So, after a nice long week at home, I headed back out on Sunday to Houston for the Texas Yoga conference, which was a lot of fun. The conference was well attended, well organized and had such a lovely intimate, yet professional vibe. I had a ton of fun at my class and I was so thrilled by the level of studentship present. Honestly, yoga conferences can be a bit of a mixed bag. There tends to be a lot of very serious practitioners in a room alongside people who are new to the practice and just beginning to explore yoga outside of their local class. However, in the class I taught, the studentship was very high and the group was incredibly receptive to the instruction I was giving. We really had a blast. Lots of laughing.
Yoga teachers, Les Leventhal and Ricky Tran, both of whom were presenting at the conference came to my class, that was a lot of fun because not only did they have lovely practices to watch but they were both stellar students, which was a great teaching in and of itself. It was inspiring to see both of them just slip seamlessly into the seat of the student and model how to pay attention, follow directions, listen and play the edge as well. I really got a big hit of inspiration from both of them.
I left the conference and flew to Miami Sunday night. I got my car, got to my hotel and got to bed before midnight. The Anusara Yoga Advanced Intensive with John Friend started Monday morning and wow, was that a lot of fun. I have been attending this intensive for twelve years now and it is kind of an anniversary for me and John since it was at this intensive in 2000 that we first met.
There are so many things to write about from the next three days- amazing teachings, awesome yoga, wonderful people, great insights and so on. The thing that really stands out was simply how awesome it is to do yoga with John Friend. Yes, I know, that sounds like a blinding flash of the obvious, given my relationship with him, the method and so on but it was like a whole new level of remembrance for me about what happens when I sync up with him in an asana class- such deep insight and such great feeling poses with a lot of ease. We did A LOT of backbends every morning and a more moderate forward bend practice in the afternoons.
One very cool teaching John gave that I really thought was salient had to do with how to engage the teacher and how to stay true to your own personal relationship with the teacher through time. He gave some examples about how he may be fierce with some of us, soft with others and that it can be easy to take our bearings based on how we see him with other people as opposed to simply being anchored on our direct experience of how John is with us. We might see him really fierce and assume he has changed somehow and then stop trusting him. We may not realize that he is being strong with someone who has a very established bond with him and that person isn't upset at all with his intensity, for instance. Or he might be really sweet with someone who is fragile and hurting and we make assumptions about that as well. At any rate, he asked us to move forward in our relationship and trust him based on our own experience and not on these projections and rumors. I thought it was an excellent teaching and a lot more could be said about that.
Also fun was seeing all my students meet John for the first time and to connect with them at the workshop. And an additional wonderful thing was getting to spend some time so many of my friends. I made some wonderful connections with folks and left completely inspired and anchored in all that I love about this practice and community. John was clear, focused, loving and big-hearted. He seemed expansive and yet also fiery which I think is such an awesome field of energy in which to practice. His passion for the path and for helping each one of us grow individually and as a community was downright palpable.
I came home Thursday and Friday headed out for Corpus Christi to teach a teacher training weekend. I am enjoying the group a lot and I am having a real flood of insight about several aspects of teaching that I think is an after effect of simply being in the Grace-filled shakti of the intensive. More on that soon.