Thursday, March 26, 2009

Thursday Night

So- a few days of R&R mostly. Wednesday I had the opportunity to go to Matt's Ashtanga class at 6pm before subbing for Kim S. at 7:30. That was a fun little yoga extravaganza. I got to practice next to Terry which was fun. I really do enjoy the ashtanga vinyasa practice a lot these days. It is a lovely way to move and to go inward and just return to something very elemental about the asana practice.

After that I taught for Kim where I lead a somewhat basic yet sweaty flow class. I made a joke that I was present in my alter ego as a flow teacher that night. There are so many ways to teach vinyasa but lately I have really enjoyed keeping the flows simple and moving with shorter holds and having some nice tunes playing to keep the group energy up. It wouldn't pass a certification video assessment even though I use a theme, I use the UPA's, I have great language skills and I make verbal and physical adjustments and so forth. So technically it qualifies but it is not by the book, I suppose. For me though, its fun to step out of "modeling perfect Anusara Yoga teaching methods" and just model being an Anusara Yoga teacher who is having fun being out of the box a bit. More on that another time.

Today I spent some time with Mom and Dad and then Anne and I did a great hip opening practice at my house before I went to South Studio for Craig's lecture. It was an inspiring talk, as usual. This was the last in a series on Yoga and Ayurveda and Psychology. The series has been full of tidbits of info about how yoga addresses psychology and how Ayurveda addresses it and how these sister sciences can be utilized to help us align with ourselves, with nature and with the Divine Flow in very practical and immediate ways.

I have only been able to make it to a few sessions of this course but what I have really enjoyed is how Craig has made clear distinctions in his presentations between what is in the domain of yoga and what is in the domain of Ayurveda. It is clear to me that many things that we say are yoga are more traditionally classified under the umbrella of Ayurveda. Like really, Ayurveda is for our bodies and minds and yoga is about consciousness and about accessing the deepest regions of who we are; the soul, so to speak. In asana classes we focus a lot on things for the body and call them "yoga" when really, that might be more technically Ayurveda. Anyway.

Tonight Craig talked about faith, ritual and devotion and how these three aspects must be combined in our lives in order to cultivate prana and to facilitate healing on any level. There were many nuggets of inspiration throughout the talk and somehow Craig's talks always put me in touch with my love for practice and my passion for the teachings of yoga. Really, I think he could talk about anything and I would feel inspired to continue along this path with more focus and dedication. I think part of it is just his conviction in its importance and his own dedication to the teachings.

I think that is the lesson of good company. Most spiritual traditions address this issue and remind us that we are, in many ways, the company we keep. For me, it is much easier to be steadfast in my practices and anchored in my faith when I am around people who are dedicated to the same principles in their lives. It creates such a positive momentum. Of course, hang out with a group of people who are solidly dedicated to the principles of what I call The Sleeping World and that can be inspiration for practice as well, if you do not get lulled to sleep yourself. I mean really, for how long is news, weather, sports, celebrity gossip and so on that interesting?

Speaking of sleep, it is time to prepare for some.

Just a reminder that we are having a group practice at The Love Yoga Coop (aka The Love Shack) on Saturday from 2:00-5:00. I think in a previous posting I wrote 2:30 but it is 2:00 so spread the word! Please come and join the gang for the practice. Come ready to work and play. Modifications and advanced variations will be offered so all levels are welcome so long as you know and honor your limits.

Also tomorrow night is Sanieh's Trance Dance. I am going and it promises to be a rollicking good time to, as she once told me, "let your crazy out of the bag!"


Stephanie R.Y.T. said...

I'm so bummed; work is keeping me from Austin this weekend. I had my hotel booked and my bag packed and I was practically there already, but my students come first. Oh well, I still have April to look forward to; see you then.

Christina Sell said...

That is understandable. We will miss you but you are right... we can make up for it in April!

Dale said...

"an Anusara Yoga teacher who is having fun being out of the box a bit. More on that another time."

YES!!!! Request for topic:

Anusara teachers teaching flow.

In the past, this meant a non-flow class, because a single sun salutation takes 15min with the alignment instructions :-). Not that the classes are easy - my upper body strength is based on years spent in down dogs in Liz's classes :-). But if I buy a box of cookies, I want cookies, not donuts. Not even sugar coated donuts with sprinkles :-). Hmmm. So anyway, in my opinion, if it says Flow on the door, then it should be a flow class.

To that end,in the last year I have seen exciting changes from two directions.

First is flow teachers who fall in love with Anusara and start incorporating the UPA into their classes. If the flow teacher is a casual student of Anusara, this doesn't work out at all, like recently, when a nationally-known (and _very skilled) flow teacher was in town & used "inner spiral" in some very, ummm, interesting ways :-). But when a flow teacher becomes a serious Anusara student, & starts incorporating the UPA & philosophical goodness of Anusara into her classes, it is a thing of beauty. And since these teachers are proceeding from a flow basis & evolving the way that they speak of alignment, it is apparently easier for them to retain the flow aspect of the class. Note that it isn't a traditional Anusara class - but it says Cookies on the box, and cookies is what you get, with the additional crunchy chocolate goodness of Anusara :-). Mmmmm, Anusara cookies...

Second, I am seeing an increasing number of Anusara-based teachers who are taking on the challenge of teaching flowing flow classes :-). J-man is a great example. In his earlier classes, I did not feel very flowy, but he thought deeply and worked hard to craft a class that felt to me like an Anusara flow class - there were times to flow with the theme that he presented, & times to concentrate on individual poses. Good times due to the dedication of a very smart & skilled teacher, who really had to challenge his surface paradigms to bring the essential core goodness of Anusara to a nonTraditional class format.

I know that there are are Anusara teachers who specialize in many different teaching activities and populations - the elderly, those with specific medical challenges/rehabilitation, &etc. It is Anusara, but the general light of the practice is focused down into a brilliant spotlight, illuminating the specific application of the practice to a specific activity or population. I wonder if you would consider training some of the A-team on teaching Anusara flow.