Wednesday, August 20, 2008


We had a lot of fun last night in classes. Gary Kraftsow is in town teaching and so my 4:30 flow class was held in the little kundalini room. I have been enjoying playing music in my flow classes lately and since enjoyment and fun were my themes for the evening I went with the music thing. The class was a pretty tough sequence of standing poses and arm balances which, coupled with the fact I could not get the AC to work, made for a pretty sweaty practice. The class, I thought, was really great, although not a model Anusara Yoga class. I emphasized fun and enjoyment over and above presenting the alignment in a linear way or demanding a lot of precise form or even making a lot of adjustments.

At 6:00 we had a back bending extravaganza- we used a lot of the same principles we worked with in Thursday nights advanced class. We actually made it to handstand to urdhva danurasana which was really fun. A few people made it back over to handstand with help. So we are setting the stage for viparita chakrasana. That will be something to look forward to.

I chose the theme of fun because it is a theme in my life right now. I am a reasonably intense person, if you hadn't noticed. While I am casual about a few things- like housekeeping and yard work- the list of things I feel casual about is actually kind of short. For years I thought all this yoga and meditation would mellow me out, make me laid back and able to just go with the flow and that sort of thing. Well, I have been practicing a while now and it just hasn't happened. I am who I am.

There are a lot of great things about being intense. I have accomplished some awesome things like writing a book (or two), I have met a lot of fabulous people, I ahve travelled to some neat places and I have even made a fair amount of progress in my asana practice over the years because of it. But there are also some pitfalls to the intensity. I can forget to enjoy myself. I can get so intense about certain practices that I can become somewhat austere. And then the pleasure seeps out of life. And then life is just not the same proposition any more. On many levels.

So I have been focusing on "upping the pleasure" and "upping the fun quotient" lately. In my asana practice, in my diet, in my marriage and so, of course, in my teaching. Now, I know many of you who were there last night are thinking- "that is her idea of fun?" Well, yes, in fact it is. (I told you. I am who I am.)

And the whole thing with Anusara Yoga philosophy is that pleasure is a part of our path. Lose the pleasure, lose the enjoyment and you are doing another kind of yoga altogether.

Terry, Meg, Jesse, Brigitte, Kimberly J all double dipped. Oh, and someone else whose name I cannot quite remember but is a very nice guy who worked super hard in both classes. But anyway, the real questions is, "Did you folks have use of your arms today?"


Leanne said...

I am happy that you are happy! It's ironic but I must have been in a similar stream of thought this week.My theme this week was not fun exactly but Lalita and our sense of play. ( the Shakti dances in delight not from heavy intentionality) I talked a lot about being in the backyard as kids on a summer night and doing cartwheels and summersaults. As children we truly moved from the inside out and we did it for the sheer delight and wonder of it- no responsibilites, no stress. That is what I wanted to convey in my classes this week and I think it went well. A little Jack Johnson in the background helped to add to that.
Go be a kid for a while- laugh, play and eat ice cream (though in your case it is frozen yogurt)- we all need that!

Jeremiah Wallace said...

Ya know, my experience so far is that yoga mellowed me out when I first started practicing. But over time, it seems to have done the opposite and made me become more aware of how I act and who I am/who I think I am (it's that damn chit). So at least at this point in my practice, it seems that yoga actually exponentiates my personality and gives me a surrounding widescreen view of myself. But of course with that, you can fall into the pitfall of hating yourself, aka the cosmic dance manifested without enough ananda (or overly nimesha, haha! Imagine in a valley girl voice - "You are SOOO nimesha right now!").

Christina Sell said...

For the record- I am not that into frozen yogurt at all. Full fat, full cream ice cream.

Lisa said...

Wow, did you bring the fun this afternoon! :-)

Leanne said...

oooo- In THAT case ...Hagen Das Mayan chocolate...that is all I can say.

Leanne said...

and I swear you were talking about you and Anne going for frozen yogurt...

Lisa said...

hey Leanne, it's gelato...guess you don't read as obsessively as I do. Ha ha!