Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Having a latte here on my back porch while Kelly is talking about a tuberculosis-infected group of cows he is reading about. Again, anyone looking for another good reason to be or to stay vegetarian, that seems as good as any to me. Of course, peanuts get e.coli so I guess nothing is safe!

My afternoon classes went well. My 4:30 Castle Hill class was really awesome. I had a lot of returning folks and a few new faces which was good to see. We did what I call a "75-minute fast-track to back bends" class. What that means is from pose #1 we back bend and we just keep deepening and keep deepening in various preparatory poses until we are in drop backs. The approach, while not a balanced practice, while perhaps not the best thing even for one's nervous system if regularly implemented, is fun and effective. There are these strange bars on the back wall at Castle Hill but I have found they can be put to great use for back bends and so really, a good time was had by all. And since it was Level 2-4, not everyone dropped back, some people did it with help, others worked on them alone, while others stayed in the more preparatory stages.

At Breath and Body I taught a slow, focused, hip-opening flow with seated forward bends at the end with the intention being cooling. It was so hot outside by that point, the room was still so hot from the previous class, and people seemed pretty wiped out so I kept things on the softer side. For the most part, I think it was a perfect complimentary practice to what the majority of folks were experiencing.

I worked all day with muscle energy and the theme of "The Inner Journey" as muscle energy takes us from the outside in. I got going on this because in the two morning classes different people had forgotten to take off their shoes and I was talking about the reason why we do that. Surely it is practical, as it keeps the studio floor cleaner and so forth. But also it is symbolic. It is a way we remind ourselves that we are leaving "the dust of the outside world" outside and we are going on an inward journey, away from our mundane concerns. Even the alignment instructions are like that- what seems like a bunch of rules, a bunch of do's and don'ts and so on are just class to go inward in specific ways. And to the extent that we answer the call, we are taken inward, we are given a break, if you will, from whatever mundane concern may be competing for our attention and energy.

There is a yoga maxim that says "prana follows attention" and so what we pay attention to is pretty important. If we pay attention to our psychological stories, projections and neurosis, well, our life force will go there. If we use those things as doorways to deeper contemplations, our prana will move in deeper. So, really alignment is a dharana practice ultimately- it is a practice of training our focus and concentration so that we have choice about where we place our attention, where our prana goes and what aspect of ourselves we feed.

I was up late last night working with Anusara Press on some edit which was fun. We have a few more things to sort out and the project moves one step closer to completion. But don't ask me when. It will be a grand surprise for all of us. And what is the book about? YOGA!

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