As I was driving into Austin yesterday to teach I noticed the sign of one of the homeless men who were begging that said "Keep the Faith". And then I got behind a car on Oltorf that had a bumper sticker that read "Keep the Faith." So I kept with faith as my theme for Thursday nights classes.
One thing that is so cool about being in a well-attended class is that you can look out into a room and see that somehow, you manifested being part of a great community of people. That somehow you have been called into a group of people who all want to practice yoga at 4:30 on Thursday afternoon. To me, this should strengthen our faith because it shows us that not only do we have the interest in practice but we have the strength and support of community backing us up.
At 4:30 we worked as much as we could from the back body in remembrance of a faith and community that backs us up. We focused on the back leg of standing poses, the back body initiating our twists, placing the shoulder blade more firmly on the back, etc. And we played around with a fun pinca mayurasana variation- one arm in pinca and the other arm placed as though it is doing sirsasana 2 and then you add a twist toward the Sirsasana 2 arm. Some people enjoyed it!
At 6:00 we continued on the faith theme (Placing the heart, placing the attention in the heart, placing the shoulder blades around the back of the heart) and worked on shoulder principles, vasisthasana and urdhva danurasana. We had great success with a group variation of parsva utthita hasta padangusthasana. That was fun. So who attends the 6:00 class tends to vary a lot. Sometimes we get beginners in there but last night's group was a very strong group of practitioners so I pushed the Hatha envelope a little bit.
The thing about levels in classes is that there tends to be a big jump between levels. For instance the jump between my hatha class and my advanced class tends to be significant. You might go from a generally standing pose-oriented class to a class where I say things like "kick up to handstand and then..." or "5 urdhva danurasanas and then we go deeper..." So at some point you have to learn how to do all the things that you are expected to know how to do in an advanced class. Last night was one of those classes- where we got a bit off the basic syllabus because the majority of the people in the room were ready. I figure that if no one ever shows you how to approach more advanced poses, then you might never learn how to do them But the cool thing is the advanced postures are not mysterious. They are build from the basics and you can approach them with the same kind of methodical system that we apply to learning from the beginning.
It was a fun class and everyone worked really hard and they didn't even complain about how hot it was. (Of course, when I asked, "Is it too hot?", there was a resounding yes! Such studentship- the no whining posts must be working!!!)
We had lots of double dippers last night- Svetha, Anne, Tabatha, Mandy, Susan, and Susan. It was fun to see everyone again after being gone- double dipping or not!
Okay- a busy day- we have to clean our house, walk the dogs, prepare for the immersion (YIPPEE) and get a practice in. So I am off. Enjoy your day.