Friday, August 22, 2008

Too Much Fun

Well, its a beautiful sunny morning here today. I am enjoying a lovely cup of black tea with cream and honey while I update this blog.

I had a great meeting with Lori J. last night. Lori is the teacher coordinator at YogaYoga. In the course of our meeting we got to discussing my classes and attendance and so forth. I said, "You know, I do not anticipate that I will ever have the biggest classes at YogaYoga." She looked at me.

I explained, "I have been to some other well-attended classes with twice the number of people in them than come to mine. What I am doing is really different than that and not everyone is going to like it. I ask a lot more out of my students then a lot teachers do. The way I teach will probably not attract the masses. You should know that I do not want the biggest classes, I want the best students." (I happen to think this is already happening, by the way. You guys rock! And best isn't just people who can do fancy poses- it is people who work hard, ask intelligent questions, practice a lot, study a lot and are committed to one another and are actively growing and changing on and off their mats.)

She said agreed that not everyone would like my classes and then added, "You know, we actually did get a complaint about your class. Someone complained that you were having too much fun and so were your students. That level the of joy you demonstrated was inappropirate." There was a silence between the two of us. And then we laughed hysterically. I am thinking, "That is perfect. I am so using that as my theme tonight."

And so I did. At 4: 30 we talked about the role of enjoyment on the tantric path and how that notion turned certain yogic ideals upside down and so we spent a lot of upside down. Handstand variations and arm balances from sirasana 2. Time went much too fast as I had more in mind. One person did walk out but I couldn't really blame her. Meeting me for the first time in advanced class on a night like that is hardly the best introduction.

(And a small rant about advanced classes- they are advanced. Meaning hard. hard work, hard poses. On the YogaYoga schedule they say they are for those with at least 6 months of experience but I completely disagree with this and think they should have a much different set of criteria. And as a general rule, before going to someone's advanced class, check out their normal hatha class to see how that is and to see if you really want or need more. Everyone teacher is different but in my case there is a huge leap between the hatha and advanced in terms of how I teach and what I teach. More on that another time.)

At 6:00 we worked with theme of enjoyment and the heart being the source of enjoyment and so we worked with some shoulder alignment and back bends. It went really well. Lots of people pushed up to urdhva danurasana for the first time and many reports of pain-free ustrasanas came in.

Kim S. Anne, Jeff, (both back from Iyengar Yoga Land and wearing their Anusara Yoga t-shirts), Jesse and Pamela all double dipped.

Now as a side not of accountability I can imagine that this person was trying to say that the level of exuberant glee we were all expressing was distracting from her own inner experience. I can appreciate that. I really can. As teachers we do need to provide a range of experience for our students and the deep introspective classes are as important as the upbeat wild ones. Truly. I get that. But as Karuna said after the 4:30 class yesterday, "Yes, but strict classes where everyone is serious are not so hard to find."

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