Thursday, August 27, 2009

Thursday Morning

Well, yesterday Focus On Form was a blast. We had a great turn out of very well-practiced people. I taught a handful of the arm balances on the Level 1 syllabus. We worked on the preliminary stage of vastisthasana with the top foot down, the stage with the feet stacked and also with the top leg in vrksasana. Then we made a foray into eka hasta bhujasana and astavakrasana. It was a lot of fun. Of course, interspersed in there was some good old-fashioned standing pose work, hip opening stretches and explanations. I worked with the theme of softening toward oneself and create effort that re-enforces that softening. (Open to Grace and Muscle Energy) Everyone did so well.

I really love that class a lot. I love that people come to learn technique but also work very hard. It is great fun to have the leeway in both directions. Just good solid strong work in the basic postures. Plus what was really fun these last few weeks is some old faces showing back up in class. Since I left YogaYoga there have been so many people I just haven't seen with an regularity- between the significant change in where I teach, the change i times, the summer travel, etc. I have felt pretty disconnected from "the old gang". (not that I have not enjoyed meeting new people. Believe me, I love that also.) But anyway, it has been fun to be re-connecting with some of the old gang and seeing them show back up in class. Kim, Alice, Mandy, Brigitte Laura, Tabitha, and even Kelly came to class yesterday morning. So fun.
  • AMS
  • Childs pose
  • Down Dog
  • Uttanasana
  • Simple Surya Namaskar variations- (6X no long holds)
  • standing with arms out to the side like vasisthasana to learn arm actions
  • vasisthasana with top foot down
  • vasisthasana with feet stacked
  • standing baby cradle prep- 2X
  • vrksasana
  • vasisthasana with top leg in vrksasana
  • parsvakonasana- introducing IS actions
  • cat/cow foray to learn kidney loop
  • parsvakonasana- applying kidney loop
  • trikonasana- 2X-
  • deep lunge, forearms to floor
  • deep parsvakonasana working front shoulder under front leg
  • reclined hip stretching
  • eka hasta bhujasana
  • astavakrasana
  • setu bandhasana
  • windshield wiper pose
  • knees to chest

okay, then after class I met Laura for a light lunch at Babylon Foods. (Whole Foods) then at 2 we had our instructor's class with Devon Dederich teaching Iyengar Yoga. It was SO AWESOME. I could do a whole blog entry on her expertise and knowledge and skillful generosity in sharing with us. We laughed, we worked hard, we did a strong practice and I think everyone learned A TON. Devon was one of my early yoga teachers- I took classes from here 12 years ago when Kelly and I lived here and her studio was were REI is now. Anyway- I always learn something from practicing with her and yesterday was no exception. We were "missing" a bunch of people from the practice but the folks there were so attentive, capable,respectful and fun that I left inspired and really happy about the possibility for our practice time really evolving into something great.

Here is her sequence:

  • childs pose
  • down dog
  • uttanasana
  • down dog, chataranga, up dog, chataranga- 3 x total (approx. 30 sec. each)
  • parsvakonasana- hand in front of ankle
  • parsvakonasana- hand behind ankle
  • vira 1
  • parivritta trikonasana
  • handstand- 3 hand placement variations- turning palms out, straight, and then all the way out so your fingers face into the middle of the room
  • pinca mayurasana
  • sirsasana
  • eka pada supta virasana, 2x
  • paryankasana,elbows pushing floor to lift the chest
  • paryankasana, arms over head, keep chest lifting
  • dwi pada viparita dandasana over chair
  • urdhva danurasana over chair
  • eka pada urdhva danurasana over chair
  • urdhva danaurasna
  • eka pada urdhva danurasana
  • dwi pada viparita dandasana with head down
  • padmasana
  • dwi pad viparita dandasasana in padmasana over chair
  • AMS
  • pasasana atwall
  • bharadvajasana at wall
  • bhradvajasana II
  • ardha matsyendrasana II
  • uttanasana
  • pascimottanasana
  • supported halasana at wall on a bolster
  • viparita karani
  • savasana

Yay, Devon! Really, it was a great time. My back bends felt great and it was just so fun to be together and sharing the practice. Next time we meet (Sept 9) for the Instructor Practice Sanieh will be teaching Prana Vinyasa.

