I keep getting called out on Facebook to comment on the current situation with Yogaglo (outlined above) so I thought I might as well say a few words on my blog.
Here's the thing: I have been on the teaching faculty of Yogaglo for several years and have enjoyed a wonderful working relationship the production and management team. As a result of my involvement with them, their excellent technology and an enthusiastic community of subscribers, I have had a chance to teach yoga to a diverse community of people around the globe. All in all, it has been a great thing and I have enjoyed the opportunity to be part of their professional team of teachers. In fact, I have loved being part of the Yogaglo team.
During the summer we ran into some conflicts over the YogaTips on my Youtube channel and rather than take down the short clips which were seen to be in conflict with the terms of the exclusivity agreement I had signed, I terminated my contract with Yogaglo. I understood the exclusivity agreement to mean that I could not post full "yoga classes on any streaming site" and they felt that the terms meant that I could not post any portion of any "yoga class on any streaming site" and so we parted ways. Yogaglo owns the content I created while under contract with them and my classes have remained up for my students to use. Whether a class remains up or comes down is under Yogaglo's discretion per the terms of the contract, not mine.
So, folks keep wanting a statement from me as a "Yogaglo teacher" on the matter. Another person told me "the yoga community would boycott me if I didn't do something" and still others are politely inquiring why the Yogaglo faculty is so silent on the matter. Just for the record, I am doing what I have always done which is practicing yoga and teaching yoga as best I can. (Oh I did just buy a new mountain bike so this week I have been riding that a lot also. But I digress...)
My point is that I am not going to do anything new because there is nothing left for me to do other than what I have already done.
I do want to say-- for the record--that I love teaching yoga. I wake up most days in awe that I landed in this job that often kicks my ass and yet always shows me that deep meaning can be created through mindful movement, honest expression and dedicated efforts over time. I came to yoga as a life-saving measure. I think that is why I am so intense about the practice. Had I been casual about yoga in those early days, I would be dead today. I didn't become a yogi because I was some holy person so full of integrity or because I was so predisposed to the inner life. I became a practitioner because I needed the teachings one day a time to stay alive and to climb slowly out of a mire of self-hatred and self-abuse. Personally, I do not understand what peculiar function of Grace gives a job like this to someone like me but most days I figure it is because I needed to be kept close to the Teachings, lest I forget the Source of my life.
And sometimes I find it ironic, overwhelming and bizarre that because I teach yoga I now have a lawyer, a corporation and I am called to make "public statements" about current events but those things are part of the game of the yoga business for me these days and that is what it is. And-for the record- I am happy and honored to have the opportunity to play this particular game.
And--for the record-- for me, the practice itself has no politics. Practice is between me and God. Practice gives me the tools I need so that I can rest my head on my pillow at night, look back at my day, review what went well, where I felt short and pray to do better tomorrow. Practice connects me to the trunk of the tree when I have walked too far out to the skinny ends of the branches and have lost my way. Practice bolsters my faith, strengthens my courage and softens me just enough to notice that I am not alone on this great path called Yoga.
So anyway, put a patent on that. Oh wait- it is not for sale.
Monday evening I had the great opportunity to lead a class for an amazing group of local yoga teachers. Lululemon Sponsored the event which grew out of a focus group they had a few months ago with local teachers who spoke of their desire to have a deeper connection to each others. They asked me if I would lead a practice and I was super happy to do so. Here are some of my opening words:
I led a strong practice and then we had some food and drinks and a chance to just hang out together, which was really awesome. There are so many things that foster community and I write about this a lot as many of you know. One very real aspect of community is time and place. Having a time set aside and a gathering place for everyone to come together goes a very long way. It was so fun to see a room packed full of amazing teachers and practitioners all laughing and practicing together. And since I know so many of the folks in the room I also know in that room were past hurts, haunts and hang-ups with one another and yet, it seemed to me, most folks were willing to set that down for a few hours, to get some "food for the yoga teacher's soul" and touch base with something bigger than those stories.
