Sunday, March 30, 2008

Scenes from Vancouver, BC

We had a great day today. The sun came out and so it was a perfect day of weather to culminate a week of study and practice and just delight in the practice. Super fun. In this case a few pictures will have to do the talking...

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Another Great Day

It snowed today which is quite unusual I am told.

We had a great day today. We covered lots of technique in the workshop in both sessions. We worked on the loops this morning and then in the afternoon we worked some with Inner and Outer Spiral. The group is so open, receptive and willing to learn that it has just been a pleasure to teach. We have had like 60 people in the room which has been really fun because the group energy is so great.

The thing that strikes me so much about the group is not that they are proficient in asana although they are-- but how deeply connected they are to the philosophy of the method. There is such a mood of spiritual longing and connectedness among the group which is yielding a kind of fun softness that is so beautiful.

Afterwards, we went to back to the Ayurveda/Indian food restaurant. So fun.

Another fun thing about the trip is that Shelley's new boyfriend is a guy named Brent who is from Arizona. But he is the bass player for Benjy and Heather's kirtan band Shantala and also he studied with Desiree in Arizona so it is fun to meet him and get to know him. Like with so many Anusara Yoga folks there is an immediate sense of being kindred spirits. He is smart, funny, and such a good match for Shelley so that has been great.

We get to sleep in tomorrow and then we have an intermediate class in the afternoon. It will have been a full 7 days straight of 6 our teaching days by the time it is over. My voice is a bit hoarse. (That is what you get when you talk so much I suppose!)

More tomorrow.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Weekend Workshop

We had a great day today. Shelley did such a great job with registration and enrollment. We have like 60 people there in both sessions today. I worked with the theme of chit - ananda in the first class. These are the primary reasons to practice Anusara Yoga. Chit- to know the Self. Ananda- to express the Self delightfully. We used them with the principles of Muscular and Organic Energy. So many people came up to me and said that they understood the primary flows more clearly and really felt them. Also I got a lot of positive feedback on the sequence which was great.

The evening class we worked with Bala and Virya. Bala is outer, physical strength and Virya is Inner strength, inner vitality and dynamism. The class was a good, strong flow-based class with lots of refinement and details and such good studentship that it was a pleasure to teach. The community here is really growing and it is great to be a part of that.

More tomorrow.


We had a most excellent day with the tattvas in my opinion. I always worry when presenting them that they are going to be a train wreck because when I was introduced to them that is how it felt inside to me. At any rate I did my best to present them systematically and clearly and slowly and I think that it was reasonably effective. It was great to see light bulbs going off and people making connections and so forth.

Carlos' presentation of Tantra and on Kashmir Shaivism was nothing short of brilliant. The best thing that he said were his closing remarks on the segment on Kashmir Shaivism. He was talking about the 5 acts of Shiva- to create, to sustain, to destroy, to conceal and to reveal. He said these acts area all going on simultaneously and constantly. So the message he left us with was that even in times where we are thoroughly concealed and in our deepest darkness, Grace is never far. Grace is always revealing itself to us. Our task as yoga practitioners is to learn to recognize that aspect of grace and to live in a deep faith that really, there is Light no matter what is happening. (Niralambaya Tejase)

After class I went to the fancy aromatherapy store and bought all kinds of great smelly things. Then we went to this great Ayurvedic/Indian restaurant for dinner which was totally yummy. (Have I said the food in Vancouver is great??? The food in Vancouver is great!) Then I went to Banyan Books which is right downstairs and bought some books and a charm for my necklace and then I talked to Kelly on Skype.

Shelley and Brent came home from an errand and we stayed up until like 2am talking. So I am a little tired today but not as bad as thought I would be. This afternoon the weekend workshop begins. We are starting with Fundamentals Section on the Primary Flows and then a class with that will be more practice-based.

Have a great day. More later.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


So today was a day of Patanjali. We spent some time debriefing yesterday and I gave a lesson on pranayama. We did an excellent pranayama/mantra/meditation practice and then dove right into the Sutras. By the end of the day people were pretty fuzzy and tired but everyone did a great job of holding it together and really going the distance. The group is really working so well together and has really come a long way.

This is the strange kind of intensive as it is focused quite heavily on philosophy and not on asana. I know we are all going to be pretty happy when the weekend comes and we are able to just move and breathe and enjoy the asana. I think so much of the philosophical teachings will be even more clear by the end of the weekend. Asana has this fabulous way of grounding the philosophy. Really, it is quite fantastic that way.

