bring it about. Grace is not tied to any condition. Grace is essential, not bound to time and place. Tejas means light, spiritual lustre and spiritual illumination. According to Dr. Phillips, tejas is the essence of light, not the light itself. The active force behind the light is tejas. There is light, which is one thing, but its illuminative function is tejas.
Here we might be talking about the physical light like the sun- like how the sun is always shining even when it is cloudy. But more accurately, tejas refers to the light of the heart, the light of awareness that illuminates darkness. (shine one candle in a dark room, you no longer have darkness.) This is also the Light of God's Love for us (like in the Christian tradition this light is Jesus Christ and their teaching suggests that there is never a circumstance that can separate us from the love of God in Jesus Christ. (Paul's letter to Romans) Paul's letter is Niralambaya Tejase precisely. (See Dad, some lessons learned.)
So this line teaches us that Grace exists, regardless of circumstance, no matter what is happening, as the essence of light itself.
Think on these things.
And you teachers out there, I just gave you at least two weeks of themes! Enjoy.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Good Morning!

Okay- morning rituals and tea finished, I am getting ready to go walk the dogs.

We had a very lovely pracitce yesterday. Even the greyhounds enjoyed it! (They were there, curled up on their big dog beds for the most part, with an occasional round of visiting folks for petting and love.) I think Pam got some pics so hopefully she will post them or forward them to me so I can post them.

We have another practice scheduled for this coming Firday. 11-1:30. Backbending. If you want to come, let me know. I am not free for anything like this again until February so this is it for a while.

And a reminder Eye of the Tiger January 27th in honor of my Father's 70th birthday. I am not free for something like this again until June 7th unless something is cancelled so come if you can! Practice from 12-5 and then potluck.

So after our practice, I ate a bowl of soup and Kelly and I went to Austin for a two-step lesson. It is always enlightening to be a raw beginner at something. I find that as a teacher re-visiting that vulnerability is always useful. (More on this another time.) But basically, this is my nice way of saying that Kelly and I flailed a bit, learned a lot and so far, have managed not to plan a divorce. But we are only one lesson in. We are working on the basic step- quick, quick, slow, slow. Now I am a smart woman and Kelly is a smart guy. You would think that we would know the difference between quick and slow, right? Well, somehow that little distinction is a bit difficult to keep alive while moving across a dance floor. Yes, we suck. But we are going to practice and get better. There is that word again- practice. There's just no escaping it, is there?

Friday, January 4, 2008

Friday Morning

Well, I woke up early and decided to get going writing this morning because I have a busy day. We have a fun group practice happening and then Kelly and I have a two-step lesson to take, which I am very excited about. Actually I am excited about both things. Different reasons.

Okay so last night was fun, fun,fun. First of all, I was so much less stressed out getting ready to go as I prepared myself mentally for teaching two classes as opposed to teaching three classes. Two classes is just a walk in the park compared to three in a row, which by Thursday night, is just too many.

It is a weird thing because I teach for three hours straight all of the time. That is not the hard part. The hard part is starting and stopping with three different groups. Those three different waves of momentum is really what is tiring. Keeping one group going that long is no problem. Anyway- I think it was the right thing for me to let go of the 7:30 class and also, now the lovely and talented Kim S. has that class so the students are still getting a good dose of Anusara Yoga.

So I worked with the theme of focus. Kelly and I were talking on the way up to Austin and I asked him what he would talk about if he was teaching. He replied that he is working a lot with learning to focus. To let go of things that distract him so that he can be focused on what he really wants. He has a very curious mind, you see, and he is always attracted to new endeavors, pursuits and studies. But the down side of that is that he ends up having to juggle so many interests that he do not really get good at one of them and in fact, he often ends up stressed out by so many things competing for his attention.

So anyway, this got me thinking about John's teaching of "The Dance between Yes and No". In order to create focus, we have to know what things we will say yes to and what things we will need to say no to. In Patanjali's yoga sutras, he talks about two aspects of practice. Abhyasa and vairagya. Abhyasa is the positive end, the "yes." It includes our longstanding efforts done constantly with devotion. It is all of those things we do. Vairagya, while it is often translated as "detachment" it is an active process of letting go. It is the "no"- the active practice of saying no and detaching from all those things that interfere with our focus, with our practice, with heart's aims.

For a period of time when I was learning Anusara Yoga, I said "no" to any other yoga method or teacher. SO even yoga can be a distraction within yoga! I found that I did not know enough about Anusara Yoga to be able to sift through various instructions and methodologies. I had to practice letting go of all of the fascinating tidbits of info that other teachers and methods knew and say yes to all that my teacher had to offer. After 3 years of exclusive study in Anusara Yoga with John, I now visit Iyengar Yoga Land occasionally and find it useful, clarifying and not confusing. But my progress would have been a lot slower had I not said "no" to other influences.