Seems to me part of transformational community is a certain amount of conflict. It is never a big deal with me when conflict surfaces in a community. For me, community is defined by the response we bring to our individual and collective problems, not by the fact problems come into our midst. Bring two or more people together and well, there may be the Spirit of God but there is also going to be jealousy, competition, politics and hurt feelings. And when we are in those times I think it is super important not to turn that one instance into a snapshot or to make it permanent fixture in our mind and heart. Life, I think, is much more like a moving picture than like a snap shot. Take a picture of any of us at any given moment in time and we might not be looking so good. Keep the camera running over the course of our lives and you will see so much beauty, compassion, and inspiration in the midst of the heartbreaks and hell realms.
I figure conflicts are the invitation to intimacy. Many times, we make it through and grow into deeper understanding and unity. Sometimes, relationships end as a result of what, at the time, was an insurmountable challenge. And while I feel like there are defining moments when we are really called to step up and the failure to do so may bring with it dire consequences for us and others, from what I can tell, we usually get another chance to do the work. Psyche, whether it is ours personally or whether she is acting collectively in a group, is somewhat relentless like that-- always crafting ways to nudge us to new places, if we dare.
It was a beautiful evening where so much of that was set aside and the nectar of good company was palpable. Many folks told me it was just what they needed and it was truly my bliss to be in service to this community that I love so much.
Here a few scenes:
More soon. Asana Junkies today then a long weekend in San Marcos!
Well, at risk of sounding a bit like a broken record, I have had a busy few weeks. Kelly and I took some time in Buena Vista, Colorado to work on the cabin there and to hike and bike and launch the Asana Junkies program’s fall session. I must say that this program might just be the best yet in terms of content and presentation and the organization of the course materials. I have worked really hard on everything and I am very pleased with the level the course is at right now. The response among the participants has been positive, which is very rewarding. I love hearing about how practice breakthroughs are happening and how folks are starting groups in their own areas to work on the sequences together. So fun.
Of course, the program has taken a lot of my time and creative energy to create the web page each week and to respond to all the questions in our online group. I looked at my blog the other day and thought, “Wow, it has been a while since I sat down to write an entry but I have lived at my computer a lot during the last three weeks. What has happened?!” Asana Junkies happened, that's what.
All that being said, Asana Junkies is a great course with many new and returning students and I am really enjoying it and am so happy with what I am offering and what the offering is teaching me.
I am writing this entry on a plane home from the Boston area where I was teaching for the weekend. The event was really gret because it was co-hosted by three local studios. I think this is such an enlighented way to host an event- three studios sharing in the process of hosting and the collaboration then sends out such good energy into the community. And in fact, the weekend was full of very good energy. So many of the students in the Boston area shared extensive training in Anusara yoga and so we have a lot of fun with the occasional foray into questions like:
Student: “So... you are talking about pushing down into the floor in plank...”
Student: “Is that the same thing as organic energy?”
Student: “But where is the midline?”
Christina: Are your arms supporting your weight, engaged and and straight?”
Christina: “Then you have the midline.”
And so on...
Or, Christina: “You might know this from a former life as Inner Spiral...”
Of course, there are other times when I had to answer questions, saying: “Oh, well, this one doesn’t fit the formula, I learned it in PT” like when we were engaging the transverse abdominals in plank
or “sure the principples might fit this one but they are not the what I see as the salient feature of the pose” such as taking your thighs back in handstand or how the arm bone has a quality of moving back even in mayurasana but that won’t really help you do the pose as much as some other actions will.
So, I felt like my teaching was a pretty good blend and integration of our shared knowledge and some newer techniques I have been practicing, exploring and teaching the last few years. And, on a personal note, I have to say I just feel more relaxed than ever about navigating those worlds. Maybe its like when you break up with someone. First, you have to make a clean break and maybe there are even some hard feelings and you just need some time and some space. But then, after a while, you realize you do want to be friends again and you were in love once for a good reason. And then the friendship ends up being healthier than the love affair ever was. Something like that.