We had a most excellent meal at this awesome restaurant here in Vancouver called Dharma Kitchen. It is a whole Buddhist, mindful kind of thing with exquisitely clean, wholesome food. Shelley took me there last time I was here and I totally wanted to go back. It is sooo good. Vancouver has really excellent food. Love it.

More tomorrow. We have Tantra and the tattvas to go over tomorrow. Wish us luck.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


I got up and did my morning meditation and went to Leanne's class after breakfast. She taught a very solid class, which later we got to talk about and I got a chance to give her some feedback about how to keep improving it toward the certification standards that John is outlining and getting more and more strict about.

It is kind of an intense thing, helping people prepare for certification. It is a big switching of gears in the student teacher dynamic in a lot of ways. Up to this point as a teacher one's primary role is more in the execution of asana and being an inspiring cheerleader for the student. As the teacher training/mentoring process advances, as teachers we have to get stricter and more direct about what the certified-teacher-to-be's weaknesses as a teacher are and how to strengthen them and this can be a kind of difficult transition for both parties. (I have, in fact, one friendship/student relationship that did not make it through the process. She pretty much still resents feedback she got along the way. But that is another story.)

That people love the yoga is not in question. That they are good teachers and their students love them is not in question. It is really helping people to find their voice within our form and to be the very best teacher that they can be. Every time I visit some one's class to review it, the student/teacher will always tell me, "Well, that is not how it normally is." And I get that. Chances are you are not going to teach your best class when you are being observed- especially if you are not used to being observed. But the thing is if when we are being reviewed, we are at our most brilliant, then we actually miss the opportunity to have our weaknesses highlighted and so we miss the opportunity to get clarity on how to overcome them. We have to see that the review is not only about "passing the test" it is about "learning how to improve" and so if your weaknesses do not surface, how will you get help on them?

Anyway- Leanne's class was great and she is a good student and good at working with feedback and so these musing are not meant to imply that her class was a train wreck or anything like that. It was not. Not at all. She is a good teacher. These things have just been on my mind lately as I have been reviewing so many classes and videos. And if it helps those of you who are in the process now, Desiree reviewed my class for Anusara Affiliation back in 2001 and it was from that experience that I developed my theory on "Why it is good that you do not teach your best class when being observed."

So- anyway, as a teacher of the method who has the good fortune to both teach public classes where I live and to travel to places to represent the Anusara Yoga Way and to mentor people in both scenarios, I became so aware today of how important it is to live and to teach as true to my understanding of "Our Way" as I can. Really, my ignorances will filter down the chain of the students that I teach as will my clarity. It is a good thing to keep in mind.

We started today with pranayama, mantra and meditation. Then we spent some time reviewing the new standards for Anusara-inspired status and video review. Then we spent some time working with some yoga therapy and the psoas. And then we worked on the Gita. All in all it was a day with lots of info and some good insight amongst the group.

And to top it all off, Leanne cooked another wholesome Ayurvedic meal for dinner. She went back to teach another class leaving me and her hubby, Chris, some time to visit which was great.

And now, it is time for bed.

Monday, March 24, 2008


So we had a great day of philosophy and good company. We started with a consideration of intention and then a review of the elements as they apply to studentship and then launched into the History of Yoga with Carlos with a follow up on the material and taking it into themes and so forth.

The day flew by. It was really great to be back in Lauren's studio and to see everyone. I was in the studio practicing before the session and I just kept looking around feeling how many hours I had spent in that room teaching. It was kind of neat. And when everyone came in it was awesome to spend a few minutes talking and thinking about where the group had been back in September 2006. Then it was a fledgling kind of group mostly new to Anusara Yoga from Ashtanga Yoga. And now, so many people of the group well into the certification process and aligning themselves so beautifully with Anusara Yoga. It is really a great and amazing thing to be a part of. Dan is married, Lauren is engaged, Shelley has a new place and a new boyfriend, Sarah's kids are walking and talking- very cool.

All right, now Leanne is cooking up a yummy Ayurvedic dinner that I am very excited to eat. YUMMY. Rice, Dahl and veggies. Delicious. More tomorrow night. We will start in with some yoga therapy- there are a few hamstring, sacrum, psoas issues in the room. Then into the Gita.

British Columbia

So I can get email here but I cannot seem to send anything out from this connection. So those of you who have written me and not gotten a response, you know why now.

