Well, it was a fun day for teaching. I started the Focus on Form class at Castle Hill, which was really great. The students there were so receptive and open to learning. We worked with alot of basic actions and moved in the forward bending direction, spending alot of time oepning the hips and also discussing where the shoulders actually go in poses like uttanasana, padangusthasana and pascimottanasana. One thing I love about Castle Hill is it well outfitted with props and room has a great feeling to it. Once you meander through the gym part of the facility and enter the yoga room, you could really be in a yoga studio anywhere. It is a little oasis of yogic intention. Pretty fantastic, really. I used the theme of Focus on Form to experience the formless.
That is really the thing as far as Anusara Yoga Philosophy goes. The Great Formless Energy takes form as this world, as us and all that we see and everything in between and so by studyingf form we can gain insight and access to that formless aspect of reality as we are made of it. Details, once again are invititations to deeper expereince not perfectionistic demands.
At 4:30 I taught a class at Breath and Body Yoga. We worked a lot on opening the shoulders up- in a variety of ways- and took that into some backbends and worked specifically with flipping the dog to urdhva danurasana and then back to one legged down dog. I told a story about an experience I had once in an Iyengar Yoga workshop. The teacher was teaching backbends in a slow and methodical way and there was an ashtanga vinyasa practitioner in the room who kept adding vinyasa into the routine. The teacher explained in a reasonably patient manner that she was carefully preparing us for backbends without creating heat in our bodies. She had helped us stretch our spines, open our shoulders, hips and front groins and she was interested in us not getting hot as we got to the bends. (It was, after all August in Texas and we were doing a 3hour backbend class so it was a hot context.) I got to thinking about how the ashtanga person was trained to do just the opposite- to create heat in order to bend and as a means of purification. S0 the yogic thought on heat is really varied and it depends on the aim and its use.
And as always, Anusara Yoga is a middle road. We believe in some heat and in some cases more or less is appropriate. We consider a lot of variables: season, temperament, location, the type of practice, the type of practitioner, the dosha or constitution of the practitioner, the aim of the practice- detox or building, flexibility or strength, etc. This inquiry into what is appropriate defines Anusara Yoga more than the choice itself. That you choose skillfully and intelligently and that you are learning a process by which to evaluate these variables for yourself is what makes Anusara Yoga Anusara Yoga- not whether you do vinyasa, uses start and stop approach with a bunch of technical demos, a hot room, a non hot room, slow, vigorous, therapeutic, detoxifying, building, restorative, and so forth. Anusara Yoga is all those things and all those things can be Anusara Yoga. We are decidedly hard to pin down. The process of learning choice is really more of what we are up to, I think.
One time I was in class with Desiree Rumbaugh and she looked at me and said, I think Ansuara Yoga is more of an attitude than anything else, don't you? I agreed and the longer I go about it, the more that is how it seems to me also.
Anyway- we worked with that attitude at 7:30 at Bodhi with a midline practice that kept breinign us to center and to the source of reasons for practice. There was a small groupfor class- I think I have scared them all away- but everyone was so avid and ready to learn so I had a good time. I would rather teach a small group of keen students any day over a large group of folks asleep at the wheel. But that is me. I am just that way.