Okay, well that's the update for today. Notice my class schedule changes next week:

  • Tuesdays- 4:30 Castle Hill- level 2/3
  • Tuesdays- 6:30 Breath and Body- Int/Adv. (Vinyasa-Based)
  • Wednesdays- 9:0 Castle Hill- Focus on Form- all levels
  • Wednesdays 6:00- Castle Hill- level 2/3
  • Thursdays- 4:30 Castle Hill- Level 2/3
  • Thursdays- 6:30- Breath and Body- Int/Adv.(Vinyasa-Based)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Wednesday Morning

Well, sitting here drinking a soy latte with Kelly who just told me that on Saturday they are predicting a high of "only 99." What is up with "only 99" sounding cool? Ah, but I digress...

So yesterday afternoon was a fun-filled yoga afternoon. I went to Jeremiah's audition class at Castle Hill at 2. He did a really really really good job. I was so pleased. He worked a theme well, he had an interesting sequence with good linking of actions from pose to pose, he helped the people who needed help, he did good demonstrations, he had a lovely teaching presence and all in all, it was a great class, especially because audition classes are pretty contrived and hard to prepare for.

I stayed for the hour after that to continue my practice before teaching which gave me a J-Man a chance to debrief the class a little, and to chat and catch up a bit which was fun. He and I were talking a lot about yoga practice, faith, belief, philosophy, commercialism, personal experiences with yoga and so forth. The conversation fed me some good ideas for the themes I worked on last night which was really about having a kind of faith in the practice itself.

I mean the thing that keeps me practicing it that I feel I am benefiting from the practice. This is also what Jeremiah said. It is not that I "believe" every bit of yoga philosophy or tidbit of dharmic teaching I run across or that is presented to me or even that I present to others. To me, it isn't really about belief as it is about a knowing in my heart that this path is a valuable one to walk. I feel that I am benefiting on a lot of levels and so I keep going. It is kind of simple thing.

You know, from what I understand yoga has always been about the direct experience of these ideals, not about a fancy intellectual rap. (although there is plenty of that to be had in philosophical study." One thing Carlos Pomeda once told me in an email is that (paraphrasing a bit) "Philosophy without practice is like having a gourmet recipe but not getting to eat the meal."

So to me, its about the meal. And, as someone who likes to cook and to eat, certainly in certain cases, following the recipe is crucial. Knowing certain cooking techniques and how they differ is important- like if you are not clear on the difference between broiling something and boiling something- well you quickly learn "what difference a difference can make." (that is a Douglas Brooks phrase there!)

Anyway- my point is that sometimes it gets really big in terms of the philosophy but there is a way that a life of practice is pretty simple when you reduce it down to a matter of the heart and not the mind. Are we drawn to something? Do we long for a deeper knowing? A deeper expression? Do we feel that our practices are bringing us closer to what is is that we long for? Like that.

And my point in class was that yoga can take us into the domain of the heart, into a direct experience of Grace where it is not so much about ideology and conforming to the outside world of "do and don't"- be it the religious, cultural, and/or sub-cultural "do's and don'ts"- and into a deeper knowing within ourselves of who we are and what is right for us. Really, it is not a mental thing.

So on practical note, both classes were super strong last night. At 4:30 we worked on strong standing poses in flow with hip opening and into eka pada koundinyasana and at 6:30 at BBY we worked on "rocking horse urdhva danurasana". I was pretty psyched after the evening because people were really working so hard with a nice mood of effort, grace, and attention. It was very cool. Starting in September the BBY 6:30 class will be an Int/Adv. class so keep that in mind.

Oh- and just in case you cannot come to class on Thursday night at Breath and Body and you want some food for thought, Craig is giving a lecture at Central Market North on the history and health benefits of tea. Think about it- you could come to Castle Hill at 4:30 and head up the street for dinner and a free lecture about tea- something that tastes great AND is good for you. How many things can you say that about?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Tuesday Morning

Well, its been a few days.

