It is very nice to be home again and what a welcome home I had today with a very fun group practice- Me, Kelly, Mark, Hannah, Paul, Chelsea, Jill, Dave, Tabatha, Alice, Jesse, Jeremiah, Mandy, Caroline and Larissa were all in attendance. We had a rockin' time with arm balances and back bends. We once again had the optimal balance of frolic and focus and people are really making progress on eka pada raja kapotasana and its variations. The only thing disappointing was that we took a few pictures and they did not record on the camera so we have no visual proof of the experience! I did have a lovely savasana with Sprirt that was captured on film however.
I got home from Calgary around midnight and we slept in and had a leisurely morning before the practice. Calgary was great. I love teaching there- Kathy is such a great host and she is such a good teacher that her students are really a pleasure to teach. They are attentive and willing to work hard yet not so addicted to always working that they are not interested in details and philosophy. Kathy has been teaching yoga in Calgary for so long and many of her students have been with her for over 15 years so they are a tight group who are very dedicated to the practice, to one another and to her as their teacher. That is always very inspiring to me on my visits there.
When Desiree and I were on our way to Denver together she and I got to talking about the message behind the message. Like sure, we travel around or we teach our students at home and there is the Anusara Yoga message we are giving but she asked me what I thought my message was within that. It was a great question and I have really been thinking about it a lot because I found that it was hard for me to put it into words. For the last few years I have actually been so focused on the Anusara Yoga message itself that I haven't paid a lot of attention to what I personally teach within that structure and more importantly what I personally want to be teaching within that structure. (Because truth be told we are always teaching something so best that we be as conscious about is as possible!)
So I have been thinking about it and the more I thought the more it came to me that this whole thing is about self-love and that is what I want to be teaching. I happen to think that a disciplined life of yoga practice, meditation and health-oriented pursuits and so on is the biggest act of love we can give ourselves. I really do. I also think occasionally giving ourselves a firm talking to when we are believing our own BS is an act of love. And within these acts of love there are multiple layers of opportunities to act with great self-regard and compassion to ourselves. Like yes, yoga practice is an act of love but if we are totally critical of ourselves while we are doing it then is it really? And then we set our intention so deep and so high sometimes that we are going to fall short along the way and so we must be loving about our shortcomings, our failures, our weakness, and also learn to love , accept and stand tall in our great and mighty strengths and acts of heroism.
So since this has been on mind a lot I decided that I would work with that as a theme all weekend long. Instead of bringing a text with me to use as a "theme springboard" and talking about philosophy and so on, I thought- why not go out on a limb and just give this message of self-love a try? Anyway, I think it went well. After all, what good is all kinds of fancy yoga philosophy if at the end of the day we are not kinder to ourselves, if we do not accept ourselves a little more deeply and if we cannot extend ourselves to others a bit more fully? Really to me, that is what yoga is all about. Enlightenment, who knows? I certainly do not know much about that when you get right down to it. Most days, I am not thinking about it, if you want to know the truth. But self-love, that is immediately useful and important and really, I do not want to live a day without it guiding my actions.
So- on to make dinner. We have some yummy vegetables to cook up in ghee and to ejoy with rice. Yippee, Yummy. Delicious. And a healthy dinner is an act of self-love. See how it goes?