Saturday, February 28, 2009

For those of you at home

For those of you at home who might like to practice the sequences from The Advanced Intensive, have at it.

Morning Class:

Tadasana- hands on pelvis, root down
uttanasana- extend spine with the breath 5X
right leg back, lunge
right leg forward, lunge
urdhva hastasana
uttanasana, look up
vinyasa between sides:
vira 2-reverse vira2
vira 2 with hands clasped behind back
bent leg lunge with forearms down
handstand with partner, squeeze inner heels
parsva utthita hasta padangusthasana, prep
parsva utthita hasta padangusthasana, out and neighbor supporting foot
half lotus in AMS
standing babay cradle, full pose
garudasana in handstand
ardha baddha padmottanasana
lunge rooting pelvis
rajakapotasana prep
ardha chandrasana- ardha chandra chapasana-trikonasana backbended
ardha baddha padmottanasana
lotus in handstand
eka pada raja kapotasana with quad stretch and backbend
anjaneyasana with quad stretch and backbend
rest on belly
parsva danurasana
cobra with one leg in ardha bhekasana
urdhva danurasana
urdhva danurasana to ustrasana to urdhva danurasana (yes, this is a true story)
drop backs- 10X
pigeon droppings
ekapada rajakapotasana prep
eka pada raja kapotasana 1, 2, and 3
wide legged parsva uttanasana
child's pose

Afternoon class

lunge knees and elbows to floor
big wide pigeon (don't ask)
parivritta parsvakonasana prep
Ujayi pranayama
LAM-VAM-RAM, mantra repetition
janu sirsasana
ardha matsyendrasana
triangmukaikapada pascimottanasana-krouncasana- bharadvajasana 2
baddha konasana
open the feet in BK and bend forward
kabalabhati pranayama
uppa vistha konasana
parsva uppa vistha
twist in agnisthambasana - foot to arm pit
uppa vistha konasana
ujayi pranyama with antara kumbhaka
janu sirsasana foldingbetween legs
stage one parivritta janu sirsasana
janu sirsasana wider, fold between legs
parivritta janu sirsasana
hanuman's vice
sahita pranayama
gomukasana with opposite elbow to top knee (Major!)
yogi dandasana
eka pada sirsasana
parsva danurasana
child's pose

Have fun! We sure did!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Tucson- Home Away from Home

Well, one week later I am back in Tucson. Kelly and I flew into Phoenix, rented a car and made our way across the desert to Tucson. We had a nice lunch along the way, a scenic drive through the desert and spent some time with the Anusara Yoga set-up crew before heading over to Yoga Oasis to teach a class. We had about 52 people in class tonight, with a special guest appearance by John Friend. It was pretty fun class, as far as I could tell.

On the way to teach I was thinking that this is the 10th year I have been at this intensive this weekend and Darren just celebrated being the Yoga Oasis studio director for 10 years this last week. So I got to thinking about how when I first met John Friend he looked at me and told me that he would support me. He told me he would help me get certified and help me become a great yoga teacher. And he really made good on the offer. He has answered emails, phone calls, and numerous questions. He has visited me, invited me to his home and he has been unwavering in his support.

But what he did not tell me was that part of his offer of support also involved being supported not just by him, but by a huge community of awesome people who would become a family of sorts. These people would learn all about me- and me about them- and we would laugh and cry and trudge and dance our way through fun times and hard times and challenges and triumphs and so on. And this has been the surprising and awesome thing about Anusara Yoga for me.

Not just are we a great system of bio mechanical principles; not only do we have some of the most profound spiritual teachings that inform our method but we have this amazing thing called the kula to support us and to give us a means to offer our support to others. That's a huge thing for me. So I used that as my theme and we did a strong standing pose practice and some backbends and mostly we had a really fun time together. John gave me some great technical pointers which was fantastic and he had very positive things to say about the class as well. (See, the support promise...he is unwavering, I tell you..)

So anyway- tomorrow is the advanced intensive. I am looking forward to seeing everyone and just being with everyone and doing some serious -and not so serious- yoga. Yippee!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Back from Corpus Christi

Okay- so I got back from Corpus late last night and now I am unpacking, doing laundry and taking a few moments to just hang out in my lovely house that I moved to in January but have only slept in 6 or 7 nights! It has been an incredible month for me, though. Looking back to all that has happened in exactly one month is pretty amazing. We finished the Austin Immersion Series, I took a great trip to India, finished the Tucson Immersion Phase Three and then taught a weekend with Craig Williams in Corpus for the Immersion Series/Teacher Training Program there. Wow. Double Wow. A month of planes, trains, automobiles, great sites, amazing, people and truly uplifting experiences interiorly and exteriorly. Some of peak teaching moments came over the last month and some of the deepest considerations of my path as well.

I am thinking a lot about dharma these days. Dharma is a sanskrit word that translates sometimes to mean "duty" and also means, among other things, "that which sustains and upholds us". In Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali BKS Iyengar talks about dharma as something that is for those of us who have fallen in the past, those of us who are currently falling and for those of us who will fall in the future." So, we can see, dharma is for everyone. The idea is that if we really know what our dharma is, what our deepest duty to ourselves and to the world is, then that knowledge is a beacon of light, it is a support structure, it is a guide and reference point for every decision we make.

