Thursday, July 29, 2010
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Well, it's a rainy day here in Montana where I am attending a week-long yoga retreat with Senior Iyengar Yoga teachers Patricia Walden and John Schumaker. I came to this retreat two years ago and it is really great to be back. Anne, my sister, is a certified Iyengar teacher who more than occasionally visits Ansuara yoga Land and so it is fun to be visiting Iyengar Yoga Land with her and Jeff and also my friend Rachel Peters from Prescott, Arizona. All in all its been a great week so far.
We had a very epic time getting here on Saturday. We ended up with a 7-hour layover in Denver due to flight crew delays and weather and so forth and got to Helena at midnight instead of 1:30 which was our original plan. But we made it and other than being a little road weary, no harm was really done. Travelling is always such a lesson in acceptance for me. Rarely does losing one's temper or giving into frustration ever help the situation. So much in the course of travel is really out of my hands. Almost everything except my attitude, that is!
The retreat-ants are divided into two groups- a beginning group and an intermediate advanced group. John teaches the beginners one day and Patrica teaches the int/adv. group and then they switch the following day and alternate, etc. It is great to get exposure to two different teachers that way. We had class with Patricia that morning for a lot of padmasana work andpadmasanain inversion work which was awesome after travel. Then we had John yesterday who taught a rousing and dynamic back bend practice. We got to drop backs and once everyone who needed help got help he had those of us who could do it on our own work alone. After we had worked a while, he said, "Okay, did everyone do their 108?" He walked by me and I said, "Well I got to 40... He said okay, get to 54 and then stop for the day." (the rest of the group was in down dog at this point.) And he coached me through some very useful refinements and suggestions for practicing them in a new way. So that was fun.
Today Patrica taught a 4-hour twist class which was super intense and deep. Lots of good insights from that. You know, I am pretty good at making myself work on things in my practice and really going for something without a teacher guiding me, but I would never have repeated those twists that much in my own practice. She really held the space for us in a profound way. So that is kind of thought provoking in terms of knowing now what I need to ask of myself in practice and being reminded that as a teacher, we need to hold a space for people to work beyond their comfort zone without apologizing for it.
As always I am delighting in the seat of the student and getting a lot of good help with my practice. Both John and Patricia have near x-ray vision with their observation skills and they show their love with lots of adjustments and refinements. Good times for sure.
A few commercials and announcements- Remember the Wonder of Meditation with Carlos Pomeda is August 1 in San Marcos. For more information about that, please email me and I can send you a flyer. Oh, actually, there is a pdf posted on my website. If you have wanted to meditate but was unsure about how to get started or if you have a practice and want to get some additional guidance, this is for you. Carlos will talks some about the different approaches to meditation throughout yoga history and focus mostly on tantric meditation. So, its a chance to learn some more philosophy and apply it directly to the practice of meditation.
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Friday, July 23, 2010
- hotel room keys being pressed into John's hand (which I have NEVER seen happen or heard of happening),
- there being a cult of John (which there isn't since he is the biggest advocate of community over individuals that I know),
- John being secretive about his personal history (which he isn't. He is open about that-- its just not usually very relevant to 300 people in a room learning to teach yoga),
- John being easily distracted (he isn't- I have been in the back corner of room before while he is helping someone in the front row and he has given a personal adjustment to me),
- how John has his teachers proselytize and so forth (he doesn't) and
- that money drives his decisions. (which it doesn't--So much of the business has grown as a result of outreach and service, not profit.)
Monday, July 19, 2010
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Saturday, July 17, 2010
Everyday I have been wanting to get some time to sit down and write but this has been a super busy week. (I did manage to get to the river once and do my practices but no time for writing and reflecting with all the email, video reviews, classes, podcasts, meetings, etc. (Speaking of which last week's podcasts are up- Live Form the Castle 7, 8, and 9 were the classes I taught this week. Check them out. Remember- these are live classes- raw, uncut, not trying to meet every mark for certification, just trying to give a good solid class! So enjoy with that in mind. The sequences and dates are listed if you click on the title of the podcast. Print that out and you have a guide to use as you practice. www.shop.christinasellyoga.com)
It is a Teacher Training weekend at Breath and Body Yoga and so far it is going really well. Zoe M (one of the fabulous luminary yoga teachers in Austin) came to take class last night to celebrate her birthday. Desirae gives a free class on your birthday so keep that in mind. It's one of the many generous things she does at that studio- along with a $10 yoga-teacher-drop-in-rate to support yoga teachers in coming to class.) SO we worked on some back bends with the theme of beauty and courage- two qualities I think really describe Ms. Z.