As usual, my hosts were generous, welcoming and wonderful to work with. The students were fun and smart (Many even laughed at my jokes.) We had amazing weather, the restaruants were fantastic and I think I had two of the best nights of sleeps I have had in a long time with the help of some kind of deluxe tempurpedic mattress. I am headed home to finish some work on this week’s junkies materials and looking ahead to a weekend intensive with my friend Mari down in San Marcos.
Mari is an incredible speaker, author and spiritual mentor. She has extensive experience in Jungian-oriented psychology, body-centered inquiry and spiritual practice. She came last year to present in an intenwsive with me and Darren on mythology and she will speak on the wisdom of the body from a yogic perspective, which I am really thrilled about. We have a very awesome group of folks coming in from aroudn the country, many of whom haven’t come to San Marcos before so I am really excoted to share the space and time with them. It’ll be a really intimate gathering which is so rare these days so I am looking forward to being with folks and also getting a chance to be a student of Mari as she teaches. Last year it was awesome.
All right, more soon.
What is this Something More of Which You Speak?
I had a great time in Denver, Colorado this weekend, as usual. I have taught at Practice Yoga and Reiki School several times and it is always awesome to be there. Practice, under the direction of the wonderful and humble, Chris Muchow is a great place to study, to practice and to enjoy the company of other yogi's without any fuss, fanfare and extraneous BS. I always find my time there to be so inspiring but also so grounding because the folks who come to the workshops there seem to be so well-trained, open to learning and dedicated to the practice.
I had a chance to spend the weekend with my friend Laura who is one of my friends from college and so as great as the workshop was it was completely wonderful to be with her, her husband and family and to have a chance to unwind in the company of someone I know so well and with whom I have been friends over many seasons. There really is nothing like long-time friends.
Michelle Marchildon, another good yoga pal recently asked me to write a foreword to the second edition of her book Finding More on the Mat. She and I had a chance to discuss what are we really talking about when we say more, as yogis? (What is this more of which you speak, Michelle?" Certainly more, from a yoga perspective, isn't the more that Madison Avenue spends millions of dollars every year to convince us we need. Certainly, more in yoga is not more money, more fame, more beauty, more things, more acquisitions, etc. (And lest you think I am a renunciate or something like that, let's be very clear I do not think those things are NOT yoga I just do not think they are the point of yoga. Of course, that is another post.)
At any rate, our conversation gave me a springboard for my opening talk on Sunday which you can watch here. (Those of you who have been in workshops with Manorama will also recognize her influence in my talk.)
Like so many things in yoga, more is a bit paradoxical. So many times, we find something inside ourselves in yoga that feels like more and yet it is nothing other than who we have been all along. But having this more as our truth and realizing it, living from it being established in it are different things. So we practice to get reminded, to make the connection to our truth as it exists in potentiality within us and in the our moment-to-moment experiences.
Sunday evening Kelly and I drove over to our cabin in Buena Vista, Colorado to spend a little time in the mountains before heading back to Austin. We are living and working here this week, preparing for Asana Junkies Fall Session that starts Wednesday. I am super excited about it because I have improved upon what was already a great program and created an online resource center for the participants to use that is the best yet. Asana Junkies is an awesome and affordable program with a honor-based sliding scale, or payment tiers. However, some folks have told me that it would help them a lot if they could make payments on the tuition so if you have been on the fence about joining because of the big chunk of money due all at once, just send me an email at email@example.com and we can help distribute the tuition over a longer time period to help the program work with your budget.
Have a great day!
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"There is a light that shines beyond all things on Earth, beyond us all, beyond the heaven, beyond the highest, the very highest heavens. This is the light that shines in our heart."