Hello from busy noisy India!
The streets scream with autos, horns, and vendors, smell of smoke, grease and urine, and yet….. you step inside the yoga hall and instantly connect with the opposite: focus, quiet, breath. Contrasts are sharp here and always in view.
It’s a good thing to bounce between these two extremes because you really start to feel that the “you” that is getting pushed around by cars and buses is also present in the orderly yoga room, and is the same one who brushes her teeth at night. And this you is unchanging even as it is required to keep responding.
Regardless of circumstances, we are always being present and becoming present, and India and yoga are indifferent to us getting this intellectually. When it’s time to race across the street you pick up your feet and move your upper, middle, and lower buttocks fast. When the teacher calls parivritta parsvakonasana to Pv Ardha chandrasana you move your hand forward and balance on one leg without groaning.
Circumstances change constantly in India and so the extra training has begun as I learn to change with them.
The asana/pranayama begins on Sunday. Until then, trying swinging your leg forward from
Dog to parsvottanasana to Pv trikonasana back to dog, then forward again to Pv parsvakonasana. To Pv. Ardha chandrasana.
All the while nailing the front edge heel plate to the floor. And using the femur heads like hammers to do. Creates stability while working on extension of lateral trunk. Try it!
This means that all teachers, including the substitute teachers, are in training for Iyengar Certification or have already passed Certification.
The Iyengar method of certification is highly strenuous, precise, and takes a minimum of 2-3 years of serious commitment.
I am proud that we have three students in our midst who have done just that.
Paige Noon, Nicole Murphy, and Betty Ford.
All three passed with strong marks in three categories: a written test, a demonstrated practice, and a practical teaching of six poses in fifty minutes. I am happy they are through this door and wish them well in their teaching.
I will be in India studying with Geeta Iyengar until Dec 13. See the schedule below with class instructors filling in for me.
Geeta Iyengar is teaching a special intensive on asana and pranayama.
I am excited to offer a new class beginning January 10th reflecting what I learn from Geeta in India. This class is open to all levels and is based on what I learned in India with Asanas and Pranayama. This class will focus on asanas that lead to better breathing and mental equilibrium.
As the Holidays approach, remember to take care of your lives. Each day starts anew for everyone.
Keep your self rested in body and mind, and approach your day with friendliness and vigor for yourself and for your responsibilities.
The focus of Yoga has many definitions.
I suppose they all can be correct, or proper, and even change as we change. I will throw out one broad definition that stands the test of Time, and that is:
Singleness of Purpose.
This Singleness can be strived for at the start of a class with a focus on the physical aspect of our being, just moving our limbs, joints, muscles and breath. Moving makes us limber and syncs up our scattered energies into the one body that we have and happen to be using at this very moment. Without knowing any more than this, that moving with singleness of focus on our limbs and breath, we get more solid. This is a great feeling and a great one to build on. As you continue with your yoga practice, at home or in the studio, a next step is to walk inward, into your ability to observe what you are doing as you are doing it. Not only does observation create awareness, but then awareness becomes the gate we have been searching for that opens the moment.
I invite you all to encourage your self when the mat looks daunting, or class looks too hard to attend, to still get to the mat. Nothing bad will happen, only the good of walking into the unknown will unfold.
Silence may arise, Silence may guide, Silence may be the Singleness of Purpose underlying all the others.
In any event, the awakened moment never lets us down. Good luck maintaining your practice during these Fall days, and when Winter is on us, you will be prepared for more subtle hibernating.
Dear Yoga Students,
The summer days are naturally transitioning into early Fall,
and seasonal changes come paired with Reflection. We don’t
need a yoga sutra or magic fortune cookie to tell us that
Life is passing, Time is flowing, and yet, we are somehow
still “here”. We all feel “here”. Even when the mind is
racing on with plans or stymied by a mood or an aversion, we
are still “here”.
Taking Three Breaths, as many times a day as you can
remember, is powerful enough to put you back in your body
and the “here” of the present moment. The body is doing one
thing at a time and the mind is doing ten things, the Three
Breath pause stops this gap from increasing, brings
awareness to what we are doing, and in the end, is deeply
The asana practice we follow is in the Iyengar tradition of
being aware of what we are doing as we are doing it. This
approach to asana does not champion speed or perfection, but
it does champion alertness and awareness and leads to a limb
of the practice called breath awareness. Taking time out for
breath awareness is the beginning of slowing down and seeing
the mind and body in one place, at the same time.
Reflection comes naturally in this process, insight comes
naturally and so does relaxing.
Please hold a special place in your calendar for Monday October 12th
with senior teacher Rebecca Lerner. She is coming from PA to teach a workshop.
More details soon.
See you soon, Namaste, Cathy