I woke up nice and early this morning, did my sitting practices and I am now sitting out on the patio with my chai enjoying the morning air. Seems like rain is definitely on its way today.
Yesterday was a fun and productive day.
I taught Focus on Form at Castle Hill at 9:30. We worked a lot with muscle and organic energy and took it into parivritta parsvakonasana and eka pada koundinyasana. That class is a very interesting class because I believe it is on the schedule as an "entry-level option" and yet a lot of the people who come to it are very experienced and quite adept. And there are people who regularly attend who are newer and/or less strong bendable. It is really a very all-levels kind of class and yet, what is cool is that the regardless of physical prowess, the folks who come to the class tend to have very good studentship and on the whole seem quite ready to learn which makes it a joy to teach.
I talked about "Shining Brightly" as my theme. Over breakfast, Kelly read me an article by this woman who found that every time she neared success in her life she sabotaged herself. When she realized this was happening she went to therapy and uncovered a huge cache of personal issues about how, for her, success unconsciously equalled a loss of love. She was not afraid to fail, she was afraid to succeed.
So it got me thinking about how in our culture we really do have an imperative to succeed and yet there is this subtext many times that if one person is great, it is at the expense of someone else. It can be as though only one person gets to shine at a time. But the idea in Anusara Yoga is that greatness is not limited, we do not shine at the expense of others and in fact our shining brightly can invite others to do the same. At the heart of the practice is an invitation to recognize that we all share the same light and yet we each express that one light through the different vehicles of our individuality.
It reminded me of an interview I read with Gita Iyengar. The interviewer said something to the effect of "It must be hard to live in your father's shadow all of these years." To which she replied, "I do not live in his shadow. I live in his light."
Of course, these are inspiring ideas and if we embrace them there is a bit of fine print to keep in mind. We will need to rectify any disparity between our new vision of "shining brightly" and the old samskaras of scarcity that rear their ugly heads at times. Even though we may really want to live in alignment with the "everyone can be great" way, many of us have hidden (or not so hidden) pockets of jealousy, envy, insecurity, fear and so forth that arise when we are in the presence of someone (even if that someone is us) who is shining brightly. That was the point of the article...we have to explore that domain and "exorcise the demons," so to speak.
I spent the afternoon filming my lesson for the online mentoring group (De-mystifying Heart-Based Themes, Part 2) and preparing for the Local Mentoring group which meets on Wednesday nights (Teaching Effective Warm Ups and Understanding the Video Standard). I still had time for a long inversion practice before I went to Castle Hill to teach at 6. Lots of new folks came to that class so it seems the identity of that 6pm class is still up in the air. The first few weeks it was attended by lots of people I knew and over the last few weeks a lot of those people have been missing and new people have been showing up and so it will be interesting to see if "a working group" gets established or not.
That is generally what I am looking to see in any class that I teach. I am not particularly obsessed with numbers; I am more interested in whether there is a core group of people who make that their class and who really want to go somewhere together. I know that while I can offer a student plenty of information in one class, the real juice of the method happens in those classes where there is a committed group of students who come and practice and learn regularly over a long period of time. I am looking for students who are not just committed to their personal practices, not just committed to me as their teacher or to the method but committed to each other, to the class itself (meaning, they come even when a sub is there!) and to a long- term vision of learning and practicing the method.
That is not to say I do not thoroughly enjoy meeting new people who come to class because I most definitely do!
I think it is a cool thing that in the modern yoga scene someone can pick up a class just about any hour of the day all over town and it is a blessing that yoga has been made so convenient. Yet, for me, I am still a bit old school. I think the best learning and teaching happens in those classes with regular attendance and when the same people build something together over a period of time. Dropping in with a variety approach and being committed to a particular class/teacher/style are just totally different things. (Obviously, there are benefits to either approach and if you life is such that you can only make classes sporadically, this is not a criticism. I am just saying...)
Anyway- it was a good day back. Today- a walk, a practice, some writing and my class at 4:30 at Castle Hill. Be there.