I got home from Costa Rica around 6pm, we had dinner, did laundry, I packed up to leave on Sunday and went to bed. Sunday we walked the dogs, went kayaking, had lunch and then I went to the airport. I got into White Rock around 11pm, which made for about a 12-hour travel day. Luckily I slept on the plane and was warmly greeted by Leanne and Chris and their stellar hospitality.

So Monday through Thursday I am teaching an intensive for the group I did an Immersion and Teacher Training with in 2006/07. They needed some extra hours to meet the new standards for Anusara-Inspired and Leanne with her great organizational skills set up this "Special Intensive". Mostly we will focus on philosophy which will be great fun. We will spend today and tomorrow in White Rock and then Wednesday and Thursday in Vancouver at Shelley's.

Then Friday- Sunday is a public workshop in Vancouver. That will be a blast.

So I am off to get dressed, do a practice and then teach.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Homeward Bound

It has been hard to write because the internet connection in Cosat Rica was unreliable to say the least.

So Wednesday afternoon I had the opportunity to be part of a photo shoot with John for hands on adjusting. He is making a ook where all kinds of handson adjustments will be picutred and explained. It is going to be a great resource. I was one of the models which amounted to doing poses repeatedly while John made different adjustments and Larissa took shots while Christy and Kelly and Cat all made sure the details were right- (her hair is in her face, lift you side body, more through the inner heel, etc.) It was kind of like getting a private lesson and at one point-like on the 10th urdhva danurasana with John cranking on my upper back he gave me some excelelnt clues about how to deepen that pose and overcome my carrying angles. He said that in all this time he had never really realized how bad they were. (insurmountable deformities!) Anyway, it is a great thrill to get to be part of that project.

Then we had an informal practice with John before dinner. We did a lot of work with organic energy and rooting to rise.

Then Thursday Morning I met with John about the book and he gave me some suggestions and so I worked on them that day. Thursdays practices were hard- partly because John took lots of questions so we didn't really have a strong asana momentum but we got some great info. But partly it was hard because I was so sore and tight from the weird phot shoot "practice".

I felt great in practice on Friday and we did a rockin backbend practice in the morming and a lucsious forward bend/pranayama practice in the afternoon. Friday night we had the Folly's which was pretty fun. The only poem read was actually good. Some great and surprising muscial offerrings and the skit I was in "Kula and the gang" was a huge hit. Me, Christy, Cat, Kelly and Neesha did a white- girl- hip- hop-rapping- recap of the week. Very funny. Very fun. (Just imagine Om namah shivaya guruve to a hip hop beat with some break dancing yoga moves. Hard to imagine? yes, well trust me. It was funny.)

So anyway- it was a fun week with lots of insight and good times. Mostly, it seems there is a lot of joy to be had in just being with other people who practice Anusara Yoga. We are really in good company.

And the book goes to my editor today. YAY!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


Wednesday is kind of a day off down here. Many people have left the property to go on tours and so forth but I decided to stay put, relax, work some on my book project, and practice later. It is always one of my favorite things to do on retreats is to be at the retreat center when not everyone is around. It is so mellow. Usually John does a small practice and that is always fun. By the time I ever get on one of these retreats, I have been so busy leading up to it that all I want to do is rest bit and not be on a strict schedule.

Yesterday was a great day. The days on retreat have a simliar kind of routine. Backbends and active practice in the morning and philosophy, pranayama and forward bends in the afternoon. No major news other than my hip thing which had been going on due to a spasm in the psoas is now clear. (Even John was impressed I cleared it so quickly.) And I find it awesome that it cleared in the midst of the crazy poses we have been doing! Like "I cleared my psoas in scorpion pose!" Anyway it is a simple formula we all know works- adjust the inner body, align the outer body, bring the inner spiral up into the kidneys and then add outer spiral and organic energy and voila- the psoas is clear.

The other thing that really stood out for me yesterday was the importance of keeping our inner monologue disciplined. One thing about John is that he is relentlessly affirming. He talked a lot about how important it is to assert one's Highest Context even in the midst of dealing with relative details of "what is". I wrote about this some in my book but the idea of accepting "what is" is very multi leveled. There is the immediate what is of our life circumstances. But as tantric practioners we are also interested in seeing another level of "what is". That which is true, "What is" at the level of the absolute. We have to straddle both worlds so when the details of our life are difficult we do not lose sight of the other level of truth that is not problematic. For instance, so many times we are careful about what we eat but not at all careful about what messages we feed ourselves. I got very re-inspired about this level of practice from the day yesterday. More on this later.

