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.
Also, a reminder that Salutation Nation is coming up! August 7th at 9:00 on Festival Beach we are gathering as a city-wide yoga community to practice asana outside. I am leading the all-levels class- think fun flows, good music, great people and lots of good snacks and party favors to enjoy!
All right, then, time to take a hike through the woods. I think there is a small break in the rain.