I find the whole situation with Anusara to be quite interesting since the rate that people are processing their feelings about it is widely varied. There is a big continuum of discussion content and emotionality is not only high but varied. It dawned on me over the weekend in Monterey, CA (which was wonderful by the way) that this next year is just going to be like that- lots of different kinds of conversations- some of which will feel like forward movement and some of which will feel like yesterday's news and and all of that can be just fine, if I do no expect it to be something different. We are, as a community of individuals, moving through this shift in both similar and different ways and that is as it should be.
I realized for me that in teaching I am shifting very decidedly away from some of the standards and strictures of Anusara and while I am not veering from my understanding of the method or from the bulk of my training, my teaching has shifted a lot already. My host in California asked me if I always taught "like this" and I asked her what she meant by "like this". She said, "your teaching is very Iyengar-y" which I took as a compliment because she is mostly trained in that system herself. I said, "Well, sort of. I was always accused of teaching Anusara yoga like an Iyengar teacher. Except, of course, when I was accused of teaching like a vinyasa teacher." (true story- got lots of "feedback" both ways over the years. Noah told me once that I was just a versatile teacher which made it very hard to actually know what I was going to do on any given day! I suppose that's true.)
And as we all know, I never stopped studying Iyengar yoga or other methods of yoga even as a certified Anusara teacher. I would have stopped had I gone to their workshops and classes and not learned anything but since that never happened, I kept studying with great teachers who were willing to teach me, regardless of method- Bikram, Baptiste, Iyengar, Ashtanga, etc.
So, the main thing that I notice now in teaching is that I am really not teaching a system anymore. Since 1999 I have been trying to teach The System of Anusara Yoga and now I am sharing what I understand about the postures, about yoga and what I am working on in my study and practice. So while there is a large amount of overlap with The System, I am no longer attempting to teaching through the lens of a unique system of yoga nor am I trying to demonstrate how each little action can be categorized in some way into a grander scheme of universal alignment principles. I am teaching key actions as they relate to a peak posture or group of postures but I have freed myself up from having to funnel all of that into the unified scheme that John outlined. So that is different for me.
And themes. Well, it seems like the trend is around class titles and so my workshops still have these class titles but soon there will come a day when the title just says, "Back bends" or "Forward bends" and my big plan is to be teaching more and more from an intensive perspective where students are there for the whole thing and the class title and content is incidental. For the record, I have nothing against themes and I am happy to hear a great sermon and lord knows I have plenty to say about the inner life of asana practice and I am a very skilled at "heart language" but I really see all that stuff as teaching tools and not a primary, delineating and salient feature of what I would characterize as my teaching offering. I think being inspiring is great and I think responding to teachable moments is great and I am all about the conscious use of metaphor in teaching and so on but, honestly, don't expect a by-the-Anusara-book- theme thing from me anymore. I have let it go. (I still think I am pretty damn inspiring, though, so don't worry.)
I love mantra and I use an invocation to The Guru and as time goes on will be teaching the convocation as a ending chant more and more. So expect more of that from me. I love the use of mantra because the sounds shift us so profoundly. I would rather employ the technique and allow people to have their own experience of their practice than to overly craft and manage the psychology or mood or emotion of any given practice session with too much "framing." I am more about "do the practice and be with what arises" when you get right down to it. And over time, we can and should watch how different practices facilitate certain moods- what elevates, what calms, what agitates, and so on--and we can be prescriptive in a way but I want people to sing the mantras, watch their breath and get what they get, not what I want them to get.
I could go on but thats about the time I have for this today. What I am mostly psyched about is that I am planing some great programs in texas for next year. Here is a sneak preview.
September 19-23, 2012
“Myth, Metaphor and Tales of Transformation”
Christina Sell, Darren Rhodes, Mary Young
Asana, Storytelling and Personal Inquiry
January 17-20, 2013
“The Postures are Prayers: Weekend Asana Intensive
February 14-17, 2013
“Bhakti ,The Beloved and You: Yoga as a Path of Love”
Christina Sell, Mary Young
Asana, Pranayama, Philosophy, Renewal, Personal Inquiry
March 6-10, 2013
“The Light of the Spirit: 2nd Annual Spring Intensive”
Christina Sell, Manorama D’Alvia
Asana, Pranayama, Sanskrit Studies
April 18-21, 2013
“Expanding Awareness : Asana and Meditation Intensive”
Christina Sell, Carlos Pomeda
Asana, Pranayama, Meditation, Philosophy
May 16-19, 2013
“Exploring the Boundaries: Advanced Practice Intensive”
Christina Sell, Noah Maze
August 17-19, 2013
“The Heat of Transformation: Weekend Asana Intensive”
Christina Sell, Darren Rhodes
September 12-15, 2013
“Becoming the Author of Your Life: Yoga & Writing Intensive”
Christina Sell, Mary Young
Asana, pranayama, writing, personal inquiry
October 16-20, 2013
Teacher Training Intensive: Pose Architecture and Sequencing Strategies
November 8-10, 2013
Devotion in Motion: Weekend Asana Intensive
December 12-15, 2013
Teacher Training Intensive: Teaching the Raw Beginner