Saturday, December 20, 2008

Updates and small rants

Happily, I have added a schedule column to the blog. Easy to update and change, which is perfect for the holidays and also the post-holiday, pre-baby time. I have what is happening through new years (with one possible exception- I may add a practice time next Friday).

Everything is by drop in now as the session has ended and the week for make-up classes has come to a close. Class packages and passes are non- refundable and non-transferable. I think that looking back at the policies on the web site may help clarify any confusion here. Passes purchased last Spring or Summer are really not valid anymore.

The Sunday Practice is on for tomorrow, and that is a suggested donation of $10, but really anything is much appreciated. I am not sure what we will do tomorrow. I am kind of in a hip opening groove, but we will have to see. Any number of things could happen between now and then.

One of my pet peeves, as many of you know, is when someone who has never been to class tells me how hard my classes are or that they have heard that I teach "Hard core"yoga. This has been spurred on a bit by the upcoming holiday yoga spree, which to me is driven by a desire for healthy community connection and fun. The whole thing is very interesting to me. If you were to travel around and check out some of the Anusara studios around the country, I think that the majority of folks would come back under the impression that I am on par with how the method is being taught there, or maybe even that I am holding back a little. The truth is that I really believe in progress, it is how I have both been trained to practice and trained to teach. To me, if you are not seeing improvement and growth in the context of your practice, on the mat or off, than some change or modification in the approach needs to be considered. Christina, who after all is one of my very first yoga teachers, said it perfectly yesterday on her blog. And for the off chance that you do not compulsively check her blog, like myself, maybe this will be all of the prompt that you need to get into the habit.

"....asked about how one goes about introducing harder poses into ongoing public classes. I said that what I do is to get an idea of where I wanted to take the group over the course of six months. Then I tell my students my vision. Then I proceed, over the course of the six months to teach all the building blocks and tools to get there. (i.e.- I drag them along with me toward said vision!) Now the great thing about this approach is that people really improve a lot. The challenging thing about it as a teacher is, because people are improving so rapidly, people who skip out for two to six months come back to the same class and realize their level 1 class, somewhere a long the way, became a level 2 class while they were not there.

At some point in the last ten+ years, I made my peace with this phenomena and I decided to stop apologizing that, in terms of asana and yogic practice, I am into progress. I am into facilitating change as a teacher. I am, in no way, interested in learning and teaching creative ways to stay the same. There are a lot of teachers who do not see asana practice in this way. They are not into challenge. They are not into asking a lot of their students. I have had numerous discussion with teachers all over the country from different methods and they have their reasons for teaching how they do. All that is fine also. But me, I want to look at group of students and see that over the course of their studentship with me, there are measurable results happening on the mat.

And this has nothing to do with pushing, a lack of contentment or anything like that. I am not confused about attainment and its limitations and the temporal nature of such things. Not at all. But I love our method because when you practice it, you align with something whose very nature is expanding. You align with Grace and there is no way to stand still when you align with its currents. It is just not the way that it works. Move yourself in accordance to the principles over a long period and they change you."

So, does that sound "hard core" to you? Let me know. To me that just sounds like the beautiful nature of life applied to how we learn and practice and endeavor in yoga. Thank goodness that when people who have not been to class in a long time come and can see such an amazing difference in the folks who come every week! To those who make it every week, it really is incredible. Remind your self of where you have come from, even where you were 6 or 3 months ago. It is getting better all of the time.

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