I have several ideas percolating in my mind that I want to write about one is really about how yoga- regardless of what kind you do- seems to facilitate deep growth and change in the people who practice it. I have had several profound conversations with yogis lately telling me how their involvement with yoga- all different styles, mind you!- has helped them overcome personal challenges, deepen the quality of their relationship and truly provide a lifeline of sanity and support in dark times.
So I think its worthy to consider in a day and age where methods compete and try to assert their "rightness" in the market place. I think, the direct evidence I see, is that it is all working pretty well. Different emphasis perhaps, different expressions fo the same principles and certainly different practices abound. But at the end of the day I really think we hgae more in common with each other than we have in opposition. I really wish as a larger community we would drop the whole 'use music or not use music" discussion and the 'to flow or not to flow" discussion, and the "right place for the drishti" and the righteousness around the bandhas (or lack thereof) and instead, anchor ourselves in our practice, open our hearts to others and their practices and instead spend our time talking about how this practice is helping us grow, change and evolve into who we most truly are and can be. I wish we would testify more about the deepening of our relationship with ourselves and the loosening of the bonds of self-hatred that come to practitioners of every style. I wish we would talk more, and feel more, how connected we are to ourselves, to nature and to those we love as a result of our yoga and stop using yoga-style conventions to create one more wedge between us and someone else.
All right -- enough said on that for now.
Along those line, I did get the most wonderful testimony from a student and friend , Lauran Janes who shared with me a piece of her writing. Lauran is a great teacher here and is owner and founder of Love Yoga Coop and she said she would be happy for me to share her writing on the blog. I hope it moves you as it did me. Seriously, I think we live in the presence of greatness around here.
Highschool’s long over.
Crows feet now decorate your smiling face. You are dreaming of babies, babies, babies. You are ‘over’ having to be that all-powerful-famous-rich person and have moved on to being honest, living with integrity, devoted to love-based values and loyal to your family.
Loud music seems a lot louder than it used to. Stilettos seem like an overall bad idea.
You don’t cancel plans with friends any more because you intentionally make half as many plans.
You’ve forgiven all the major criminals in your life.
You’ve forgiven yourself.
You’ve accepted yourself.
You respect yourself.
You still make mistakes, but they are no longer held up as evidence as to why you’re ‘not enough’.
You don’t pounce on your ringing cell phone anymore.
You canceled your ‘text’ plan.
You schedule email ‘hours’ a couple times a week and hike, play, make love, work, relax, teach, cook and enjoy life in the moments between.
You prefer reading to watching television.
You have a sharp discerning eye.
You’re not angry anymore.
You don’t speed when you drive.
You kindly let others into your lane. Why not? What’s the rush?
You cook for your friends.
You listen to your friends.
You laugh a lot.
You are relaxed and you help others relax.
You stop eating long before you’re full.
You mostly choose colorful fruits and vegetables... and dark chocolate, the expensive kind.
You can afford a $5 chocolate bar - you’re all grown up now. And though you rarely drink, you can tell the difference between a Shiraz and a Cabernet.
Your husband loves you with a hug, not a cage.
He admires who you are and how you are.
He kisses you on the tip of your nose.
He kisses you everywhere.
Getting into bed with him is like landing softly in Love’s tender arms.
He’s your best friend.
Other women no longer scare you.
You cheer on the hot-bodied 19 year-old who bubbles over with gleeful enthusiasm for every subject under the sun. “You go girl,” you whisper to her. (And you send her a silent prayer of protection as you watch her sexuality spill unconsciously onto every passer by. She’ll learn.)
As for those women who glare with jealousy, who roll their eyes, who still gossip...you’re heart goes out to them.
You’ve learned to meet female cruelty with indifference. This was not easy.
You no longer strive to meet the demands of society or race to match society’s pace.
You take up yoga or move to another country to remember your natural cadence.
You discover space and quiet within you.
You discover a deep Peace - a Peace that words can not touch but that deeply touches those around you.
You embody Love.
People experience you as Love.
And this is enough.
You are Woman, finally.