Well, here I am, checking in from Buena Vista, Colorado on the first leg of what I am calling my Colorado Junket. I have always objected to describing my travels as “tours” as it always sounds a bit pompous or whomped up for my taste and for my actual experience of what it is like to pack a suitcase and go away from home to teach yoga. For other people, tour is the most natual word in the world to use so I do not mind that they use it I am simply saying for me, that word is not a fit. (And if I start naming tours we know we are in trouble but that is another story for another day!) I think of what I do more as “taking a trip” or in this case a “going on a junket.” And while junket refers to something more frivolous than what we might actually be up to on this trip, still it seems a fitting and appropriate reminder to have a good time while on the road.
And as far as having a good time goes, Colorado is a pretty easy place for me to do just that. The people are nice, friendly and generally down-to-earth. The land is breathtakingly beautiful with an abundance of opportunites for rest, relaxation and activity on land or on/in water. And as hot as it tends to be in Texas this time of year, getting to the mountains in June where spring has just begun is lovely to be sure.
Kelly and I got to Buena Vista yesterday and found to our amazing delight that our host arranged for us to stay the weekend in this incredible log cabin with an awesome view. The picture above is the view from my morning hot tub soak. Not only do we have this great place to stay but Jenna has assembled a big group of yogi’s from around Colorado for the workshop this weekend. I am really excited to be here and to meet all the folks who are coming for the workshop. Jenna and I have been planning this weekend for almost 2 years now and now the time is here. I remember meeting Jenna when she was first opening her studio and she has been coming to my workshops and intensives over the last three years as her studio has been growing and coming into the vibrant community that it is today.
Lately, I have been thinking about how fun it is to watch all of my friends and students grow and develop and hone and refine their offerings these days. Certainly doors open and close at different times for each of us but one thing about practicing and teaching over a long period of time is that I get to watch the changes not only in my life, but in my students lives as well. And over the last few months I have noticed that a lot of my long-term students are really doing some cool things and it is a great feeling to be part of those developments in some way.
Of course, when we look at the big picture we can see that as a community of practitioners we actually represent a pretty accurate cross-section of life expereince, both wonderful and difficult, both thrilling, terrifying, sublime and mundane. Health comes and goes, financial solvency cycles for many, marriages begin and end, children are born, lives end naturally and tragically, people relocate, fall in love, break up, get new jobs, get fired, embark on new ventures, and so on. Meanwhile, we do the postures, we watch our breath, we consider the Teaching: we practice.
Someone asked me the other day if I thought enlightenment was possible and I said, “Sure.” And then they asked me about something else. They didn’t ask me if I cared about enlightenment. They certainly didn’t ask me how I think it relates to sadhana and the choice to engage a set of practices in one’s life. They didn’t follow up and discuss with me whether or not I thought the average person’s practice of asana would effectively work as an “enlightenment technology” nor did we discusss whether or not said enlightenment would result in someone actually being a nicer person, according to any conventional standard. Nor did they ask me if I practiced for enlightenment.
All those questions might actually be the more interesting conversation because honestly, my asana practice and various other practices are more about training myself toward a body of habits that make my current life one of dignity and self-respect, not about preparing me for some final state or for some after-life kind of scenario where I am finally “off the wheel”,"removed from suffering," etc. And for the record, I suppose I do believe all that “off the wheel of samsara” stuff is true and so forth but it’s just not that inspiring to me in terms of my daily schedule and daily life choices. What is inspiring for me is looking at life and all it brings with it as an opportunity in which and through which to learn about what it means to be fully human and to engage the process of growing up with clarity and wonder. And practice definitely helps me with that endeavor.
At any rate, it seems to me that these ups and downs are simply life’s givens and any spiritual path that tells me that I can affirm my way out of suffering or goal-set my way beyond dispointment or pray my way out of paying my dues and so on is of little use to me these days. More on this later for sure.
And my junket will be great: I’ll teach all weekend in Buena Vista and then head to Denver on Tuesday. I will do my Asana Junkies Practice at Practice Yoga Studio on Wednesday and then head to Bounder on Thursday for the Hanuman Festival over the weekend.
Here is a link to a fun promo video Kelly made from the first Asana Junkies Sequence we ahve worked with this summer. Enjoy!
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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."