Saturday, January 16, 2010

Satruday Morning

Well, let's see... I have been pretty darn busy since my return. I feel like except for some time out to practice or teach I have been chained ot my computer- making travel arrangements, sorting out 2011's schedule (which I am very excited about. Yes, I know it is only the beginning of 2010 and I am also excited about what is in store for me this year but some fun collaborations are in the works for 2011- New Year's Eve with me and Christy Nones in Miami, two Immersion cycles with Darren in Tucson, Immersions and TT with Karen In Idaho, Manorama will come teach in Corpus Christi and TT I will offer there, a weekend here and one in Denver with me and Amy Ippoliti teaming up for "double the shakti," as well as a return visit to Oklahoma, South Carolina and some other adventures brewing.)

But back to the present moment... Thursday night we had class at 4:30 which was fun. The class was a little smaller than usual but so great to get a chance to really go deep. We worked with twisting and hip opening and got to yogi dandasana and explored the clasp in Maricyasana 3 a bit. Lots of revolved forms led the way. Then I drove up the road to Breath and Body for the first night of our beginning series there which went really well. We had a nice full room although many of the folks in there were there for purposes of Teacher Training, not because they were beginners. But still, the beginners did great and I had a super fun.

And here is a short video clip of me introducing the chant to the new group last night:

All right then, yesterday afternoon I joined Desirae for her 4:30 flow class at Breath and Body whcihw as super great. she is a caring, professional, sincere teacher and it was fun to be in her class. Then we had the Immersion. We start the final phase this week, and after some introductions and a review game which most people did not feel was very fun at all, we did an asana practice incorporating the top 5 tattvas into the theme, with special emphasis on the 3,4, and5. What are they? Will, Knowledge and Action or Iccha, Jnana, Kriya or sadashiva, isvara, shuddavidya or Heart, Mind, Body or Attitude Alignment, Action. So many ways to say it and point to the same notions. So we worked with brining these three aspects of ourselves into the practice. I think it went well.

Although, admittedly it started as a kind of challenge with Dale asking me if I would really teach something like the tattvas in a public class and implying that it couldn't or shouldn't be done. And those of you who know me, know that I love a good challenge in the domain of teaching Anusara Yoga. Just tell me things like '"you cannot teach alignment in flow", or "you cannot teach philosophy or alignment to beginners," or "you cannot teach heart qualities to alignment people," or "you cannot teach this to seniors," or "you cannot make a flow person watch a demo," or "you cannot make this gentle," or "you cannot make it hard enough," etc. and so forth and I will just smile and say, "Watch me!"

Anyway, the point is some population and circumstances of teaching this are easier than others but if you really get what we are doing in Anusara Yoga, like really grok it, you will begin to see the genius in our method is in its broad range of application. You cannot teach these different groups the same way but you can maintain the integrity of the method in a variety of circumstances. It is a philosophy of totality and so really, it all depends on how interested we are in developing our skills in such a way that the method doesn't encumber us but frees us as teachers. This is what I love about it.


Dale said...

Nicely done, btw :-). I enjoyed how you took these three tattvas, simplified them, made a heart theme from them, and linked them to the asana practice.

As you know, I keep roiling around the overt Hindu-ness of the Gita and the tattvas at this level. So, yes, I did in fact want very much to see what you would do with this.

So what I heard was a theme that was based on the concepts embodied by these 3 tattvas, but without the Hindu background, and developing a theme that was accessible and agreeable to people of many faith traditions, without excluding anyone.

Applying that to my teaching, I saw an example of how to consider a concept from any particular philosophy, recognize and celebrate what is good in that concept (how Anusara :-), work it into an applicable theme, and weave that into the asana practice.

In my case, I am not going to teach any heart theme that I do not agree with, even if it is on the test, and not even under the label of "this is Anusara philosophy" as opposed to my belief. If something disagrees with my beliefs, I will not teach it. Which is, after all, only honest and reasonable.

So I keep wondering if Anusara will accept my heart themes, or more accurately, the fact that I will not teach some heart themes because they conflict with my theology. I want there to be a good match - I want folks to be glad that they took a chance on me. Well - ok - I _do_ enjoy playing Socrates in minor ways - but I really do not want to come into someone's house & cause problems, so I want to make sure that there is a good match before anyone says "I do :-)."

But I think that I understand now that the Anusara folks who will judge my teaching offering have hearts that are larger than my misgivings. Perhaps my inability/unwillingness to teach certain themes will be viewed as a charming eccentricity....

So anyway, thanks for being Christina and showing us how it is done - 'cause we _are_ watching :-).

Christina Sell said...

I hear new Anusara Yoga teachers say they are worried about the themes because they want to sound authentic. I am always like, "Well, if you are not being authentic, then just start telling the truth and that will solve the problem!"

But seriously we should only teach what is real for us- asana wise, philosophically and so forth. If the majority of what is real for us fits within the broad boundaries of Anusara Yoga then it is a good match. If not, well, then, not, as you say.

The genius of our method and our founder is that her really does want each of us to have our own voice. Every teacher should have a unique flavor. There really is plenty of room for diversity and at the same time, there are guidelines.

And given your Christian faith, it might interest you to know that I know a few Anusara Yoga teachers who teach Anusara Yoga in their churches with themes drawn from the bible.

Also- my friend Noah always reminds me about how his teacher taught him that how you get good at simplifying something is by studying it in an in-depth manner. So, an Immersion is for going into something deeply (like that tattvas) so that when we teach we can give a simple explanation (body mind, heart instead of sadashiva, ishvara, shuddha vidya, etc.) that is informed by a deep understanding rather than just give a simple answer because we only have a simplistic understanding.

SO something like that.