Make a great day.

Monday, March 17, 2008


Fun day. We did a fun twisty-turny back bending practice this morning. It was super fun. John had us focus on serpentine movements as a way to honor kundalini and the Goddess on St. Patrick's Day. (And we had a whole discourse on Saint Patrick and not so much in a good way. More like how driving the snakes out was really driving out the pagan religions and so on.) It was one of those excellent mornings of John Friend synthesis where we got to look at all these archetypal images and the ways that different religions have all had elements of similiar iconography and message.
I had a leisurely lunch out on the porch with a bunch of very fun women, sat in the hot tub and did some editing and then we went back to class at 4. John took suggestions which then led into a whole discussion on the inner body and overcoming past trauma and looking for the beauty and then Benjy said, "Look outside, there is a rainbow." So then 80 people went outside to ooh and ahh over the rainbow, which led into asana on the lawn and then silly partner yoga and a chataranga pyramid and so on. Just good zany fun. And then as the rainbow grew and got more brilliant, John read a pasage from this book someone handed him about The Rainbow Serpent which basically spelled out some native tribes idea of what sounded exactly like kundalini but which they called The Rainbow Serpent. So that was over the top.
I have some pics from our time out there but it is not loading well from here so they will have ot wait.
We went in and concluded with some nice forward bends and a great serende by Benjy and Heather in Savasana. Okay. Back to work.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Day Two

We started the morning with meditation and pranayama at 7:00 and then we had breakfast. Unfortunately, I had not re-set the time on my watch so I woke uo an hour ealeir than encessary. So anyway, for breakfast,I had fruit of all kinds. Yummy. Then we had a Pura Vida Orientation which boiled down to "Here are all of our bodyworkers that you can get appointments with..." I have heard they are great bodyworkers here. Anyway- $100/hour is just a bit out of my current budget. Anyway- then we ahd a rockin backbend practice. It was fun. Jhn took it a bit easy on us as it was the first morning but he spent the morning focusing on how to stretch the psoas and to unravel it with Inner and outer SPiral.

Here is some big news- Inner Spiral goes all the way up into the kidneys! (Which makes me think of a question that Jeremiah asked at the Immersion about how Innner Spiral felt like it intiated kidney loop or something like that. At the time I said, "That is not how it is defined." But perhaps J-man was sensing the ever-expanding nature of the spiral and even though the language wasn't exact, that may have been what he was feeling. Cool, huh?) So even though the book says, Inner Spiral is an ever expanding spiral...that goes from the the top of the hips..."ACTUALLY it goes to the kidneys and broadens them laterally. When properly applied, the thighs, the pelvis and the kidneys broaden at the same rate. And that is part of unwinding the psoas.

You will be happy to know that I asked John if he wanted us to teach it this way or if it was a refinement. He said we should teach it this way. So then I said, "Are you going to change it in the manual?" And he said he would.

After practice was lunch after that is a little down time. We go back to practice at 4:00. More tomorrow.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Day One

So-- I was sitting at the Starbuck's in Houston, proofreading my writing and in walks John Friend.We sat and had a nice chat for a while and then he got on an earlier plane to Costa Rica.

After an uneventful trip- although waiting for my bags in Costa Rica was epic and we landed in a down pour of tropical rain- we made it to Pura Vida. (Very nice place.) I unpacked and went in search of the practice hall to get a practice in and John and a small group was practicing there so I got to practice with them for a while. He was really on fire- we were in crazy backbends in about 45 minutes. (not typically how I practice when I get of a plane- I am typically more into the whole- inversions, forward bends and soothing kind of practice post travel- but well, if John wanted to do drop backs, viparita chakrasana, ekapada rajakapotasana and valkilyasana, I am game. He actually helped me with valkilyasana and I got my foot all the way down to the floor behind me. (think from anjaneyasana, grab a hold of your back ankle behind your head and then lower the toes to the floor while you are holding onto the foot. BIG backbend.)

Then we had dinner - and as though I made my personal request there was curried veggies and rice. Yum. Now I am headed to the hot tub and then to bed. I think there is a kirtan with Benjy and Heather that is about to happen but I think best for me to rest my voice and go to bed. I was up late last night and early this morning.

All right then- on with it. Love to you all.