The weekend in Corpus was a pretty strong weekend. We started in on Teacher Training information last weekend and that is always an interesting turn to make with any group. One thing that many groups consistently have trouble with is really understanding how to translate the strong practice we do in Immersions- when the group is strong and capable- to the public class scenario with the people of all ages, abilities and interests. It can be really challenging to see what is Christina Sell's teaching style, what is the Immersion format/circumstance and what is The Anusara Yoga Method. So we worked with that a lot.

I taught 5 sample classes- gentle, beginning, mixed-level flow, mixed level hatha, and a flow to introduce muscular energy to model how the method can be adapted to the 75 minute class setting in a variety of ways. Again, there are so many ways to effectively teach this method. And no matter what challenges there are, if you want to overcome them and remain true to the method, you can. (of course, it doesn't mean your class will always be the biggest... but that is another story altogether.) We are an incredibly versatile method and so when we do not feel that way, it usually just means we need to be more creative and also perhaps more patient because helping people enter this practice fully can take some time. Small digestible nuggets seem to go way farther than force feeding the whole meal. So to speak.

Anyway- the weekend was good. People are so sincere in that group and so hard working and we also spent A LOT of time tackling hard-based themes and so that was interesting. Some lights went on for some people. Others were still grappling in the dark. (See, it is always mixed level, no matter the subject!) We just do not all start at the same place or learn at the same rate. But I trust the process. I really do. We do, over time, get what we need and whatever we put into it, we get back out of it ten-fold.

I spent the day getting organized for the upcoming season of work and travel. I have lots of irons in the fire and lots of fun things and new venues on the horizon. I also spent a ton of time doing laundry and unpacking form the last two trips I have taken.

A few reminders-
  • For those of you in Austin, come support J-Man at Castle Hill. He is auditioning to teach there today at 2pm. All-levels vinyasa class. Free.
  • The Austin-area Yoga Instructor Practice is from 2-4 at Castle Hill tomorrow. (Wednesday) Devon is teaching Iyengar Yoga. Be there.
  • The local mentoring group begins a week from Wednesday.
  • And the online mentoring group is open for registration. I have received a tremendous response from amazing people all over the map so if you want to join in, please let me know. Drop me an email and I can send you a flyer. (

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Thursday Nights


Busy, busy, busy. Yesterday we had Focus on Form at 9:30 at Castle Hill. We had a really strong group of regular attendees present and so we went for it. We did a strong shoulder principles class and worked to urdhva danurasana. I spent the day practicing asana and working on the Online Mentoring Program I am launching in October. I taught the 7:30 class at Bodhi and we made a great foray into eka pada raja kapotasana. So many people grabbed their back foot for the first time ever which was a whole lot of fun to be part of. That is such a very cool pose.

This morning Kelly and I went for another run and then I did a nice long asana class. Gioconda came over for lunch and then me and Anne and Gioconda went to have our nails done, which was very fun girl time. As we sat in the pedicure chairs Anne and Gioconda asked me what we were going to do in class at 4:30. I asked them what they wanted to do. Anne said "back bends." So back bends it was. We got to headstand drop over tonight which was fun. There were even several people who were able to drop over by themselves before class was over so that was fun. I love "first times"!

I drove up to Breath and Body Yoga for the 6:30 class. It was a very small class- (Funny how last spring we had it as a group practice and it was packed and now its a class and it is super small. Hmmm.... )Anyway, it was fun for me because the people who came were so good and so pen and receptive and skilled that we really got to spend a lot of time upside down, in some fun vinyasa and also some seated forward bends. I will be teaching the 6:30 classes at BBY through the end of September so please join me. Come October I am gone 5 of 9 Tuesday and Thursdays so I will be off the schedule. So the moral of the story is "make hay while the sun shines."

All right, I head to Corpus Christi tomorrow. I am pretty psyched because we have been on summer break and so it has been two months since I have seen everyone there. I am excited to reconnect and catch up and bring the Immersion to a close as we dive into Teacher Training.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Wednesday Morning

Well, it is Wednesday morning and I have a few minutes before heading out to teach Focus on Form at Castle Hill. Yesterday was a pretty decent day. Kelly and I went jogging- which was kind of fun in a brutal way. See I really do not jog or do anything like that but since we are going to Oregon over Labor Day we thought it would be fun to do some of the great trail runs we used to do so we decided we should train a little for that. So yesterday was run #3 for me and while it was somewhat enjoyable, also I am pretty sore. We will see how long it lasts. Usually things like running and biking trash my yoga to such a degree that I just do not stay with them as the tightness is unbearable. But it is a trade off because jogging on a trail is a fun thing. Well, fun once you are in shape for it!

