Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Spring Intensive Day One

Well, I think this has been one of the most hectic, busiest and, in many ways, stressful months I have had in a long time. Without lots of details on the inner and outer work of all that and all it involved--in a nutshell: I went from Los Angeles for a week of teaching with Noah Maze to Tucson to teach with Darren Rhodes Prescott to visit the ashram to  Abuquerque, NM and I had an amazing weekend of great hospitality in New Mexico last weekend at Bea Doyle's Bhava Yoga Studio where I was warmly welcomed by her very humble, friendly and down-to-earth gang of yogis. I am assuming a lot of that vibe in the studio is due to Bea since she is like that herself- smart, funny, insightful and humble, friendly, down-to-earth and very sincere. I had a great time.

After being gone for over a month, Kelly and I headed home with a car full of art work on consignment from Vigraha, a company some friends ours operate in Prescott. We have always loved their Asian antiquities and their commitment to preserving sacred culture in modern life through the conscious use of ceremonial items and images. Over the years, Kelly and I have assembled a personal collection and when we knew we would begin hosting programs at our property in San Marcos we spoke with them about having some items on consignment. They, being good friends of ours, set us up with a big variety of pieces which we have on display at the School of Yoga San Marcos. I will take some pictures tomorrow and post them but we have paintings and statues and amazing bronzes all up just radiating with great energy. The timing of all of it, while it made for a long drive home from NM instead of a short flight home, still seems like such a great boon for us, since we started our first program today.

Which brings me to a short little update about what was a really awesome day. We have a 28 people here for this program from all over North America. There is so much I could say about it but the main thing I am feeling is really grateful. Last June, me, Darren and Amy Ippoliti ran a week-long Intensive we called The Magnet for Magnificence Intensive. We spent a week talking about how one could increase their magnetism for the desires of the heart so that they might live life in such a way that they basically attracted to themselves  what they most wanted. Not some fluffy kind of New Age workshop, the intensive was deep, rich and full of soul searching for all of us. Shortly thereafter I had my own epiphany about what I wanted for myself.

I knew that I loved teaching yoga and I was so grateful to be working in the way I was but I realized I wanted a slightly different flavor of work for myself. While I love traveling and teaching I knew I didn't want to live my life out of a suitcase forever. Also, I kept seeing that model for my teaching career was dysfunctional for a lot of reasons, incessant travel being only one of them.  While I love teaching big groups, I also saw very clearly that I love teaching in situations where I can really show people pertinent details about the poses and where I can really go into depth about alignment and I was seeing how so many things get lost when classes get too big. I could go on about that and I am not planning to stop traveling but I am weighing its various costs more soberly these days.

Anyway, I realized that what I wanted to do was offer workshops, trainings and seminars in my studio space in San Marcos and provide myself and others who were interested a place to come together and practice yoga, pranayama, meditation, mantra and be in community consciously and intimately without a bunch of fuss, fanfare, pretension and posturing. I wanted a  place for us to be sane, intentional and relaxed while we explored the teachings together. I decided I would take my studio space and the house we own next to it and turn it into a training center. We could create treatment rooms for Kelly to do acupuncture and for a massage therapist to be there doing bodywork, and set up tables for people to hang out, eat and relax and over time make a garden and so on so that the property would be a non-residential retreat center and the way the actual workshop was hosted would be as important as the content that would be offered.

So anyway, this week is something I envisioned almost a year ago and at some point in the morning it just really hit me that "here it was" and "here I am" in the vision I had for myself.  Of course, it wasn't just a vision for me it was a vision for what I wanted for the community of people I am teaching and with whom I am sharing the journey. At the lunch break, after I was done with my practice and eating my veggies and rice,  some people were relaxing on the front porch  and others were coming through the common area and having a cup of tea or coffee, and some folks came inside after having been  to the river,  and I realized that, "Oh my god.. .. they are feeling  what I had dreamed of- that sense of slowing down into The Real, of letting go of outer pressures, of softening into a non-urban rhythm  and in a way, my stressful month melted away as I was filled with a deep gratitude. It was such a great moment for me and it  has been carrying me since.

The cool thing about this week is that there are no hours to collect, no certificate to be had and nothing to gain in any outer way from the intensive. I titled it the Light of the Teachings and the Joy of the Practice and that is what is is about. The simplicity of what we all love- the teachings, the practice and each other. Such a nice return. (Don't get me wrong- there is not a thing wrong with collecting hours and getting a certification and so on. There is a time and a place for that process and on another night I will write about how transformational those outer structures and systems can be.) My point is simply that for this week, we are here for something else. And after, and in the midst of, a very dramatic and complex period of time, it is the best feeling in the world to feel a bit simple again.

All right, enough said on that for tonight. We did some damn fine asana this morning- we got to  eka pada rajakapotasana through some grueling shoulder -opening work  and spent the afternoon in restorative postures, inversions and forward bends. (Oh, and can I just say what  a thrill it was for almost 30 people to each have 3 blankets for shoulder stand?! Oh it is the little things that I so love...)

Oh- and then after the days was done, Kelly and I went kayaking which was so fun, came home and made dinner and then I spent some time outlining my 2013 calendar, which does have some more programs here scheduled as well as some fun trips planned. See, I think the thing is about balance when you get down to it. And, of course, paying attention to when I am feeling happy/satisfied and when I am not. I suppose that is a longer post for another time though.

Anyway, more tomorrow. Stay tuned.


ShelbyBlooms said...

Breath of fresh breezy air and damn fine asana~

kwajnman said...

When Simon, the yoga teacher, and I arrange our retreats, and we have done so many by now, we are very grateful and honored by the fact that people trust us and come and let us provide a space for them to settle down. Afterwards when we look at the time and the work and the not so much money we always agree that we do a good thing. And I think that that is exactly what you do in creating a space where people can come and relax and learn: you do good thing.