Friday, March 14, 2008

50,000 words

So the rough draft is done. It is around 50,000 words. I sent the last section off to my editor for review this afternoon. So far her feedback on the material has been positive. (plus she gave me a much needed pep talk a few days ago, which helped me with my small crisis of faith I was expereincing. Wow, it is so helpful to talk to wise people! I should really talk to her more often!)

Anyway-I take the manuscript with me to Costa Rica tomorrow to give to John. He checks it for accuracy, gives me feedback, his two cents and input and then I incorporate those changes. Meanwhile my editor will start working on it on her end and then I make the changes she suggests. In and amongst all of that I have a few other experts like Craig review it and oif all goes well he is going to contriubte some pearls of wisdom to the project. And so on.

But the bulk of the creative process is done. And I should easily make my deadline . If I get it turned in to Anusara Press by June it will be out in September at the Estes Park Ansuara Yoga shindig at the the Yoga Journal Conference. We are the featured style this year and so the pre-conference will be ALL ANUSARA. (with yours truly even getting the opportunity to teach. Yippee!) So that will be fun. Plan to come. It will be a blast. Check it out.

I have had a busy few days. I got to review a lot of videos this week and even attend Julie Carrion's class. Seeing her was fun. Too short, but fun nonetheless. I definitely miss her being here. Hopefully they will move back.

Since I last wrote- I got a gold crown on my tooth, I got a sassy hair cut, I taught all my classes, I "finished" my book, and I even had a chance to work more on dwipada viparita dandasana to sirsasana. I am working with Craig's recommendations for the next two to six weeks to do a moderate Kapha-reducing diet and kapha-reducing-oriented practice. It is spring officially here in Texas and so that is the season of kapha. (Wet and damp.) And for many people during the winter season of vatta (which is dry and cold), we have accumulated a fair amount of mucus and excess dampness in the system. That is good when it is cold and dry because you need the excess moisture. But when the season is damp and you also have the inner dampness you are a breeding ground for allergies, spring colds and so on.

So- for a couple weeks we are changing our herbal regime and making some small changes in our diet. Nothing major as our diet is pretty good right now and I am not really one for drastic changes in diet at this point. Most of the changes are fun because Kelly and I stopped eating spicy food to reduce pitta like a year ago, but actually this time of year it is good to have a little heat in the food. So we are both happy about this. (although good-bye to my creamy cup of morning whole organic milk for a few weeks and hello to apples and green tea! Oh and this crazy mung bean thing that is too much to go into right now but suffice it to say that after two days of drinking the water of soaked mung beans, you eat the mung beans for breakfast that have been soaking. Hmm....not as bad as one might thing but not particularly good either!)

As far as asana it is a good time of year for more surya namaskar and twists. Craig suggested a strong stimulating fiery beginning to the practice, followed by getting upside down and then back bends to open the chest. All of this dislodges the kapha. Then add strong twists to detoxify the intestines and then hip openers to assist with apana vayu moving things out that you have liberated. Strangely enough I did this in my classes and in my practice today and in the middle of the back bending section I had a massive sinus release with all of this mucus that broke free and then my sore, itchy throat was gone. So- there you have it. A personal testimony. Try it yourself.

Off to Costa Rica tomorrow early in the morning. I am told we have wireless there (by the pool! Have I told you how much I LOVE POOLS?!) so I should be able to keep this updated. Have a great week.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Good Morning!

I started the day on a conference call with Carlos Pomeda and our home study group. It was a great discussion as they always are. He is so knowledgeable and inspiring. And patient. Such a great quality.We reviewed the Upanishads and he gave an introduction to the Gita and the Bhakti Sutras which is our next topic for review. We are going through a lot of material in a general way right now in the course and then we will go deeper into the source material as time goes by. It is kind of an interesting thing to just read the texts with the overarching intention just to be "general familiarity".

Then Kelly and I walked the dogs and now I am going to do some writing. I just got a package delivered to me from my friend Darren Rhodes. He sent me some posters as a gift which is really great. So today I think I will drive over to Kinko's to get the poster laminated so I can hang it up at the studio. He also sent me a great poster of him doing viparita chakrasana, which is quite impressive.

Last night's classes were fun. Lots of folks were gone with Spring Break but we had a pretty good turnout anyway. I worked with the same sutra (1.21) and with the dedication and devotion. The 6:00 class worked on headstand drop overs which was really great. Lots of people were able to do it on their own and so that was exciting. At the beginning of class I made a comment about how I have been reviewing a lot of people's classes for certification these days and how I have not passed several videos because of the way the students arm bones were in chataranga. So I had everyone re-do it until they were "up to standard" so that I was asking of my students what I ask teachers-in-training to ask of their students. (That is what I love about being on the review committee- you get pushed to keep working on your own teaching!)

