Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Master Immersion

Master Immersion Day One
John started the morning off going over the basics of the History of Yoga—Classical Yoga, Advaita Vedanta and Tantra and we discussed the tattvas at length. We practiced asana some, then he had us discuss the attributes of the Supreme- (Write them down. In fact, as an Anusara Yoga teacher one thing you need to perk your ears up for is any kind of list that comes out of John’s mouth like that. Whenever you hear something like "there are five acts of Shiva" or "there are six attirubutes of the Divine", write it down and memorize it. It is important and at sometime you will need to know it. So the 6 attributes of the Supreme are (In no particular order) are 1. Shiva- Auspicious Goodness, 2. Chit- Self- knowing/Conscious 3. Ananda- Blissful 4. Purna- full perfection 5. Swatantriya- Freedom and 6. Spanda- pulsation.)

Then some more asana, then some talking then some sharing. The asana was so mellow and interspersed within the talking that I decided to stay at lunch to practice. And then John invited me to practice with him and his staff so that was fun. We did some basic backbends and laughed a lot. It was a very chatty practice, but quite enjoyable.

The afternoon started with a Q & A that went about 45 minutes too long for my taste, although some good points were made, I thought. (Some of which came out of my own mouth which I just could not keep shut. Although, what I said was actually a mere fraction of what I wanted to say, so I did exercise some yogic restraint of the mouth!!!) It was a nice afternoon all in all. He had me demo ardha chandrasana for almost 5 minutes. Okay, maybe that is an exaggeration-- but seriously, we are talking well over 3 minutes on the same side. That was pretty funny. Mostly, I got to be a prop for his antics which is kind of a fun thing.

Today was fun because Rachel from Prescott was here and Meg is still here and so is Mary Kate. And Mandy Eubanks and Tia from Texas joined our row. So that was great for me to have my yoga worlds and communities join. Carol from BC is here (I tried to get her to come up with us but she was hanging with the other Canadians in the back row!) She and I did get to connect a little after the class about her knee and the many faces of Inner spiral- in pigeon, in janu sirsasana and so on.

I have a lot of thoughts after the first day but mostly they center around a supreme kind of gratitude for the way I was “brought up” in the method and for some of the fantastic learning opportunities I had along the way. I got to really see how important it is, the work we do as teachers of this method, and how necessary it is to present the method clearly and accurately and what a great fortune it is to have small groups and intimate times together like our classes, immersions and practices to sort out the fine details of things. I am now even more committed than I was before to that process because if you do not know the material by the time you get to one of these workshops, it is going to get harder and harder to get the important nuances and details because John is focused in the big picture so much of the time. And he is so good at making that big picture accessible, interesting, inspiring and fresh so we wouldn’t want him to change what he is doing one bit. Our job as teachers and students is to get the details cleared up before getting to him so that we can ride in the wave of the bigger flow when we are with him.

Okay, so enough of all of that for now.

Master Immersion Day Two

John spent the first part of the morning discussing how important it is to have a clear intention when we practice and for our lives. Then he talkjed about studentship and the elements as they realte to adhikara. These kind of talks are right up my alley- I love talking about studentship as you know.

Then we did a nice strong asana practice with 35 sun salutations to celebrate Patrik's birthday and ending in some urdhva danurasanas. Then we did a journal assignment about the elements as they apply to our personal strengths and weaknesses.

I continued the backbending fun with John and his staff at lunch and then the afternoon began with a consideration of the Five Acts of Shiva. (Write them down, remember- they are: 1. Creation 2. Sustenance 3. Dissolution 4. Concelament 5. Revelation) Mansoush who is selling murtis in the Shri-tail Boutique (Anusara-ese for retail is Shri-tail.) told a great sotry about Shiva and his dance of ecstasy and how it related to Patanjali and the different schools of yoga. That story is for another time.

We did a nice forward bending class. At one point we were doing baradvajasana 2 and Tia asked if it was okay if the back hip came up. He said, "Well, if you let the back hip up Christina is going to come over there and write you a ticket." I thought this was hilarious as my teacher was teasing me for my love of technical details in front of 100 people! (And really, someone has to hold down the technical end of things. It might as well be me!) But he did answer exactly how I answered whenever that question last came up when I was teaching that that pose. (Or perhaps we should say that I answered the way he answered...Yes, that is the right relationship.) I think it was maybe at the Carlos weekend? (Anne can you remember when that whole thing came up?)

Anyway, the great thing about that pose is inherent in the form is the grounding of the front hip which tends to lift in other seated twists. So we can, in beginning, let the back hip come up. He agreed with me however, that it can have the action of rooting regardless of form. (Also as a side note in Pune this summer they encouraged us to let that back hip come way up in one class to really get the twist more developed.)

So then we concluded with a consideration of gratitude and offering our efforts back to the source. All in all a great day.

I am going to post this before blogger kicks me off again. Tonight I have a certification video to review before hitting the sack. Oh, I had a meeting with John about my book. We have a deadline in mind so if I am out of pocket a bit over the next few months, that is why. I am going to have to chain myself to my computer! We shaved two months off my timetable. EEKS! (But it will be worth it.)


Leanne said...

Thank you thank you thank you-
I drink up every word.Send Carol our love.

(And this whole thing about the book is driving me- why am I so bloody curious? Just when I think yoga has evolved me somewhat I fall into old bad habits.)

John likes to talk for a long time when you are demoing- I remember when I came out of pasvakonasana after 8 minutes (Ok,it was probably more like 5)and thought "Thank God CHRISTINA is my teacher!" ...Actually I might have even said it out loud! lol

Lisa said...

YES, thank you for being my teacher, and thank you for the delicious blog. Next best thing to being there! Love...

whatnot said...

I love that you are posting in the midst of all this! Your reflections are always interesting, but I'm also curious to see what I may be up to in a few years. And remember when I told you the longest I've held a handstand is when you had me demo and you just kept talking? there's gotta be something to this. hm...

and Leanne, I think she is taunting us about the book. Seriously, I love a good secret, but the hint-hint-hinting is a little maddening. Christina, maybe you should write a suspense or mystery novel after you finish this one.