Sunday, July 24, 2011

So I had a quick trip to Grand Forks, North Dakota to teach on Friday night and all day Saturday. We had  good turnout and a wonderful group for the workshop. Patty and Carol were excellent hostesses and it was so fun to see Patty in her element and to meet her students, Carol's students and to see all the people who came from the region.
Patty was a student of mine and Darren’s at one of our Immersion over 2 years ago. And since that time she has opened a studio and spa in Grafton, North Dakota where she teaches Zumba, yoga and offers bodywork and spa services of all kinds. It is so cool to see her thriving and so deeply enrolled in her dream and vision.
So often I say things like “immersion are life-changing” and I know it can sound a bit overdone, trite or maybe even exaggerated. But seriously- the changes I witness in my students are profound. For instance, two years ago, Patty was just getting back into her practice seriously and spent the time in the training in the back corner of the classroom and hardly said anything. By the second teacher training she was speaking up, adding a voice of clarity and authority to our discussion and generally beginning to kick ass. She couldn’t even come to our third week of teacher training because her business was up and running and she was so focused in her local community that she didn’t want to leave. Two years later she is a leader in her community and pioneering the work in her area and shining brightly with inspiration and heartfelt zeal!
So it was so fun for me to visit her and her students and see all the ways the work she had done for herself in the trainings had manifested and to the meet the many people she was impacting as a result of investing in herself through her practice, the Immersions and the Teacher Trainings. Again and again lately, I find myself feeling a bit like a proud parent in a way. Seeing my students success and thrive in this way gives me so much inspiration and faith in the process of Immersions, Teacher Trainings and being in community.
I had a good time teaching- we covered a lot of basics and foundational principles and applications and I left feeling like I had really taught the students a lot of worthwhile, detailed information and still provided a glimpse of the philosophical big picture. 

This may be a gross generalization but there are basically three kinds of workshop styles that I notice. There is the shakti-blast style where the heart is elevated, the spirit is exalted and big poses get done and community is deepened through the fullness of expression that is shared. And there is the detailed, technical workshop where the method gets explained, where there is a lot of “how-to” and a lot of “reasons why” and students learn practice and  teaching techniques, gain clarity about the details of alignment  and learn to draw distinctions between what is muscle energy and what is shoulder loop and what is widening away with inner spiral and what is expanding with organic energy and so on. Then there is the practice-based workshop where the students do a lot of poses, get really warmed up and deep into things they might not normally explore and use the principles they already know to access poses that are new or uncommon. 
Of course, every workshop is actually a combination of the three styles and you can see each style I describe is one of the “A’s”- shakti-blast (attititude), Detailed-technical (Alignment) and Practice-based (action). When the three are balanced its pretty darn amazing- and of course we always aim for all three- but I do find that I generally walk through the door of one and get to the others as the time and curriculum unfolds. This weekend we walked through the doorway of the technical for sure. We had  a very mixed-level group in terms of ability and knowledge.  Generally,  I find that challenging, detailed work in the basics works great for groups like that. No matter how advanced you are, a good strong analysis of Vira 2 is not going to be easy and no matter how new you are, you can benefit from exploring the component parts of the Level 1 syllabus poses as well. And because we have the luxury of time in workshops, we get a chance to go deeper into the technical stuff that we don’t always have time for in public classes.
So it was  a great weekend, all in all. I am now on my way to Lake Tahoe for the Anusara-Inspired Teacher’s Gathering. I am super excited to see everyone and to enjoy the good company of the extended kula. More reports on that to come!

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