Lance Armstrong actually talks about this relative to his training regime for the Tour De France. He says that when he is in training for that event then every decision, every piece of food he eats or does not eat, every activity he engages in or doesn't engage in is reviewed through the lens of "Will it help me win the Tour?" If it will take him against that aim he does not do it. Simple. Not complex at all. So I think about that a lot these days and I have been reflecting on how, for myself, being anchored in, committed to and on fire about what my dharma is has really supported me and guided me through some pretty difficult times this last year.

The Russian mystical teacher, G.I. Gurdjeiff had this idea that "man is legion". That within each of us there are legions of "I's"- like multiple selves who each want something different. Many times when we do not know what to do it is because many of those "I's want something that is not our dharma. When we know what our dharma is then we have a guide of support for which "I" gets to be in charge. So like that. Not always easy, but certainly hopeful.

We talked a lot about such things over the weekend in our History of Yoga Philosophy Crash Course with Craig Williams. What a download that was. We spent Friday night talking about The Importance of scriptural study. Saturday morning we talked about the Upanishads, Satrudayt afternoon the Bhagavad Gita, Sunday morning the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali and Sunday afternoon we made a foray into Vedanta. IN and amidst all of that, we wove in some asana practice and many of the participants had acupuncture and Ayurveda consulting with Craig. It was jam packed. And while the lectures were full of information and juicy nuggets to chew on we truly just barely scratched the surface. That is kind of how it is, I think with yoga, the more you know, the more you realize there is to know and how little you actually know. I love that about it though. It is never boring.

Here are a few pics from the weekend. Mostly featured is Craig's handstand demo and lesson. He was talkng a lot of smack about how easy kicking up to the wall for a handstand is so we made him put his money where his mouth is. But he did tell me that he thought it would be cool to learn how to do the pose in the middle of the room. So the pictures below are his demo and also his first lesson about shoulder principles and the midline.

Ardha Chandra chapasana
me, teaching...

in transition...
Craig's Handstand Demo
Taking off his "professor" clothes...

setting up...
in the pose...
"See...what's the big deal?"
Craig's Handstand Lesson
"So, dude, you gotta get soft right here..."
"...and make room here..."
" really,soft..."
"Get ready..."
..."on three...1...2...3.."
Tiffany, adds her two cents...
Christina demos... (Shows off... fine line...)
Beth, hanging around upside down...
Supposedly there are some more pics lurking out there somewhere but those are the one's Michelle sent me. She was, as always, a great host and the students there continually delight me with there enthusiasm, humility and receptivity. It was a great weekend on every level.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Friday in Corpus Christi, TX

So, that was the quickest turn around yet! I got home at 4:30 yesterday and left this morning for Corpus Christi around 9:00 this morning. Due to a travel snafu of my own making, I was delayed on the way home yesterday and so missed the Love Shack practice . I was pretty bummed. (I inadvertently scheduled my return trip home from Tucson on March 19 not February 19. The only flight I could get out was much later and so another day was spent by Christina in an airport practicing the fine art of waiting...)

The week in Tucson was so inspiring and gave me so many insights and things upon which to reflect that I feel quite full in my heart heading into this weekend. I am pretty in love with teaching yoga right now and I just feel so grateful to have the opportunity to do this work. I expected that after a trip to India, a week teaching in Tucson that by now I would feel exhausted but I actually feel pretty on fire and ready to greet a whole new group for the weekend. I mean it is not a whole new group as we have been together before but I mean a new group in terms of not the Tucson group and not the India posse.

Craig and I had an uneventful drive to Corpus. The day as great, traffic was light. It is great to be here. Michelle and I got some time to hang out and settle in before the even starts tonight. Tonight we have a talk with Craig "Introduction to Scriptural Study" and I will teach some pranayama and meditation. It will be a great introduction and a gentle way to begin a weekend that promises to be chock-full of information, asana and community. I really do have a great feeling about it.

Well, that is a brief check in for now. More to come as the weekend progresses. THose of you on Facebook, check out the rest of the Tucson pictures I posted there. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Well, its been a few days since my last entry- things got kind of busy around here. And so now I have some pictures to share, if not a blow by blow account of what happened in class. We had a really great last day today.

Darren and I went back and forth with the asana class this morning. He started off with the standing poses and handed it off to me for pinca and handstands. I added in some big upper back openers with the chair and with the block in paryankasana. I gave it back to him for hip openers and quad stretches. I got it back for some ustrasana, pigeon droppings, urdhva danurasana, dwip pada and then he brought it home with scorpion. We had such a great time and I think it was one of my favorite classes yet.

We spent some time in the afternoon reviewing the certification process and then practicing inversions, pranayama and then we had our closing circle. I was really just blown away to hear all that people shared and experienced. I think this week opened up a lot of doors inside us all. The overwhelming theme that repeated itself was how these three weeks together really helped us all to open to the support and love that is there for us. It was there in everyone's sharing- the gratitude and feeling of luck to be together and to go so deep into our hearts together. Definitely words fall a bit short but wow, what week and what three weeks.

So many times this week Darren and I just looked at each other in amazement at where everyone's asana practice had moved to. We were in new territory and it was hard to believe at times that these were the same people who started with Immersion this fall. Everyone just got so good!
On a personal note, I went through some pretty profound changes and soul searching throughout the time this Immerison has been in session. I do feel so much different- stronger, more insightful, more connected to myself as a result of turning all kinds of things upside down within myself for a while. IN some ways I feel like I made a big circle to come back to some of the same things but the journey was so clarifying that the "same old place" is nothing of the sort-- it is new territory all its own.

SO, well, time to hit the sack. Its an early flight out. I hope you Austinites can make it to the Love Shack for practice. I am looking forward to to it