Friday, April 30, 2010

Friday Morning Musings

Scenes from group practice yesterday:

Catherine and Brigitte saying Hello!
Tearson, rockin it.
Melt, Brienne, melt. More than you can imagine!
Ah, the after glow.
Pammy in the house with J-Man. Ordered restored to the fabric of Anusara Yoga Austin.
Tearson, dropping over from headstand.
Catherine and Brigitte sorting out the shoulders.
Catherine standing up UNASSISTED.

More love.

So I had a great time at the group practice yesterday. I personally enjoyed the gathering of folks in attendance which represented a good cross-section of several generations of Anusara Yoga practitioners- from people who have been teaching and practicing Anusara Yoga in Austin for over a decade and folks newer to the method and a bunch of people in between. It is always fun for me when the community gathers for practice.

You know, community is such a central aspect of what we are doing in Anusara Yoga. The three defining aspects of our method are our non-dual Tantric Philosophy and Heart Based themes, The Universal Principles of Alignment, and that we practice the principles within a like-minded community.

I have been in a personal inquiry since I moved to Austin, Texas about how all of that actually looks in its optimal form here. We have a very unique kind of yoga scene in Austin and it is taking me some time to get a handle on that and feel into what our place here is without comparing it to how Anusara Yoga Community looks in other cities or how it has been for me where I have lived before.

For instance, I started teaching Anusara Yoga in a small town in Arizona. At the time I started teaching there was only one yoga studio and I taught yoga there from the day it opened. A year or so after that, I opened Prescott Yoga and so then there were two studios. And sure, there was yoga at the health clubs and the community college and so forth but in general, there were more limited options than what we have in Austin. We were the Anusara Yoga studio and the other studio offered a variety of yoga styles. Also the town did not have a big night life/entertainment scene nor was there an endless list of fun things to do or at any given moment of the day. Because of that and for a lot of other reasons, the yoga community was very tight-knit, very centrally located and very integrated into our daily life. So we did A LOT of yoga and a lot of our social life revolved around each other.

Without realizing it, that was kind of a standard in my mind that I was measuring things against but really, it is like comparing apples to oranges. Something has really shifted for me recently and I actually feel a lot more relaxed about the whole thing than I ever have. Lately, my feeling is that the Anusara Yoga Community here is all just fine how it is and it requires nothing of me other than my very occasional presence.

From what I can tell- and this is only an impression and is not documented by hard, cold facts- we have a small and devout group of people who practice Anusara Yoga as their primary practice. And what we have a lot of is people who practice other methods and styles as their primary practice and then augment what they are doing with Anusara Yoga technology and who are lovely, fun, dynamic members of the community. I have some ideas about why that is the case but none of that really matters, it is more of an observation of what seems to be happening and not a criticism of the situation in any way.

And truth be told, we do not have a central location that is "The Home of Anusara Yoga in Austin, TX.” What we do have is a handful of studios who are welcoming us, our teachers, our teachings and our community and offering us opportunities to grow and contribute in some very fantastic ways. (And because there is always something fun to do in Austin, Texas, yoga potlucks may never be the fun thing here that they were in Prescott, Arizona! Think about it- in the early days of Anusara Yoga that town had no-or maybe like one or two- good restaurants and so when we gathered together for a potluck, it really was the best meal in town. Not the case here. But I digress.)

So anyway, all that has been on my mind lately and the truth is there is no one way to have a community. There is no one way that the ideal of “practicing the principles in a community” has to express itself among a group of people. Not at all. So when I say I have relaxed a bit about it, what I mean is I have stopped wanting the community to be what I want it to be and have started recognizing the beauty of what it actually is. (Ah, another lesson in expectations as opposed to seeing clearly “What Is.”)

Also, there are tons of pros and cons to consider no matter what. Have a very tight-knit community with a “home base studio” and you have some very great things going on. But also, you have all the down sides as well-- there are only so many teaching slots one studio can provide so you have more competition. There are only so many personalities that can work together well, so you get in-fighting and gossip. You run the risk of your kula becoming a clique that is so tight, others do not feel welcome. The diversity of who we can be as a method often gets compromised in such cases and the unique flavor of the studio can interfere with the range of flavors we are as a method.

And spread out all over a town with no home base there are pros and cons as well. It can be harder to perceive the unity that is present. The potency and majesty of the method doesn’t always come through when the Anusara Yoga class is just one class on a schedule of many other styles or many other classes of one style. But there are pros as well to being more diversified. Many people have many more opportunities to teach. Our teachings get exposed and offered to a very large community of people who might not otherwise learn about us. We participate in a yoga community and not an Anusara Yoga Community and so we get to learn, grow and benefit more readily form the wisdom of other traditions and perspectives. We have to get very skilled as teachers to present our method clearly, intelligently and cogently in an ecumenical situation as opposed to a situation where everyone speaks “Anusara Yoga”.

Anyway- it was a super fun time yesterday and I enjoyed stepping into sub for Mandy while she takes care of herself and allows her body to heal.


Mike Frosolono said...

From the corporate world but applicable to many other of our activities: The first task of management (yoga teachers, or whatever) is to assess current reality.

Anonymous said...

thank for share, it is very important . ̄︿ ̄