So many things to write about today as it has been a full few days since last I checked in. I had a great day on Sunday with the Immersion group. The group is now 5 weekends in, which is officially more than half way through. There is now a deep bonding and relaxation among the participants and with me that is quite fun to be part of. This is my favorite aspect of Immersions. Well, and maybe teaching yoga in general. At some point, groups become communities. And this aspect is one of the most rewarding aspects of teaching yoga for me.
I mean, I love asana. I really do. And meditation, pranayama and mantra anchor me psychologically in some pretty profound ways. They really do. But why I love my job is not that I find "teaching poses" highly stimulating. Don't get me wrong, anyone who has worked with me over time knows I get pretty darn psyched when I or one of my students "gets a new pose." Really, I am into it. Big time. And as much as I love that (which is a lot) what I really love is being part of a group of people who come together to support one another in becoming real, genuine, authentic human beings on a crazy, unpredictable planet in demanding, challenging times. That is the thrill of it. (It is also the challenge of it, by the way, but that is another entry. I think Satre said "Hell is other people," right? More on that later.)
So in long term classes and in trainings that last more than one weekend, I am always watching for those moments when the group gels and becomes a place of enjoyment, of sanctuary, and support beyond just "Each one of us is here to learn Anusara Yoga's loops and spirals from Christina so we can become certified one day." It almost always shifts to a focus of "being together, taking refuge together and learning with one another." We start to know each other's quirks and talents and humor and trust moves in. It is very cool, this shift from the individual's goals and concerns, to the bonded organism that is community. To me, that shift is really everything.
And, like I wrote on my last entry, growth- be it individual or community- cannot be forced. We just plant seeds, tend to them and watch how it goes. I do think as a teacher we can foster community but I also know we cannot force it. If we start talking about "the kula" before it has happened, it will feel false and phony and our students will not believe its true value because they are not actually experiencing it. At the same time if we never talk about it, if we never speak to as it is happening, we might not notice the very water in which we are swimming.
So we did lots of asana on Sunday, we had a great talk about Patanjali's Yoga Sutras and a nice period of meditation to close with. I came home had dinner and a very challengin discussion with Kelly and then spent yesterday at home working on marketing materials for my 2009 Immersion and Teacher Training in Corpus Christi that begins in January. I will be sending some details out about that but those of you in Austin who have done an Immersion before can come for indiviual weekends of just for the Teacher Training portion. Also of note is that Craig and I are teaming up for two of the weekends- one in February and one in September. The first weekend will be a History of Yoga Intensive called Living the Yoga Tradition. He will teach the philosophy and I will teach asana to support and help us "embody" the teachings. The second weekend will be on Ayurveda and Yoga Therapy called Agni Yoga and The Fire of Transformation. Plus Corpus is fun, Michelle's place is awesome, her students are super nice. So plan on joining in for those very special events. (And yes, he and I are planning on bringing them to Austin at some point also.)
There is more to write about, for sure but the day is calling me. I am home teaching this week and next. In fact, I am even home this weekend! What fun.