I realized that what I was asking for of the students is a really big difference in Anusara Yoga than in some teacher training programs. We actually evaluate the teacher based on how well the students are doing the actions. So a teacher can have all the right words and all the knowledge but if they cannot get the student to actually do it, then we do not consider the teacher up to par. That is pretty intense, if you think about it.

It also points to a distinction in our vision of what is even going on in a yoga class. We are not one of those methods that you can keep "doing it your way" and just "having your own practice" in one of our classes. We actually believe that we know what is right for the shoulders in chataranga for instance and that there are appropriate ways to modify and inappropriate ways to modify. (Maybe "effective" and "less effective" would be more PC.)

Anyway- I do realize this difference in teaching methodologies can be really shocking to a student used to the more "its all good" approach to yoga that is so common in the world. I do recognize that it can feel confrontational and uncomfortable at first. I absolutely know that it requires thinking and focus and all these things that people tell em they do not want to do in yoga,which is another rant entirely. But it is worth it. It really is. I have seen time again that when people actually do the principles according to our method AMAZING things happen. I am a believer. Hook, line and sinker. This stuff works. (So that is why we are picky and why we talk so much. We actually think all the stuff we are saying matters!)

Anyway- people made the changes I asked for and improved and generally kicked ass in that 6:00 class last night. It was a lot of fun.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Tuesday Morning

Okay Meg- what would you like- black tank or dark heather grey t? Size? And hubby?

Classes last night in San Marcos were really fun. There were a few folks missing with Soring Break but we still had a great group. The sutra of the week is 1.21" To those who are supremely dedicated and devoted, the Divine Truth will be revealed."

As a side note, I must say that I LOVE the translation that Nischala Joy Devi offers in her new book, The Secret of Yoga, or something like that. Really, the tone is encouraging, she offers very real-life examples and I think she preserves the meaning while keeping the subject accessible. I highly recommend this book and after diving into the sutras for so long through the very tough translations and commentaries of Mr. Iyengar, this book is like a breath of fresh air and I must say more Anusara Yoga -compatible. So we will be using this book in the immersions from now on, I think.

As another side note, Anne bought me a copy of this book at Nishcala's book signing and so we have her to thank. And also Laura Forsyth who brought her to YY. ( Nischala, not Anne. Although, I brought Anne to YY so you can thank me for that! )

Anyway- at 5:30 the Level 3 class made their first foray into hanumanasana after a lot of quad stretching, hip opening and hamstring stretching. It went quite well. Level 1 worked on standing poses and seated twists. I do love teaching my classes down here. It is so great to have such regular students and to just walk across my driveway to work. Everyone is making so much progress.

Every time I teach down here I think I should teach down here more and then I think, when would that be? But anyway- perhaps I will switch things around in the fall. At some point I need to liberate another night in the week from teaching altogether so I actually have a day off! I am sort of watching to see where the attendance is the least in my classes to decide where that time will be taken from. But anyway- nothing changes in the next few months other than me being gone a ton. (Two weeks in March, one week in April, a week in May, a week in June, two weeks in July, Two weeks in August. Like that. it is a busy time.)

Must walk the dogs, practice asana, write and then I am off to teach in Austin tonight. Oh and everyone will be happy to know that Indy made it through the storm without too much additional trauma. I think it might have been a bonding because he is now right under my feet a the table and there is no rain today. Of course, Mom usually gives him a dog biscuit this time of morning under the table so he could just be waiting for food. This is actually a bit more likely.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Rainy, Rainy Day

It is pouring rain this morning. Mom and Dad's dog, Indy, happens to be very afraid of thunder. Right now, he is huddled under my feet trying to get some reassurance. It is very cute, in a certain way. There is not too much that we can do for him other than pet him and talk "baby talk" to him like my mother does. The thing about him is he is kind of a shy dog and so he has been a little slow to warm up to us but last night he got in the bed with us when he heard the thunder and he was snuggled in the bed again this morning. Now that we are up and about, he is keeping quite close tabs on us humans, making sure that we are going to protect him from the evil thunder gods.

