Friday, August 6, 2010

Friday Afternoon

I was getting all set to write this morning and I checked my email and in the inbox was an emergency sub request from Jenn Wooten. Her nanny was sick and so she needed a sub for her vinyasa class. I realized, "Well, I am up and I actually could do it" and so I took a bath, got dressed and headed to The Castle to teach.

So I taught a flow class, complete with a fun playlist and everything and told the group, "I am here today in my alter ego as a flow teacher." Truth be told, I do have an alter ego as a flow teacher so it was not a big leap for me to make. Jenn has a great group of students, they worked really hard, laughed some and were so polite, respectful and fun to be with. I enjoyed my time there a lot today.

After class I got in a discussion with some folks about Anusara Yoga and how it gets pitted against flow practice a lot which I think is unfortunate. I personally see no Real reason that alignment needs to go against flow or flow against alignment. I know of plenty of circumstantial reasons and surface reasons but not in any ultimate sense do I see them that differently. For instance, I do recognize that a flow-based practice affords a certain kind of access to the inner life and a start and stop approach yields something else. I see the differences in class in terms of what one can actually teach a group with different the different and various methodologies but really, I have to say it again, I find value in each. For me it is never one way or the other- it is more about understanding what each way contributes to the conversation and to the life of my practice and then using them accordingly. For instance, I never go to an Iyengar class expecting the same thing as I do from a Msyore practice in Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga but each of those methods and approaches has significantly contributed to my progress on the path.

And what is kind of interesting teaching Anusara Yoga in Austin, where there isn't an Anusara Yoga studio where all the offerings are taught with our methodology, terminology and principles, it is easy for people to assume that Anusara Yoga is only one thing because they are only seeing it once or twice a week in comparison to other styles, not in comparison to how versatile and adaptable it is as a method. For instance, when I had a studio we had a full schedule of offerings, all in the Anusara Yoga style. We had Gentle Yoga, we had Basic Yoga, we had Vinyasa, we had Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3. So while it was all Anusara Yoga, each class was really different based on the level and the curriculum. Students saw a whole different set of postures in Level 3 than in Level 1 and by the time someone was in Level 3, it wasn't a big start and stop explanation of the loops and spirals, I just said "Hey, Peg, more shoulder loop" and so on.I am not complaining. I love the work I am doing here and I totally enjoy the teaching i get to do here. I am just saying that it's different.

I think about this a lot because I teach a certain kind of class here in Austin and it worries me someone would think what I am doing is Anusara Yoga. Well, it is Anusara Yoga but it is not all of what Anusara Yoga is. That is the thing. We flow. But we don't only flow. We start and stop, but we don't only start and stop. We demo but we do not have to demo. We link postures creatively but not necessarily. We sequence according to principles, not routines and so all kinds of thing "work" and are consistent with are method. And even within all that freedom there is structure for sure. I think the method lends itself to just about any approach really well. the only thing we are not, as far as I can tell, is passive stretching or spacing out and doing whatever you want to. So once we tip into that approach, we cannot call in Anusara Yoga!

Anyway- speaking of flow- tomorrow is Salutation Nation.Expect an hour-long flow with a fun playlist and lots of people enjoying the great outdoors, the power of community and some great yoga. Please come- I definitely want to look out and see some familiar faces and have people there who will laugh at my jokes.

more soon. Off to get ready for Teacher Training this evening.

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