Anyway- we worked on forward. bending standing poses and arm balances at 4:30 and went in a backbending direction at 6:00. When I walked over to the little room for the 6:00 class Caroline at the desk said, "We have the capacity of that room set at 21 and there are 23 people in there now, should I say that your class is full?" I said, "Oh, no, let everyone in." So we ended up with 33 people in that little room. (Most of you have already heard my ideas on what makes a room full and how my thoughts on that differ from Yoga Yoga's thoughts on that so I will not say more.) Other than to say how cool I think it is when make space for one another. I mean, okay- its crowded, but really, if you can get over your needto have a lot of space (say no to personal preference) you can make room and support someone else in practicing yoga. (Say yes to support, community and good company.) Anyway- it was great fun even though it was crowded.

Mike, Susan, Anne, Tabatha, Kelly, Ari, Mungu, Jesse (back from the sickness!) and Meg all double-dipped. And remember how last week I said we had a new person in class? Well, she came back this week so that was fun. Nice to know she gave it a second chance!!

Okay- must go write now.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

My husband is psychic

Last night after dinner Kelly and I made some ginger tea. It was so good that I thought to myself, "Tomorrow morning I am going to make chai." Most mornings Kelly and I sit together. Some mornings I wake up much earlier and this is not the case or if I have been travelling sometimes it is me sleeping in to get some rest after being gone. But anyway, generally speaking, I have a longer morning sitting practice then Kelly does. I usually begin before he does, then he comes in and then he leaves and while I finish up, he makes my morning tea while he prepares his breakfast.

(Can't you just imagine our conversations now?Me, not wanting to upset the balance of having my tea made for me in the mornings, tell my husband, "Oh no,honey, there is no need to meditate any longer. Really, what you are doing is totally sufficient. Absolutely. Don't worry at all...) Actually, it is not really like that.. Yet. No really, his practice is really his business. But that is another story.

So anyway- this morning, I finished with singing arati and with my morning puja and came into the kitchen where Kelly had made me a cup of homemade chai. See, I am telling you- he is psychic.

All right- here is another interesting development which is going to yield some very fun yoga opportunities. I had been planning on visiting my parents at the end of the month for my Dad's 70th birthday. But after slandering him on my blog yesterday, he no longer wants me to come. (Now that is a boldface lie. Really, that is not it at all. I totally made that up.) Actually, as each of us looked at our schedules, it became obvious that it wasn't the best time of year to leave for many reasons, we realized we have actually spent a lot of time togehter in the last few months, and also that Anne and I could only be gone 4 days and we would travel all day on two of those days, so perhaps it would be better to just go another time.

That being said, I have a weekend free to entertain the idea of a repeat performance of Eye of the Tiger. George Purvis will be teaching at Clear Springs on Saturday January 26. (google it and find the info.) So I will go to that -and encourage everyone locally to go as well. And then what about Sunday, January 27 as a practice and potluck down here? This is the only weekend I can do something like this until June 7th, unless another event gets cancelled. Any takers? Let me know.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Wednesday Morning

So- on the YYTT07 chat group someon posted a link that you all might find interesting. Check it out- The idea is that you join, make a commitment to practicing 10 minutes a day and log your practice on the site. Really, ten minutes a day- think about it- 10minutes of savasana would even "count"...

All right then. I am up, finished with my morning rituals, drinking my morning "nectar" (tea/milk/honey/chyawanprash- ayurvedic formula of goodness- YUM.). You know for years I was a black-coffee-in-the-morning person but once we sold the coffee shop I pretty much stopped drinking coffee and switched to tea. Then a year after that I started following some Ayurveda protocols, which included some whole milk and such (for me to cultivate kapha) and I must say it is just a wonderful thing to begin the day with a cup of hot, sweet and creamy tea. What pleasure. So luscious. So nurturing.

I can hear my Dad groaning even as I write. You see, when we were younger he told us we could have coffee but we had to drink it black. This is a whole blog entry in and of itself- vices were allowed but no "spoonful of sugar" to take the edge off. You had to face the vice square on, so to speak. For instance- you can have whiskey with ice or a little water but no sweet and sour mix. You can have a martini, but it must be dry and is "best" with a really harsh gin like Beefeater- none of the mellower, new-school gins that have come along are as "good.". White wine must be dry, very oaky, not sweet. Not ever. Absolutely nothing pink or fruity like a cosmopolitan is allowed and certainly anything that would be decorated with an umbrella or a pineapple slice is an example of one's weak moral character. The"list" goes on but you get the attitude, right? (I am kidding. Sort of. Love you, Dad.)

