It was an Immersion Weekend again here in Austin. We are in the first weekend of the second section of the course. I started Saturday's session off with a pop quiz to see how much of the material I had covered in the first session actually "stuck". From what I could tell there wasn't the recall I had hoped for but I am not positive because when we went to review the material we got off on a discussion about tantra and "Is Anusara Yoga really tantra and if it isn't, then why do we say it is, and if it is, then isn't it kind of freaky to be associated with a branch of yogic practice that has people copulating in graveyards and so forth?"
So that was a long discussion, to say the least. I really think that Anusara Yoga philosphy is informed by Tantra and has its historical roots in those traditions but we are a unique and modern-day expression of certain (not all) tantric ideals here in the west within a pubic yoga system's (as opposed to an ashram or religion, etc.) context. WHEW! That is a string of distinctions to keep in mind but it boils down to:
1. We, in Ansuara Yoga are, in general, not Hindu, not East Indian, although we may be-- we are from all walks of life, religions and ethnicities who are practicing yoga but this style originated in America by an American who taught it mostly to Americans. (now we are world wide, but originally...)
2. We live in America in 2008, not India in 1008.
3. Anusara Yoga classes are opened to the general public and embrace all walks of life and hope not to isolate or scare anyone way who might benefit from our practice. AND we are dedicated to representing WITHOUT FAIL that yoga is a spiritual art, not simply an exercise regime.
4. Anusara Yoga philosophy, which has its historical influences in Kashmir Shaivism and the Shri Vidya tradition of South India, is both a synthesis of traditions and its own unique thing. Our use of the word Tantra is not limited to just what the word meant historically and although it may share some of those traits, it may not share all of them and it certainly will not be applied exactly the same way given the differences in cultural milieu.
5. One does not have to agree with all tenets of this philosophy (Or all aspects of the historical influences) to study said philosophies and to practice the asana and to teach Anusara Yoga with integrity.
After the review we did a ROCKIN' asana practice with arm balances woven in throughout the standing poses and forward bends. We finsished the day with pranayama.
On Sunday we got started with asana right away. We worked more on arm balances and went to backbends focusing the whole practice on intelligent work in the legs and balanced action. We worked our way to eka pada urdhva danurasana which went very well.
After asana and a long break we spent wome time with an intro to Patanjali's Yoga Sutras, a video and a discussion. Next weekend we will do more with that so if you were not in class, then please get a copy of the Sutras and read the first two chapters before we meet again. Do not worry about understanding everything just get a sense of the flavor and the structure and flow of the thing.
OH and I will get a flyer out about this soon but make sure you reserve the date of the first wekend in December-- Carlos Pomeda is coming to teach at the San Marcos School of Yoga. More details to come soon. ell your friends, your family, your studnets- I want to pack the house!