The main thing on my mind these days is really a personal consideration about what kind of teacher I am and what kind I want to be. It is kind of funny because one of the ongoing considerations that Darren and I always have with our Immersion groups is about having a vision and anchoring oneself in one's dharma. So, Darren is generally more of the persuasion about having a plan and I am bit more of the persuasion of letting things happen. So, to use a few yoga terms we can look at fulfilling a vision kind of like a spanda between karma and lila. I do make plans. Of a sort. Like if I have a writing project I am inspired about, I make plans to write, I discipline myself to take actions that will bring it into manifestation. But in another way, I am kind of a let it happen sort of person also.
For instance, I never planned to have a yoga studio. The opportunity fell into my lap. I said yes and worked really hard to make it successful, but I didn't in anyway plan for it. Also, in terms of a "yoga career," I didn't plan to travel and teach. I got invitations to places and I said yes and it grew into something over the last 10 years that takes me all around the globe to some of the most wonderful groups of people and locations. But it wasn't a plan of any kind.
I didn't even really plan to write a book. I had an inspiration and then took action. Same with the second one. I could kind of go on but my point is that I am not a big concrete vision sort of person. I am more in the camp of do what is in front of you and wait to see what doors open along the way. My spiritual teacher gave me that advice a long time ago. He said, "In general, its best to wait for the Universe to move and to follow its lead. Go where you are invited."
So its an interesting thing to think about- How does on "go where they are invited"? On one level, I think its great advice relative to working and travelling and so forth. I do try to go wherever I am invited and I rarely invite myself anywhere to teach. But I think about it in terms of the classroom also and it reminds me of the advice that John always gives us as teachers which is to wait until the student asks the question and respond to their questions. He repeatedly tells us to wait for the teachable moment.
On one level, I figure any one who comes to my class has asked for my help. But we all know that within that overall "implicit question or invitation" there are varying degrees of help that a student may or may not be ready for. Being sensitive to that is a real skill and I know I miss the mark on both ends of the spectrum repeatedly. I may fail to see someone's readiness just as I may offer more intensity to someone than they are ready for. So I have been working with that a lot these days-- I have been trying to tune into how much help is someone ready for because truth be told, not everyone wants the same thing out of a practice, a class or even the certification process. So it's an art to be sure.
And all this also starts to open up a juicy line of inquiry off the mat because sometimes the invitation the Universe gives us is an invitation to grow in difficult ways. We may have difficulty stepping into our power, telling the truth, giving up an outmoded way of coping and so forth. We may be invited, at times, to great things that we have always dreamed of (and even some so grand we didn't even dare to dram them!) and in these cases, saying yes, or going where we are invited, is a wonderful thing. Also, however, we may get invited into scary places, into dark regions of the psyche, into areas of challenge that we would rather avoid. And saying yes to that invitation is not so easy.
So in terms of a big vision- which is where I started all this- I actually got a huge hit of my own vision for myself while I was at The Certified Teacher's Gathering and while hiking in the woods in Oregon. (Gotta love being in the fire and the nectar of the kula and the wilderness to open doors to such a thing.) Anyway, while I was there, I began to see very clearly how my vision for myself isn't an external thing in any way. My vision does not really have anything to do with having a full calendar of gigs, a lot of classes with tons of people, a clothing line, a DVD, or any kind of outer empire. My vision is about being anchored in something Real. My vision for me-whether I teach a lot or not, whether people like my teaching or not, and regardless of the venue in which I am teaching- is about being a person who knows where home base is. All the other stuff is peripheral. It seems to be that if I- if each one of us- is focused on how to get to the center of the mandala of who we are, and if we are sincerely interested in serving from that place, then well, how exactly we get put to use, becomes a whole lot less important.
Anyway- meanwhile, as this has been my internal process, I have been busy with outer plans, travel arrangements, marketing materials and so forth. I seem to have a full time job just being a secretary to my own business of teaching, which at times is overwhelming.
Since I have been home I have been spending a lot of time getting things squared away for 2011. I have a lot of exciting things coming up. Mostly I am thrilled to be collaborating and team teaching with some of my friends and colleagues. I love to be able to do that because I always learn a lot and the students get a chance to receive new perspectives and to benefit from diverse vantage points.
One thing I have been doing is putting some final touches on the marketing material for the 200-hour Teacher Training that I am offering in Corpus Christi in 2011. I am pretty psyched about it- it is not an Anusara Yoga training. It will be an introduction to teaching yoga that will give new teachers a chance to dive into the fundamentals of yoga and teaching and philosophy with a handful of really amazing teachers. Offered within that program will be 3 weekends with Manorama so save those dates, even if you have no interest in the full program. She will teach a weekend on Sanskrit, a weekend on The Bhagavad Gita and a weekend on The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. So that will be a great thing to catch if you can. The dates for her visits are: February 11-13, 2011; June 24-26,2011; Sept.30-Oct.2, 2011
I am also working on the marketing materials for some of the programs I am offering in Austin.
- October 29-31,2010: Me and Noah Maze- Entering the Heart of Practice: Asana Intensive for Teachers and Dedicated students
- January 28-30, 2011: Me and Amy Ippoliti- Opening to the Power Within: Asana Intensive for Teachers and Dedicated Students
- July 22-24, 2011: Me and Carols Pomeda- Taking the Inner Journey: Asana, Philosophy and Meditation Intensive
- September 16-18, 2011: Me and Noah Maze- Abiding in the Seat of the Self: Asana Intensive for Teachers and Dedicated Students
- November 18-20, 2011: Me and Martin Kirk- Giving Thanks for the Glory of the Body: Asana and Anatomy for Yoga Teachers and Practitioners
In the more immediate future I am looking forward to Laurie Blakeney's visit here in Austin in June 25-27, 2010. Laurie is one of my favorite Iyengar Yoga teachers and I have learned a lot from her over the years. She is practical, nice, smart, funny and so well-steeped in the teachings and perspectives of Iyengar Yoga. Seems like she has made 20-something trips to Pune to study at The Institute there. Anyway, I am planning to stay home that weekend to participate in all those festivities, which are not to be missed. I love her teaching so much I just cannot sing her praises loudly enough. (And I can sing pretty loudly, as we all know.) YOu can sign up for that with Clear Spring Yoga.
July 4, Darren Rhodes and I will be teaching together in Santa Fe, and the wonderful Wendy Borger's studio, Spandarama. I am super psyched about that. Its a small studio so sign up now.
Noah Maze and I have a date in Los Angeles July 9-11 which will be a lot of fun.
August 13-18, 2010 Darren Rhodes and I start Part One of our Anusara Yoga Teacher Training Program in Tucson, Arizona.
August 20-25, I will be in Couer d'Alene, Idaho for a weekend of teaching with one of my favorite people in the whole world, Karen Sprute Francovich. I would love to see some of you northerners up there for that. (Spread the word in Canada, I will be coming close to the border!) This is a perfect training for people to come to who have had Level 1 and Level 2 Teacher Training and want to work on refining their teaching, preparing for certification and so on. The group there is well-trained and seasoned and it will be a great chance to go deeper into the basic skills that make for great teaching.
And while I am plugging things here in a bit of shameless promotions, I might as well mention The Ansuara Yoga Grand Gathering. I am really proud to say that I was invited to be one of the presenters at The Gathering this year. I am teaching a back bend class, an arm balancing class and I will be giving a lecture on Sequencing Strategies so I am pretty excited about that. The 2008 Gathering was a really amazing time. 800 people, from around the world all taking class together was nothing short of fantastic. So, please come to that!
All right, enough already. Have a great day. More soon.