Okay- what else? Classes went well yesterday. I worked with the theme of Constructing a Crucible for Transformation. If we look at the principles of alchemy which we might consider a sister science to yoga, the crucible was the container in which the alchemical experiment was conducted. It had to be very strong and sturdy so that when the heat was turned up, it could withstand the pressure of the process. So to in yoga, we have to be strong, stable and committed because when the fire of transformation gets turned up we want to be able to withstand the pressure. So we worked to create stability and strength in the outer shines and inner thighs so that we could transform the hips. Like that.

The Castle Hill 4:30 class feels like it has some regular momentum which is nice. Building a class in the summer in Austin is, well, not easy but here we are at the end of the summer with a nice group of people who regularly attend that class. We worked a lot in flow yesterday visiting Inner and Outer Spiral and peeking at a few arm balances.Same with 6:30 at Breath and Body Yoga. We worked with a very similar sequence but had time (since it is a 90 minute class) to visit a few back bends as well.

It was fun to have so many people in class who had been at the Immersion all weekend. Many times the Tuesday after an Immersion is more sparsely attended but this time, both classes were populated with people who had spent all weekend at the yoga studio. Desiree Rumbaugh used to refer to this population of student as "yoga animals." (You know who you are!)

The dates and info is set for the online mentoring group. I will be sending out info to those of you who requested it this week. For those of you interested, send me an email at and I will send you a flyer. We will get started on October 1 and finish the first portion December 17th. We will have a virtual classroom where we will have a forum for "discussion".

Here is some info from the flyer:

The Art of Teaching Anusara Yoga: Teacher Development and Online Mentoring Group with Christina Sell
This 12-week Mentoring Program is designed to take the experienced Anusara Yoga student deeper into the art of teaching Anusara Yoga and prepare them to apply the principles of teaching Anusara Yoga to their unique teaching circumstances. Special attention will be spent on preparing videos for both the Anusara and Anusara-Inspired assessment processes.

This unique class will meet online in a virtual classroom. Each week Christina Sell will post a lesson online with video clips and suggested teaching drills designed to bring teaching theory to life. Students will be invited to post their thoughts, comments, concerns and teaching challenges online, giving them a chance to clarify their own process, to receive feedback and assistance from the group and to assist Christina in preparing lessons and assignments that are as relevant and personalized as possible. Students will receive homework and reading assignments designed to enhance the “classroom” work.

General Topics will include:
· Developing Heart-based themes
· Honing Articulation Skills
· Developing Sequences for introducing the Universal Principles of Alignment
· Sequencing Strategies for teaching Beginning, Mixed-Level and Advanced Classes
· Observation Skills and creative methods for teaching to what you see
· Making effective verbal adjustments
· Preparing videos for assessment and navigating the assessment process

· 108- hour Anusara Yoga Immersion
· 30-hour Anusara Yoga Level 1 Teacher Training
· Must be teaching one asana class weekly

Okay- more to come!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Scenes from a Big Indian Wedding

Yesterday was a prety interesting day. Kelly and I got to the Driskill Hotel around 7:45am so I could have some help wrapping my sari. (Help, in this case was really just two Indian women tying it for me!) After a few bites of some great dosas and sambar we waited for the ceremony to begin.

Svetha and Chase got married according to the Hindu custom which was fascinating. The ceremony is steeped in ritual and meaning and took almost 3 hours to complete. Then we all had a great Indian lunch. Yesterday evening was the reception which was yet another great meal followed up by dancing and merry-making. Really, an Indian wedding is a very good time.

I had a great time and am digesting lots of food for thought as well as lots of food for the body. Here are a few scenes from the day.

All right, so there is certainly more to write about but the day calls. We got home really late last night, so I slept in and now the day is certainly beckoning! I want to get some things done before the heat really settles in.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Sunday Night Post-Immersion

Well, wow! What a weekend we had.

