We had a great day today here in Estes Park, Colorado. The day started with meditation with John Friend followed by breakfast and then his 3-hour Master Class.
After class we had lunch and then I taught an hour-long class on Sequencing Strategies which was sort of hilarious. We had 150-something people show up for the lecture which was a thrill and it was a quick foray through the ideas behind great sequencing. I used the 3 A's of Ansuara Yoga to organize my thoughts on what makes a good sequence.
Attitude- A good sequence is a structure through which the Shakti can manifest and move. A sequence can enliven the spirit and invite us to express our hearts in a seamless tapestry through the asana.
So in teaching our sequence ideally delivers us to the heart quality or attitude of the class and should line up in a very direct way to what we are hoping to accomplish attitudinally. We ahve to educate ourselves in the effects of the poses on our heart and mind and the effects of various sequences and on our hearts and minds.
Alignment- A good sequence teaches us the how-to of the poses, and the exquisite order of the method.
In order to convey this as teachers we have to have knowledge of the syllabus, the component parts of the asanas, the common misalignments in any asana, and most importantly we need to be aware of what I call the lineage of the asanas. For instance- where does the pose urdhva danurasana begin? It starts all the way in urdhva hasta tadasana and it is related to every pose on the syllabus where your arms are over your head. So another key to good sequencing is knowledge of the poses in a very fundamental way and also to know the UPA's inside out and how they apply to the various postures.
Action- a good sequence prepares the body for optimal action required to achieve the postures, dynamic expression and for the balanced action that is at the heart of good alignment. A sequence will teach the students how to shore up places of instability and open places that are tight and will assist students in managing their energy throughout the scope of the practice.
As teachers we need to take into account the skill and ability of our group, the environment in which we are teaching, the level class it is, the motivation of the students, our own temperament as teachers and so on. Tall order.
So speaking of tall order, we breezed through some practical examples. All in all I think the talk was informative, inspiring and entertaining so I was pretty pleased with it. Here are a few pics.
After class I took some time to hang out with my friend and fellow certified teacher, Kelly Haas. She and I had a chance to talk and practice which was super awesome. She is a fun, smart, sincere and dedicated person and I have always loved spending time with her. She is John's tour manager and so it is so rare that she has any spare time at all at these events so when we realized that neither of us was scheduled between 4 and 5:30, we made a date. Having heart-to-heart talks with people of such high caliber and personal integrity is one of my favorite things about what I do. It just doesn't get much better than that.
After we wrapped up our back bends I visited my friend and Fellow Certified teacher Chad Satlow in his booth for Third Eye Threads. Kelly captured it on film and made a short clip. Chad makes great eco-friendly, vintage-inspired active wear and he is a great guy with a ton of enthusiasm and passion. Check it out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PNamOtpMmzs.
Then we had dinner and then there was a scholar's panel for the philosophy download. Pretty radical stuff indeed. Here are some scenes from the day:
All right- more to come tomorrow.