Thursday, July 14, 2011

Christina Sell welcomes G'Nell Smith to the Anusara Yoga family

I spent the day yesterday working away on some pretty fun projects like planning some future classes and events for The San Marcos School of Yoga and outlining some ideas for Anusara Yoga's upcoming Online Channel and The Center, outlining some ideas for a leadership training and then Kelly and I went to look for a venue for John Friend's visit here in 2012 (Stay tuned for details on that because it is going to be great and I am going to want ALL of you to come to Austin for the fun). After a short stop at Lululemon in the later afternoon, I went to Castle Hill to teach the Group Practice which was a lot of fun.

I worked with the theme of being anchored steadily in our own light so that we can joyfully expand and rise up. Basic root-to rise class to drop backs. (root with steadiness, rise with joy. like that.) It was really fun.

Surya A- 5X

Surya B-5X

1 minute timings with vinyasa between:

Vira One


parivritta trikonasana



parivritta trikonasana


pinca mayurasana

press handstands with partners

ninja warrior quad stretches at the wall- 2X

eka pada rajakapotasana forward bended and upright with back leg on wall

shalabasana and cobra work

corba with chest to the wall

standing back arch with pelvis at wall and partner assist at tailbone

drop backs with partners

drop backs with wall

drop backs alone

Down dog


parsva uttanasana

Down dog

bharadvajasana 1

childs pose

supta padangusthasana 1, and to the side

knees to chest


We had a great time at practice. Another fun thing last night was that I got to tell everyone that G'Nell Smith's application went into the Anusara Yoga office approving her for Ansuara-Inspired Status, which is a really cool thing. I know I have talked about this a lot on this blog and in the trainings I teach but the thing that is really impressing me the most these days is just how interdependent we are as a community of students and teachers. It strikes me every time an Anusara Yoga teacher reaches a new milestone in their journey like getting approved for Inspired Status or completing the Certification Process that it was a group effort.

Let's face it, no teacher anywhere gets good alone. None of us great-teachers-to-be are sitting at home practicing alone and refining our skills until "we are ready" to be launched on the world, perfectly able to teach inspiring and effective yoga classes to everybody we meet. Nope, that's not how it happens at all. Every teacher learns on their students. Someone once told me that Mr. Iyengar said most teachers should actually pay their students for the first five years that they are teaching. At any rate, every student who pays their hard-earned money to go to yoga classes and who shows up week after week and year after year is helping their teacher to grow into the best teacher they can be. And every teacher who is spending their time, money and attention to go to trainings, classes and to study everything they can find on yoga is investing themselves fully in order to be better able to serve the students who are supporting them. And when it works well, when it is at its best, there is an incredible reciprocity of time, attention, resources and we are held in each others Grace. Every conflict we face together, every triumph we share, and every season of growth we walk through together is forging in each of us a pathway to the truth that lives at the heart of our longing to align with what matters most in life. Certainly, no one can do the work for us, but truly we can not do it alone either. This yoga is a team effort.

We worked with that theme last night in class also. Its really one of my favorites. How can each one of us be so steadily rooted in our own light that we can joyfully share and receive the abundant light of those around us? Truth be told, it may not come naturally. It may be that at first, we see someone shining brightly and we feel threatened, diminished, invisible or jealous. We may have to do a lot of inner work to recognize and validate our own light before we are steady in it. But the teachings tell us that as we cultivate that steadiness, as we cultivate true joy in other's success our own consciousness shifts. (Patanjali 1.33) No where does it say we have to do it perfectly. The sutra says cultivate joy in other's good fortune or mudita.

Gioconda and I were talking about it a few days ago and she brought up the idea that cultivating virtues of the Heart is a lot like growing a garden. You do not water the plants only once and expect them to thrive. Water the garden only once and you should expect the plants to wither and die, in fact. Instead, we have to water continually and even give extra nutrition when the soil is depleted. We have to treat for bug infestations, clip back parts that are running wild, weed around it, shade the plants from the sun but not give them too much shade. When a freeze is headed its way, we need to take precautions. And so on.

Okay, so the plant metaphor has now been thoroughly worked, right? Well, cultivating our inner life is the same way. So often we make efforts but fail to cultivate the qualities over the time. Its as though we get jealous of someone else, try to think a happy thought, still feel jealous and then give up! Just like watering once. No- we have to keep the faith. We have to keep going and invest in the garden of the heart over the long haul. And when we do this, truly beautiful things grow.

I am seeing that so much right now in our community in Austin. The growth we have all been investing in is blooming and bearing fruit and the joy I feel watching it quite delightful. And I see more amazing things in the works- great seeds are sprouting and growing roots and a new cycle of growth is underway. I love it. It is a very inspiring time right now.

So tend your garden and keep the faith.


kwajnman said...

I shudder to think how poor a teacher I was for many years!But at least I was always knowledgable in my field. 
I like the garden metaphor but I think it needs to be made much clearer: 'we have to water continually' What is it we water with?
I love the idea of using the kula/ your fellow students/the group of people you practice with as a kind of a cushion ( like on a billiard table) that surrounds you and you can lean into for support and I have experienced circumstances where it worked. But can one really expect people who come to class once a week to get a workout and pay good money for it to be a part of my self development plan? I know you often emphasize that it takes effort and is painful to go through that kind of process, and nowadays there seems to be a tendency to an infantilization and banalization of existence where nothing can hurt or be painful or uncomfortable but is yoga class the place to fight that? And why should a yoga teacher with 200 hours of training be the person to help? And what can he/she do anyway? And is all this just because I live in Denmark where people are not great at dealing with emotions?:))

Sam Rice said...

tending the garden, but damn there are a lot of weeds. but i am totally into it.

Sam Rice said...

got to get your hands in the dirt to make things thrive.

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USCJan said...

After receiving my RYT-200 a year ago, I started teaching for free in order to learn how to teach & step into my own light. I gave away over $4000 worth of yoga & could not imagine a better investment. It's amazing how much you can grow in a year; I went from wanting to teach & being fearful, to actually teaching & wanting to learn even more.