We really did lots of asana. Yesterday we had a long asana practice emphasizing Inner and Outer Spiral and focusing on standing poses, hip openers and arm balances. We did almost all of the arm balances on the Level 1 syllabus with a few thrown in from Level 2. It was a good strong class and many people told me they got more clarity on Inner and Outer Spiral as the practice progressed.

Today we spent some time clarifying some questions and then launched into a practice of reviewing the UPA's and applying shoulder principles to cobra and up dog which led us into some strong vinyasa work and eventually to drop backs. It was fun watching several people do their drop backs alone for the first time. Always an exciting moment.

The Part One Immersion is always a very intense process. There is a lot of downloading of technique, of philosophy, of context. Students are getting used to working in an immersion format which is different than a classroom format and it really is like trying to get a drink from a fire hydrant. What is cool about Part Two and Three is that the foundation has been laid and so we work more on clarifying the principles, applying them to harder poses, diving into different texts and build on the basics. It is an amazing process. It really is.

Speaking of which the Immersion Dates for Part 2 and 3 and Breath and Body are set and so are the dates for the 2010 Teacher Training at Breath and Body. If you want those details, drop me a line and I can send you the flyer.

Okay- so after the Immersion, Kelly and I went down town to the Driskill for Svetha's Mehndi party before her wedding tomorrow. I used the affair as an excuse to wear one of my outfits from India. Tomorrow, is a sari occasion although my sari will be nothing as fine as the Indian women in attendance who- wow- understand the fine are of dressing well in a way we white women just cannot touch! It was a nice evening with yummy Indian food and a very festive atmosphere. I am pretty excited to see the pageantry of the whole affair tomorrow. I had meant to take pictures but left me camera in the car. Tomorrow I will remember though.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Friday Night at the Immersion

We had a good night tonight at the Immersion here in Austin. We started with a talk on the gunas and about how they relate to the doshas. We talked about the view of sattva in Anusara Yoga- that it is a place of optimal balance in the very middle. And as such it becomes a place of great clarity and creativity, the source of artistic expression. We worked with Inner and Outer spiral in a variety of standing poses and some hip opening work at the end. All in all it was a good night.

This group definitely works hard and has tremendous experience and capacity. At a certain point I noticed the group was in the pose I was teaching but they were not following my step by step instructions to activate the principles, they were just doing the pose. So I actually gave a teaching about how the teacher's instructions are intended to take us to the sattvic, creative potential of a pose and so when the teacher says something and we do not do what she is saying, it is as though the teacher is just background noise. (And in an Immersion we have paid a lot of money to have the teacher be like a television set!) As a teacher I really want my instructions to translate into observable action in my student's poses. I am looking for that specifically so when I do not see it happening or when a student is in the full pose when I am still describing step 1, I know they are probably missing the lesson because they are not following the instructions.

It was a strong teaching but the group was very open and receptive. Their studentship is really high. They are sincere, dedicated and ready to go to the next level. It is exciting to see where they have already come. Here are some scenes from the evening.

Handstand- lettie and erica
handstand- G'Nelle and Sarah

sattva is a state of balance- Brooke and James

keep the Inner Spiral in the back leg!- Olivia going up

setting up with care and clarity- Joy and Mickie
setting up
pinca modification for more power
midline- go Lettie!
pinca mayurasana- lettie and erica again
Inner Spiral self assist.

make sure your inner thigh is working!
More tomorrow!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Thursday Morning

Okay, well, last night's class at Bodhi Yoga was a good one.

I told this teaching that I heard at our Immersion. Several of our Immersion participants in Tucson are members of a spiritual school/community who practice the teachings of Tibetan Heart Yoga. That school has an asana practice but traditionally it was a secret teaching. The first rung of teaching is a set of practices that helps the practitioner cultivate compassion and loving kindness toward themselves and others. These practices and lifestyle recommendations create a solid foundation for sadhana. Once a practitioner is firmly established in those ideals- once they are no longer full of greed, jealousy, self-hatred, criticism, competition and so forth, they are granted access the asana teachings. It usually takes about 20-25 years.

