Friday, January 27, 2012


After our amazing week in Tucson, Kelly and I drove up to Prescott, Arizona for a few days to visit the ashram there. Kelly has a lot of patients in the sangha and local community so he did some consultations and treatments while I spent lots of time talking to my friends and generally being in the seat of "friend and sangha mate" as opposed to the seat of "yoga teacher." As usual, the time there was rich, multi-layered and provided lots of food for me. I will be digesting for a while, I think.

I have lots on my mind and heart just percolating around and none of it feels exactly reading for public consumption right now. I spent some time online following a bit of the wake of my friend Amy Ippoliti's decision to stop using the Anusara trademark to describe her work which gave me a lot to chew on as well.  I feel inspired, saddened, reassured, etc. by the outpouring of commentary on her blog and others. Amy and I have been friends for over ten years but fell in love with each other a few years ago and I count her now as one of my closest friends and colleagues. She is visionary, hard working, sincere, funny, irreverent at times (which we know I love and enjoy),  smart and courageous.  Like me, Darren, and Elena, she has chosen to formally withdraw her legal affiliation with Anusara yoga and follow her heart in both similar and different directions.

What I am mulling over is the very interesting times we live in where the boundaries between our professional and personal lives are often blurred, where private lives are often made public,  and how much commentary and sharing of all kinds is made possible through the conventions of social media. I am also really interested in exploring how the themes of authenticity, vulnerability, and transparency interact with elegance, dignity,  obligation and the multi-layered truths of duty to self and others. 

One thing I know for certain is that there is no rule book for any of this. I think living and teaching is, in many ways like asana. We study the forms of the postures, we study the actions required to perform the pose, we study the common misalignments associated with the position, we practice the component parts, we train ourselves in right action, we do these things over and over again and  we practice.  And, the thing is, then there is the pose. Even knowing all that we know, we will find that when we get in the pose, we still need to make adjustments. Even if we have performed  everything as best we can we still need to adjust and respond. Mr. Iyengar calls this reposing. Finding repose in the pose so that we can, at some point, learn to reflect on the experience of being in the pose and respond to what the pose is telling us directly. And then we will need to adjust. And we may even need to raise our hands and say, "I know something is off and I can't see my own pose clearly. Help me!!"

I could go on about this idea forever because the asana practice is always such rich metaphoric soil to till. But in the asana of living, I think study and practice is key. We need to study ourselves to know where our misalignments are likely to come. Are we greedy, selfish, self-hating, too critical, undisciplined, too casual, too trusting, blind in our faith,  etc. We need to study who has travelled the path before us and see if we can learn from their experience. 

And yet, no matter what, we are going to have to actually do it. We are going to have to get into the messy business of life, make our choices and then listen, respond and chose again how best to proceed. Our truths and their resultant actions are going to affect others. They are going to have their feelings about it. That is only lawful since we are in the business of personal relationships. I think  its a learn-as-you-go process, no matter how careful, cautious or sincere we are. I am convinced these days that Life is the Teacher and while we have help, guides, teachings, teachers, and practices to help us see clearly, we are, as yogis on the path of direct experience. Our moment to moment experience, when met with repose and skillful responses in alignment with our values is what we have.  

So, in a day and age where so many folks are scared and worried and playing it safe, I love to see bold acts of courage in the name of vision and high aim.  

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." 
-Theodore Roosevelt

Today I am on my way to Minneapolis for the weekend to hang out with Laurel von Matre and her gang at Yoga Garden. I have never taught there before and we have been planning this for quite some time and I am really looking forward to it.  

more soon.

1 comment:

Anne-Marie Schultz said...

Here's my favorite quote about living out there.

the secret for harvesting from existence the greatest fruitfulness and the greatest enjoyment is - to live dangerously. Build your cities on the slopes of Vesuvius! Send your ships into un-charted seas. Live at war with your peers and yourselves! Be robbers and conquerors as long as you cannot be rulers and possessors, you seekers of knowledge! Soon the age will be past when you could be content to live hidden in forests like shy deer. At long last the search for knowledge will reach out for its due; it will want to rule and possess, and you with it!"

Nietzsche, Gay Science.

love anzy