I got home last night from Friendswood around 8:30. We had a good workshop. It was a great group- lots of new people and lots of people who were there the last time I taught there. As always, I had a nice time with Valerie. And, she had lots of her boutique on sale so I pretty much worked for clothes. Okay- it was not that bad, but I do have some more new things! (I have an illness.) Plus we sold some books so that was fun.

Today, I am going to go to the bank, and then spend most of the day on the computer. I plan on a forward bend practice this afternoon before I teach.

Also- the Anusara Yoga "It is going to be great" t-shirts are ready to be ordered. If you want one I am taking orders, Lisa is taking orders, Ari is taking orders... who else?... They are great so I will figure out a way to post some images so you can see what they look like. $20- what deal.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Off to Friendswood

So I will teach in Friendswood this weekend. ( I taught there this fall and it was a lot of fun so I am excited about my return. Valerie is a great teacher, a fabulous host and so I am looking forward to connecting with her again.

We got Mom and Dad to the airport yesterday and they must be in Italy by now. They had a long day- fly to Atlanta, then Atlanta to Italy and then fly into Rome. So they have a few days in Rome and then a three-week long tour. Wow. Indy, had a rough afternoon- he is afraid of thunder and there was plenty of scary sounds all afternoon and early evening and his "mom" was not there to comfort him. He seems to have made it through, although he is looking a little forlorn.

I taught a private in the afternoon which was fun and then my usual classes, which went really well. It was kind of neat because the class were each a bit smaller than usual (perhaps the weather- perhaps people could not move their arms after birthday sun salutations!) and people asked some great questions. In both classes we were able to sort out some important details about the different poses and our alignment without getting too bogged down in the details. That is always a tricky formula but when there is the right balance of info and action in a class, it is very satisfying teaching to me.

Anyway- at a certain point, to continue safely in yoga and to advance in our practice, we really have to sort some things out. For instance, if we really want to practice the advanced back bends we must be able to have a reliably, pain-freee urdhva danurasana. Really, it is non-negotiable. If that pose hurts and we can't work the actions to bring it out of pain, then we should not go farther down the syllabus- it is just asking for trouble! Now that trouble might not come today or tomorrow, but eventually, we can can count on it at some point- trouble will find us. Like John always says, you can only act against Nature for so long. And ignoring pain in asana is out of alignment with Nature.

You know this is what motivated me to write my fist book. I finally, through John's help, learned how to listen and respond to the messages of pain that my body gave me-- listening is only one thing, you have to stop if it hurts and re-align and learn the nitty gritty details of how to proceed, at what speed, at what depth, in what way without pain and then REALLY DO IT every time, without fail, for a long time--and I was watching people around me in various situations just ignore their pain, push past it and so on. The whole thing behind the first book I wrote was about how we could honor our body's limits skillfully and in so doing, make a pact of peace with ourselves, rather than continue to act violently towards ourselves by ignoring our pain and so on.

Anyway- I think we made some progress along those lines in classes last night and that kind of teaching is just so much more interesting and over the long term beneficial than simply "Working people out in a flow". But that is another rant for another time!

Have a great day. Time to walk the dogs, practice and then hit the road.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Happy Birthday

Last night we had Anusara Yoga Happy birthday classes for Kim and for Tabatha. There is a weird tradition in Anusara Yoga where you have a birthday party in class by doing one sun salutation for every year that someone has been alive. The reason I say that it is a weird tradition is that at some point the endeavor, the birthday person is listening to the groans of the group and begins feeling guilty for "making everyone do it"! Although it is the teacher making everyone do it and not their fault at all! But really, John has been doing this as long as I have known him and so many of us teachers follow in that tradition.

Yesterday was a kind of long day but pretty productive. I sent another section of writing off to my editor and so now I have four of the six sections completed in what we call in our family "shitty rough draft form". (Maybe what I sent her was a step up from that, to give myself just a little credit!) I think this idea comes from Anne Lammott's writing advice that the best thing to do in witting is to write a shitty rough draft. Get the ideas out first and then refine them later. this way you do not get so caught up in the perfectionist details along the way that you thwart you overall movement and momentum. And I learned on my first project, that a good editor is essential. And I adore my editor for so many reasons.

Mike and Susana and Susan all double dipped. The Westgate center was eerily quiet last night at 6 and 7:30. Maybe people were voting. Anyway- I have a conference call in a few minutes with our study group and I must get going to get myself organized for that.