I laughed in my introduction that in the west we are granted access to the asana teachings if we have $10. (Well, maybe $15 or $16 to tell the truth...) We may not have any compassion, any love for ourselves and we may be quite at the mercy of our critical judgemental minds and still we can learn asana. I am not criticizing this at all. I am just saying that it is an interesting contrast to consider, right?

When I heard the teaching from Tibetan Heart Yoga I was really stunned at the profundity of the message. These yoga practices like asana really do help us cultivate power and we have to be careful which aspect of ourselves we use that power to empower. How often do we roll out our mat and spend the 75 minute class empowering a voice of competition that says we are better (or worse) than the person next to us? How many times do we roll out our mats and empower the voice of self-hatred that tell us we are not good enough, not smart enough, not skilled enough...? How many times to we empower greed by pushing for a pose that is beyond our ability or empower self-abuse by ignoring our bodies messages of pain.

This teaching really gave me so much to think about. I used it as the theme for class last night with the root to rise principle- root yourself in love and love will lift you up. Like that. Surya Namaskar Aand B, handstand, working on "floating", standing poses, pinca, kapinjalasana variation, lots of eka pada rajakapotasana, urdhva danurasana, dwi pada viparita dandasana and headstand dropovers were on the menu. We had a great group of people who have been coming to that class all summer and so we could really do a lot quickly.

Okay- a few commercials before I head out into the day.

Here are the details for the local mentoring program.

Many of you have asked me about the online mentoring group- I expect to get details about that out by the first of the week.

Also- I am leading a Mexico Retreat in February and the details for that are now online. I am pretty excited about it. The retreat is limited to 20 people and will be mostly asana with some pranyama and meditation. (not to mention GREAT FOOD!) With such a limit on the size of the group, everyone will get lots of personal attention and we are going to be able to really go places in the asana practice. (Don't be scared- I am just saying it is a rare opportunity to refine and advance your practice in an incredibly beautiful and intimate setting.) Registration is open so if you are interested sign up soon.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Wednesday Afternoon

So I got home from Tucson yesterday with a bit of time to get grounded, have a nice meal with Kelly and hit the sack pretty early. I was (and am) pretty tired.

I got up this morning, did my pranayama and meditation, had a cup of tea and milk and the Kelly and I headed out to Focus on Form at Castle Hill. What a lovely surprise to find 22 people there for class this morning including the all-star cast of Mandy Eubanks, Jeremiah Wallace, Tabitha Halfman, Kim Schaefer and Jenn Wooten- all great teachers (and Immersion graduates.) It is really such an honor to have them in class and what a great teaching it is when teachers take time to be students. In fact, the studentship in class was really at an all time high this morning- people worked hard, watched demos, made refinements, helped each other and gave very fully to the practice.

I used the theme of Clarity and Focus. First we focused on bringing clarity to our intention for practice and then we worked to bring clarity to the foundation of the postures (This is First Principle: Open to Grace and Set the Foundation in a way that reflects the clarity of your intention) and then we worked on bringing clarity to the forms and to the actions in the forms. It was a great class.

The sequence:
  • centering
  • invocation
  • Anjali mudra- urdhva hasatasana- uttanasana- straight leg lunge (R)- plank- chataranga dandasana- bhujangasana- AMS- uttanasaana- urdhva hasatasana- anjali mudra (foundation focus)
  • anjali mudra- urdhva hastasana-uttanasana- straight leg lunge (L)- plank- chataranga dandasana- AMS-uttanasana-urdhva hastasana- anjali mudra (foundation focus)
  • Anjali mudra- urdhva hastasana- uttanasana- Vira One with heel off the floor (R)- plank-chataranga dandasana- bhujangasana- AMS- uttansasana- Urdhva hastasana- anjali mudra (muscle energy focus)
  • anjali mudra-urdhva hastasana- uttanasana- Vira One with heel off the floor (L)- plank- chataranga dandasana- bhujangasana-AMS- uttanasana-urdhva danurasana- AMS- Uttanasana- urdhva hastasana- anjali mudra (muscle energy focus)
  • Anjali mudra- urdhva hastasana- uttanasana-straight leg lunge to one-legged down dog to wild thing prep (R)- straight leg lunge- uttanasana- urdhva hastasana- anjali mudra (Spinning the low belly focus)
  • anjali mudra- urdhva hastasana- uttanasana- straight leg lunge to one-legged down dog to wild thing prep (L)- straight leg lunge- uttanasana-urdhva hastasana-anjali mudra (Spinning the low belly focus)
  • parsvakonasana 2X - (first time focus on foundation and muscle energy, second time on leg spirals and turning the low belly)
  • maricyasana 1- open twist stage (Same actions as Parsvakonasana carried out through this sequence)
  • malasana, heels on blanket
  • malasana with twist and clasp around front leg
  • maricyasana 1 with twist and clasp
  • maricyasana 1 with twist and clasp and forward bend
  • hands clasped behind back in tadasana
  • hands clasped behind back in uttanasana
  • clasped parsvakonasana
  • AMS
  • sarvangasana
  • sarvangasana with assist
  • sarvangasana
  • knees to chest
  • savasana