Like I said, its another blog entry all together because a lot of good came from that approach. I actually love black coffee and if I want to drink, I can do it without requiring all kinds of froo-froo chick drinks to get the job done. But I digress. Or is this a digression? Maybe this is as good as it is going to ge here on the blog this morning. Anyway, I am wondering if Kelly is going to get up any time soon or if I have enough time to get going on some writing. I hear him milling about even as we speak, so onward I must march.

Follow this link to Mike's pictures of Eye of the Tiger-

Enjoy your day.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year!

I went to bed at like 9:00 last night. Not much of a party girl this year, which is how I wanted it. So I am up, clear-headed, well-rested and now well-nourished. Kelly and I celebrated New Year's Eve with some time kayking on the river and with an Ayurvedic feast. We made potato/pea patties (fried in ghee-yum), curried chickpeas and cumin zucchini. Everything was awesome and tasty. And in the spirit of New Year's we shared a bottle of Martinelli's Sparkling Apple Cider. ( I know, so wild.)

Today- Kelly and I will do some work on the floor in the guest room and I hope to get a practice in and some time at my computer.

I have a great feeling about this year. There are lots of fun things on the agenda. I am traveling to new places, starting new projects and also renewing some old connections, all of which are great fun. I make several trips to Bozeman, two to Prescott, back to Calgary for the fifth year, back to Friendswood, two trips to Vancouver, to Corpus for the first time, a trip to Wisconsin for the first time, to Idaho for the first time, to Guatemala for the first time. We will complete a 108-hour immersion here, get almost through a second 108-series with a new group. My friend Darren and I will teach series of Immerisons in Tucson, which is a thrill to team up with him. He will come here, Des will come, Sianna will come and John Friend will come.

On a personal note, my parents will moving to Sun City, Georgetown at some point in the year which I am excited about. I am signed up for some fun stuff with John Friend this year- the Advanced Intensive in Tucson, his Master Immersion and probably the weekend workshop following it. I am taking 5 days before the workshops to spend with my teacher up in Prescott. In March I am going to Costa Rica for John's week-long advanced intensive down there. I am planning on taking a week-long vacation in Tofino, BC after I teach for a week in Vancouver, plus a trip to Ann Arbor with Anne to study some with Laurie Blakeney. Then in August Anne and I are going to Feathered Pipe for a week with Patricia Walden and John Schumaker. So- lots of fun, lots of work, lots of time to be a student. Yahoo. Big Year.

And oddly, I am already making plans for 2009. (So much for yoga keeping you in the moment!) I am toying with offering a formal, year-long mentoring/Teacher Training program to help people prepare for the certification process (Anyone interested?), Noah is coming back for a weekend in Feb '09, he and I are teaming up for an intensive in May '09, Desiree is on the books for Nov '09 already, Shelley and I are already scheming about Vancouver, and hopefully we can lure Sianna, Darren, and John Friend back again...

But between then and now, there are lots of fun things. I looked at my calendar last night as I was posting some events on Facebook and each weekend holds something fun to look forward to. In the more immediate domain, in fact- if you are around on Friday and you want to practice, a few of us are getting together at my place from 11-2. Again, its a practice not a class so come ready to work, take care of yourself and practice according to your own wisdom. Be prepared for hip openers, arm balances and inversions. And I am not charging for the practice but I will put out a bowl for donations by Ganesh, if you are inspired to make a contribution. Sorry for the weekday time, but almost all of my weekends are scheduled in 2008 so I really cannot offer practices on the weekends until like July or August. And I think Thanksgiving weekend 2008 is open (Although my parents will be here) and then again around Christmas. But here and there a few Fridays and Wednesdays might pop up as opportunities, so stay tuned.

Kelly just asked me what I was writing about. I said "The Year." and he thought I meant the last year not the next two years! Anyway- he asked me, "Have you every had a better year than last year?" I said, "You know, I really do not think so. 2007 was a fantastic year." Really, on all levels. So as I look ahead, I feel the very real support of so many people who have helped make this past year awesome and who will be part of the adventures to come. Thanks to all of you for making this such a great life.

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYBODY!! And as John Friend said to me in an email the other day, "I can’t wait to take everything to a higher level in ’08." (direct quote.) No need to wait. '08 is here. Let's go! No top end.