Well, let's see... It's been another full weekend for sure. We had our final Immersion weekend here in Austin this weekend. What a strong finish it was! We pushed the envelope quite a bit in the asana, looking at scorpion pose, arm balances from sirsasana 2 and drop backs and so on. That was fun. And we spent a lot of time in review of the curriculum which was great. Review is not exactly the most scintillating kind of sessions but it is so great to have a chance to clarify confusions, to ask people to compare and to contrast ideas and principles, and to really get down to some of the more academic points of the curriculum. And from what I can tell, people like to have a chance to actually "get the answers" to those empowerment reviews!
So that is kind of the content part of the weekend but the context of the final weekend of an Immersion is always a bit richer than that! It is so rewarding to bring a group through the whole nine yards of an Immersion and to see how far everyone has come in terms of asana practice and also inner shifts. This group had many inner and outer shifts and like I always say, I feel like I shift right along with a group anytime I teach one of these trainings.
I think for me one of the most rewarding aspects of this training was in recognizing how deep and sincere the students were. I had an ongoing feeling that the Austin Anusara Yoga Community has evolved to a new level of focus, commitment and and has become much more mature. I felt like this group marked the end of a "pioneering" phase with the teachings here. I had free reign to teach and not convince, students came ready to learn without needing to debate or compare a lot and most of the students have been in my classes or in my student's classes and so they already knew the method worked and was viable, they just wanted to go deeper. It was a truly pleasure to teach. I really loved it.
The Immersion curriculum is intense and powerful and challenges even the most seasoned practitioner. As much asana as there is there is plenty of philosophy, lots of soul searching and it is a big dose of community, to be sure. Asana junkies have to get with philosophy, the mystics have to deal with a ton of physicality, introverts have to share a lot, extroverts have to listen to other people and on it goes. Just being in a room for 100 hours with 35+ people is no small feat! Anyway, the students did great and I left feeling uplifted and grateful for opportunity to share the experience.
After the training, we had a small gathering to celebrate Kelly's graduation from college which was sweet. He has started college 8 different times and finally completed his studies last week, earning a MA in Traditional Chinese Medicine. It's a big accomplishment for him and in a lot of ways for our family, as we have been cheering him on and supporting him through the process.
And as I looked out at the folks who came to his party, I realized that they were all my yoga students and it really hit me that Kelly's graduation is also a community victory. Every person in the room has paid money to learn yoga from me over the years which made it possible for us to pay for Kelly's school. The community "support" in this case was tangible and real and so potent for me to recognize.
Once again, I am struck by the power of community and the many ways we can help each other be great and live into our goals and dreams. As we all know, teaching yoga is not easy, nor is being a student. The process asks a lot of us. And as we walk the path, it gets harder, not easier in a lot of ways. Like I so often say, we get rewarded for a job well done with harder things to do.
One time Manorama said, "it's not like yoga is going to tell you to take a break and have some tea." Of course, occasionally we do take a break and enjoy some tea or any one of life's amusements and that's all well and good. In fact, in that same talk she said, "sure, distractions are in this realm for a reason and they have their purpose but that is different than living a life of distraction."
So, for sure, we know none of this is easy, and it's not meant to be. There is tapasya and fire involved. ("it's called tapas for a reason- it BURNS"- Manorama) However, there is also nectar and sweetness as well. Kelly's party had that sweet quality of community and friendship that was really delightful to experience and be part of. As time goes by, I find this to be some of the most important part of the yoga to me-- these connections in community and glimpses of the deep support we can be to each other. Certainly, community has it's own fair share of tapas to offer us as well, but that's another entry for another time! Right now, I am reveling in a sweetness of gratitude for all of you who I have the opportunity and honor to teach.
We got up early this morning and spent some time boating in San Marcos. Then I had time to practice asana, before getting on the plane to head out to LA. Here I am now, unpacking and getting ready for bed.