Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Gift of Practice

Well, I can't believe so much time goes by these days between blog entries. It seems to me that my time on email and administration duties has increased leaving me less time to ponder life and practice via my blog writing.

 Anyway, I spent the weekend in San Marcos hosting George Purvis, one of my favorite Senior Iyengar teachers. I met George many years ago, several years into my studies with John Friend and I told John I was going to George's workshop with my sister and he said, "Tell him I said hi." 

So I did and then found out that George and John were long-time friends and practice buddies from "back in the day" and George pretty much took me under his wing like a kind uncle and helped me tons and taught me lots. That was probably over 10 years ago and I study with him when I can and continue to enjoy his down-to-earth humor and utter and complete lack of pretentiousness. And he never fails to help me learn and grow. 

"Back in the day" refers to their mutual history in Iyengar yoga but also their youth and the very real fact that these guys, and their friend Sam Dillon, were doing yoga in Texas in the 80's way before yoga was cool and certainly before it was trendy for men to do yoga. (And shall I repeat that this was happening in Texas which is not exactly a liberal haven.) I like thinking about that as a teacher  and practitioner who caught the wave of yoga's popularity in this last two decades because I think it is so important to remember whose shoulders we stand on and what a great service so many teachers did for us all in paving the way for the diversity we now take for granted in our larger yoga community. I started yoga in 1991 and it was not exactly popular then but it wasn't really weird either.  I have watched it grow in popularity and public acceptance over the years such that many of us are able to teach for a living which would not have been possible even 20 years ago. 

I recently had an opportunity to sit down for tea with Judith Lasater, another pioneer in the modern yoga movement and we talked about how yoga is changing and how best to honor the shifts and respond to the current trends and yet preserve  what is most valuable from the tradition. It is an interesting question for me these days as I can see and feel that as we grow and change and models of power and authority become questioned and deemed outdated there is a tendency to get radicalized in one position or the other. We cry "progress" and let go of tradition. We cry "tradition" and fail to adequately respond to the demands of  very real shifting sands of time. Somehow I think we are poised on a precipice where the tension between these positions has the opportunity to  usher in a new paradigm of authority, power and community. 

The more I talk to people the more it seems to me that this shift is happening - or attempting to happen in various domains. I  see it in yoga because that is where I am most frequently looking. But my Christian friends say their communities are experiencing similar themes and I think we can see it politics, education and business as well. 

This weekend was full of great tidbits of alignment and awesome stories and I was really inspired by the depth of the oral tradition of Iyengar Yoga. I also enjoyed seeing how many things I learned from John were present in George's teaching and probably traceable to their common Iyengar yoga teacher, Ramanand Patel, who John gives a lot of credit to in the Anusara Yoga Teacher Training Manual. 

Obviously, as things progressed and grew in Anusara, we moved farther away from those shared roots but I have such love and respect for Iyengar yoga that that move wasn't great in my view, although for others they were happy for the shift. At any rate, these themes create  an interesting reflection for me since I am in the process of shifting my own orientations and I do want to bring forward what I love about Anusara and Iyengar yoga into this next phase of my own personal synthesis. It can be easy to just leave lessons, techniques and ideas behind so as to create a separation but I think that is not necessary nor ideal.

Before I end this little note for the day, I have  a plug for an upcoming online offering. This program is geared  for the holiday season, when time is tight and so is money so you will notice that this program has tiers of financial contribution outlined to offer as many people a chance to participate as possible. My main purpose in offering this program is to support people in staying connected to their practices- both the internal ones like compassion, forgiveness, clarity as well as the outer one like meditation, pranayama and asana- throughout the upcoming season. No big homework or heavy-handed anything is in the curriculum, just an offering to keep us connected through meaningful conversation and shared intention. 

Have at it and spread the word, please.


The holidays are notoriously busy and stressful for many of us. During times of stress it is essential that we maintain a regular relationship to our practices  to feed our spirits and nourish ourselves in the most positive ways possible. This six-week webinar with Christina Sell is designed to provide you with a community of support through the holiday season so that you can maintain a strong connection to your life-enhancing practices, your health-related goals and your Heart-based values.

The course curriculum is centered  around  a weekly web-based conversation with Christina, with each week focused on specific themes relevant to the time of the year. Christina will suggest practices and provide asana sequences and will be available to answer questions from participants. We will create an online forum for further connection and discussion throughout the season. 

Yoga practitioners and students of all levels can expect to find support for their practice and teachers will find inspiration for their classes and workshops. The program is offered on a sliding scale to encourage participation and in recognition that money as well as time is often limited during this season. 

A subscription to yogaglo and a copy of Light on Yoga by BKS Iyengar is recommended.

Week #1: Establishing Aim and Intention
Week #2: Please Practice
Week #3: Forgiveness is For Giving 
Week #4: The Power of Self-Love
Week #5: Cultivating an Attitude of Gratitude
Week #6: The Power of Play

PLEASE NOTE: All Sessions will be recorded. Live attendance is not required or necessary. Recordings will be available for 90-days following the completion of the course and you can listen as often as you like. The recordings are not available for download. 

Dates: Tuesday Mornings, 10:00am Central
  November 6- December 18

Tuition for the Six-Week Course:  $120
 If money is tight and you can not afford the full tuition, here is how you can still participate:
$35- use coupon code 35
$50- use coupon code 50
$75- use coupon code 75

To register please visit this link: 

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