The whole idea of practing with clarity and focus is about working in such a way that the clarity of one's practice brings the clarity and depth of one's heart's intention into form. Although details can sound like an endless list of do's and don'ts and can even make us a bit neurotic at times, the point is to practice clarity so that we gain clarity. To practice with focus so as to gain more of the same. We attend to the details simply as gestures that reflect our deeper intentions of practice. We cannot say, "I want to align with Grace" and then haphazardly toss ourselves around in asana. It is incongruent. Instead, we aim high and work with care. That is why we Focus on Form.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Day Four an Day Five

Here are some pictures from our Day Four. I had hoped to get them posted earlier but we have been going non stop since the morning of August 8th. Unfortunately, I even missed the opportunity to call my mother on August 8th and to wish her a happy birthday. We taught all morning, I did my practice at lunch complete with an acro-yoga lesson from Jeremy, we taught in the afternoon and then I taught a 2-hour evening class at Yoga Oasis East and then came home. We got up this morning and had a full day and then a potluck tonight. As we were walking out the door today I said to Darren, "I have this feeling it is going to be a long time before we get back here." And it was.

It is so hard to even know how to capture the last two days because they were so rich and so full. I have to sum up one thing about this group- I really sense that they are hungry for the teachings and for the opportunity to deepen their practice. Darren and I joked (sort of) with them a few days ago that they signed up for an intense format (6 straight days rather than a weekend a month) with two people (Me and Darren) who are pretty intense people and teachers and whether or not they were aware of it, they were in for a ride.

What is so obvious to me is that we keep asking for a strong effort and the students keep meeting us. They are making huge strides in their bodies and huge strides in the linear understanding of the method but also I see huge leaps happening in the inner world of the heart and spirit- tears, laughter, insights and connections are happening at such a rate that it is truly inspiration to be a part of. I could not imagine a better job. Experiences like this make me so amazed at the way m life is unfolding and so honored to do what I do. An unbelievable blessing.

Yesterday we covered all the arm balances on the Level 1 syllabus in the morning asana class, we talked about the malas, the tattvas and finished the day with a 5-minute sirsasana and a 7- minute sarvangasana.

My acro yoga initiation...

Well, there are some more pics from today but that is a glimpse into yesterday. Today was as full. We did drop backs in the morning with lots of work in the shoulder principles and then Darren taught inversions after lunch and then we ended the day with a Q&A from fiery Christina Sell. I think the real theme of today was about community but also a huge teaching was about empowering yourself to practice. and to cultivate a love and passion for the work involved. Going to classes and workshops is so important. It really is. But practice is something else entirely and going to your mat and trying to sort through your confusion can be frustrating but also it is essentially very empowering. It is the process through which knowledge become wisdom. You begin to know something because you have worked for it, you have become intimate with it you have been willing to stay with the frustration of not knowing until the clarity was revealed through your efforts. And an Immersion is just that is like 6 months of yoga packed into a week and so the way to sort it all out, the way to make sense of it is to take the ideas, the principles, and so forth to our mats and to empower ourselves to practice.
Well, I could go on but it is time for rest and I will sound like I am preaching which is NOT what I want. What I am so on fire about is the gifts that practice can give us and the empowerment that comes from really engaging these practices to any degree.