Special Treat! (for planning your yoga retreat)

Today and next Monday we’ll be sharing yoga and meditation tips with Whole Life Yoga in Seattle, pigeon pose on beachWashington. For today’s post, head on over to wholelifeyoga.com and check out my guest post there. While you’re there, peruse all the yoga goodness Tracy has to offer – it’s a wonderful blog!

What are you still doing here? Head on over to wholelifeyoga.com get some ideas on creating your own home yoga retreat!

Class Times :)

I promised Jaime (of Restful Yoga fame 🙂 ) that I’d post class times here, so here you go! I teach in Albuquerque at Oriental Medical Arts, located at 2716 San

Albuquerque and Sandia Mountains at sunset {| ...

Albuquerque and Sandia Mountains at sunset(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pedro NE. Class sizes are quite small – 4-6 people – so please contact me via comment or on Facebook (Your Yoga Practice – YYP) if you’d like to come. I’d love to meet you! I keep classes small so you receive the individual attention I believe is supportive to practice.

As of today, early 2013, I teach at 4:30pm on Tuesdays, 5:45 on Thursdays and 11:00am on Saturdays. Classes are One hour and fifteen minutes long, to allow for a generous Savasana avec guided meditation.

Yoga postures Shavasana

Yoga postures Shavasana (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ll soon be recording these and posting on YYP’s fb page, so another great reason to come on over and “like” YYP!

How about yoga for… your body, right now?

yoga under sakura

yoga under sakura (Photo credit: soulfish)

There’s yoga for your back , for your core, for your mind and for your Zen.

How about yoga for… you? Right now?

Sure you might have tight shoulders, hips, aching back or just want a good twist. But I’ll bet dollars to Down Dogs that once you do your first shoulder roll or forward wall hang, Sun Salutation or Fierce Pose, your body will know where it wants to go next, even without anyone telling your brain where to take it next.

Don’t get me wrong – teachers and classes are enlightening, edifying, fun, soul soothing and yummy. (I hope so, I am one 🙂 However, I think we have this practice thing all twisted up: the core of practice shouldn’t be with a teacher in a studio or even all planned out in advance. Just like piano, t’ai ch’i and meditation, you get the most out of the practice you undertake yourself. You. Getting up, rolling out the mat and having a little audience  with the teacher inside.

Your bodily sensation, together with your breath and your longing are the words of your inner teacher. Follow what you feel, watch the breath, take care of your breath and don’t follow mere thought or planning or even “what feels good” (though there will be some of that, don’t you fret!) Follow your longing.

You’ll have to get quiet to feel and to hear it. It might tell you to do fluffy propped restorative poses when you’d planned for a strenuous Vinyasa sesh, or the other way around. Follow it. Continually checking in: what next?

You can follow your bodily sensation to some extent in the context of a class – make modifications for your tight this or overly flexible that. But you can’t necessarily bust out your Hanumanasana in the midst of Surya Namaskar unless you want some crazyeyeasana.

That’s all as it should be. Classes are for exploring an idea and a n energy with a group, which requires a modicum of discipline and and conformity. But your personal practice, the one in your space,  led by your body, this is where you get to explore long and short holds, different combos, allow sensation to guide the next move and the breath to seduce the mind into shutting up on its own accord.

Keep going to classes, workshops, online offerings, Zendos, Salutathons. They rock. They’re fun. They feed your soul. Just don’t subject your precious heart to a mono-diet of group classes or teacher led asana. Roll out your mat. Have a home-grown appetizer, a self-made snack or a do-it-yourself dessert. You deserve it.

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How imperfect can a yoga teacher be?

Original Caption: Sergeant Kenneth Morgan, sen...

Image via Wikipedia

I recently heard a well-known yoga instructor say something very nearly exactly like, “You have no business teaching if you’re thirty pounds overweight.” This got me thinking about degrees of imperfections and what qualifies a person as a teacher, beyond the requisite teacher training. For instance, if you’re looking for a personal trainer or a fitness instructor, you probably do want the one with an optimal physique as proof of their pudding. Or a drill instructor: for a drill instructor, you want someone who clearly punishes themselves, too, because it’s one less thing your brain can run away with as they’re shouting in your face.

Yoga is at least in part a physical endeavor. Is it primarily a physical endeavor? Do we practice yoga to purify and cleanse the imperfection so completely from our bodies that we really believe ourselves impervious? I guess if that’s the point of yoga, we really do want only the youthful appearing, halest and fittest among us instructing it. I, for one, am disturbed by a pervasive sense that if you have the “right” personal practice, and are performing it correctly, you won’t be subject to the maladies of the flesh.

We have certain stories about progenitors of yoga-dom overcoming and healing their own maladies. These stories form part of the justification for practice, our collective mythology. Is this the corollary of that self-healing myth: If your practice does not heal you and grant you a life of perpetual wealth, peace and robust good health, it is not yoga. If you practice dutifully and correctly you will not suffer. And to go one further: If you suffer, either you did not practice or you did not practice correctly.

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