Sunday, April 13, 2008

Immersion Weekend

It is the final stretch here with this Immersion Cycle. I think the weekend went well. I have some concrete plans for what to cover in the next two weekends to fill in some gaps and to bring some clarity to to where we seem to be confused as a group. It was so funny to me to feel kind of blank at certain points with some of the philosophy after the week long philosophy intensive I had done in Vancouver when I felt really clear and focused on that subject matter and the historical time lines and so forth. But in that case we were so immersed in that subject only that in some ways it was easier. I really felt the lack of continuity that exists with this extended format and how I kept thinking "well we jsut talked about all this" but really, the History of Yoga discussion and DVD viewing was back in August for the first group. No wonder you cannot remember where the Gita fits in! So- we are going to review a bunch of that stuff. Not to worry.

One thing I was very pleased with this weekend is how far along everyone is coming in their asana practice. I really turned up the volume a bit on the level of poses we practiced and the intensity and the length that we practiced and everyone really did a great job with that demand. So that is awesome. It was super great to see how far along arm balances have come and how good the backbends are getting. (AND HOW LITTLE WHINING THERE WAS!!!)

Also I am so pleased with how many people are interested in pursuing Anusara-Inspired status and working toward certification. It is a great thing to me to see so many people want to keeping growing in their practice of Anusara Yoga and to learn represent the method and its teachings. Definitely, this makes me happy. Think about how cool it will be in Austin, Texas with more than a dozen certified teachers throughout the city. And really, its not that far off and it might just be you!

One more thing-at the end of the day Lindsay asked me a question about whether or not I feel wiped out after a day of practice with John Friend. I said in some ways yes. And in some ways no. (But we never really do six hours straight with him-- although when I was at the immersion I guess I did because I practiced with him on the breaks but that is another story.) But I also want to use this opportunity to tell everyone that if after two days straight of 6- hour days you feel so tired that all you want to do is have a drink and watch TV, do not worry. It is very intense undertaking what we are doing. Holding a focus for 6 hours and interacting and learning and practicing and considering deep philosophical concepts and processsing your own emotional material is not easy. So if it wipes you out a bit, just trust the process. Rest, rejuvenate and so on. Be prooud of yourself. Remember it is called an "Immerison" not a "Getting your Feet Wet" for a reason.

Speaking of wiped out- It is past time for bed for me.


mandy said...

I'm glad the weekend went so well. I look forward to rejoining the group for the last two gatherings.
The philosophy of the Anusara Yoga is probably one of the most difficult aspects of learning the system. In public classes we are primarly teaching or being taught asana with a small dose or theme of the philosophical foundation of the practice. It has taken me a great amount of self-effort and time outside of class and Immersions to understand what the philsophy is and what it means to our lives. What has helped me actually somewhat understand the philosophy is reading Tantric texts i.e. shiva sutras and Pratyabhijna-hrdayam (aka-the splendor of recognition). The tattvas just made for sense when I began to understand the sutras of the tantric texts more clearly. Also it was very difficult for me to look at "classical" yogic text in a Tantric way without ever studying Tantric scripture. Anyways I might just be slow at understanding but it took me more than 1 Immersion to even began to grasp the philsophy and it took effort on my part to study outside the class. I and really I still get my brain scrambled a lot of the times that I sit down and read. It's sure is a long process, and as you say trust is mandatory, and the coolest thing is the certification PROCESS helps me right along.

Christina Sell said...

I think the another thing is that it is really just so vast. I mean for me to just study the literature within the spiritual tradition I am in take a tremendous amount of time and then to get a solid handle on the various texts, traditions and so forth that have influenced yoga over the last 4000 years... well, really- it is daunting. Meanwhile, we have to make a living, walk the dogs and do the laundry!!

The funny thing is that I think I was better at teaching philosphy 5 years ago than I am now. The more I learn, the harder it actually gets to convey the information concisely. At any rate- it is never boring, teaching Anusara Yoga.

The other thing is that John really wants us to teach from our own experience and not from the texts. The themes in class, while tied to the grand purposes of yoga, are not supposed to be heavy, heady and so esoteric that they confuse us or our students. Really they are just to help inpsire the pracitoner to move from the inside out. And we do not need a pohilophy degree to do that! Thank God.

Leanne said...

Yes- I have had a class go sideways when I was so immersed in the deeper philosophy that I lost my students. When I have fallen off that edge I go back to John's writings and find something like "the main intention is to serve each student and to help them unveil their innate goodness, worthiness, and Supreme nature. With love, respect and honor, the Anusara Yoga teacher is dedicated to serving and helping each student build his or her self-esteem. Another emphasis for Anusara Yoga teachers is evoking light-heartedness, play, fun, celebration and joyful creativity in the student's yoga practice".

Ah yes- light-hearted and joyful...
I forget sometimes I am not teaching other teachers. This stuff might not really interest them in the level it does me.

I also highly recommend an hour of America's Next Top Model (or some other such drivel...Desperate Housewives is Christina's pick I believe) after 3 days of immersion. That and a herbal tea makes everything better! :>)

whatnot said...

so glad Lindsay asked that question, I was thinking the same thing on the drive home. *whew*