Mom and Dad leave tomorrow for their trip to Italy. They will leave Indy, their dog, with us for the month. Interestingly enough, most of that responsibility will fall to Kelly as I am gone this weekend and then for two straight weeks at the end of the month. So Kelly will be at home with the furry family. Fun for him. Maybe.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Early to write

I am up early to write so I will keep this brief so that I can get to my other project. I am finishing up some writing about com,unity this morning. I hope to incorporate some ideas that Dad shared with me from the Judeo-Christian faith. After he read Yoga From the Inside Out he said that a lot of what I wrote about community sounded very similar to how he experienced community in the Christian Church. He calls it the Community of Believers. So I asked him some questions about his experience of faith relative to the Community of Believers.

One of the cool things that struck me about what he said is that he believes that God (Or the Divine, the Absolute, the Supreme, the Spirit, etc.) operates through community in a synergistic where "1+1 is greater than 2". That is really the essence of the kula path also. That we are more together than either one of us is alone. In Dad's language "Salvation would come to the group before individuals" and I think there is a similar idea in the path of the kula. That the guru function, which is the function of grace that is revelatory (Shiva, as the Absolute or as Grace, has five acts- creation, sustenance, destruction, concealment, and revelation) is actually said to exist amongst the kula.

While many of these traditions did have a figurehead or guru/teacher, the ideas was that a well-functioning group of practitioners would, between them, be the manifestation of Grace's revelatory power. Essentially then, the Seat of the Teacher was held within the kula or the Community of Believers. (Where two or more were gathered in His Name, so to speak.) I did not ask Dad this specifically but I think that is the idea within this idea of Community of Believers as well-that Jesus' teaching are kept alive and transmitted through the community. Seems like I remember that from some discussion at some point (yes, Pamela, we have pretty interesting dinner time talks occasionally.)

So even those member of the group who drive you crazy- the student in class who has the Darth Vadar-like ujayi or who has a particularly challenging personality for any number of reasons is actually functioning as part of Grace's revelatory power- showing us who we are in each moment, even if that is just a glimpse of our reactivity! It is a high calling to practice in such a way when we are faced with the difficulties of being part of a group but there is an opportunity to see frustration and annoyance as a higher invitation. Really, there is "one in every group" for a reason!

Actually a whole book on community as it relates to faith and spiritual practice would be fun. Okay, next year's project then!

Well, there is more to write but in a different forum. Have a great day.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Immersion Weekend

So- Part Two is completed. WOW. So far we have come. It was so great to me to think about how this last section was titled "Deepening the Practice" and how that is exactly what happened. Everyone's asana has deepened and so has their understanding and ability to access and synthesize the information being presented. Really, what a cool thing to see and be a part of. We really have gone deeper- individually and together.

Well, there is lots to share but it is late and I must get ready for sleep. Anybosy want to help share about the weekend and what you learned?

Kelly and I had a fun dinner with Mom and Dad and Anne and Jeff. We laughed a lot and now we are all kind of getting ready for bed. I have to get up early to do some homework tomorrow for the study course with Carlos. I have some questions to answer and a short paper to write.

More soon.Love.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Immersion Weekend

We had a good day today- the time really flew by. We started with a foray into some shoulder therapy and then we dove into a lecture about the Tattvas. ( Wan't the power point snazzy?) We covered the first 5 tattvas of the Absolute along with 6 attiubutes of the Divine. (First Five tattvas- say it with me now- "Shiva/Shakti, sadashiva, ishvara, and shuddavidya. Six Attribute of the absolute- sat, chit, ananda, purna, swantantriya, spanda... say it fast and it has a rhyme!) Then we had a forward bending class and then Mark came for a talk on the pelvis. The day went by really quickly and there was such a nice camaraderie throughout each portion.

Also- Michelle has a trunkful of awesome yoga clothes so get with her tomorrow and see her stuff. (Of course, you have to go to the parking lot and really have the "trunk show" but she has great stuff at good prices. (She is trying to support her workshop habit so help her out by indulging your clothes habit!)

Okay then- while I am making commercials, the workshop with Desires is almost half full. If you have not registered please do so because right now the majority of people coming are from Dallas and San Antonio. Now I have nothing against people from Dallas or San Antonio and I think it is awesome that we will have people from all over the great state of Texas at the workshop. But it would be a shame to bring Des here and have the workshop full of people who do not even live here! So don't wait- sign up now, Save your spot. It will be awesome.

So we had dinner and now I am going to write for a bit. Mom and Dad come tomorrow. I am looking forward to seeing them.