I am writing this piece on my way home from an incredible week in Tucson. And even as I write that tonight I am thinking to myself that “wow, how many times do I take a trip and open this blog by saying just that, or something exactly like that?” (“It was awesome.” “The students were amazing.” “My host was stellar.” And so on. I mean, really. You know. You read the blog, after all.)
So look-- here is the thing. Every weekend I go somewhere new or somewhere I have been before and it is always awesome. It is actually always awesome in some way. I mean honestly, that I have a job doing what I do pretty much defines Awesome in my book. I go from one place to the next where I meet and interface with one amazing person after the next. And that is not just some kind of marketing, blog-based, BS. I actually find myself in my own life these days noticing my good fortune and enjoying the work I do in so many ways. So that part is for real. And, for the record, I didn’t always see it that way. I haven’t always felt the Awesome. That is another blog for another day but true story--I didn’t always feel the Awesome.
And while I am in a truth-telling mode, let me also say that it is not always great in every moment or anything like that. Many times, planes are delayed, dinner is later than I wish, the workshop didn’t doesn’t go as I planned, I don’t sleep well or fill-in-the-blank about some other first-world problem that occurs in the course of my travels and teaching work.
Truth be told, I suffer all kinds of philosophical upheavels around the work also. I mean here I am, teaching what might just be one of the most sophisticated subjects around-yoga, that is- in 75-minute to 3-hour chunks of time to people dressed for gym class with no required reading lists, no required homework, no tests, no objective measurements for success and no clear requirements for advancement.
And it’s worse than that, actually. I dabble (more than dabble, truth be told) in helping poeple learn to teach said sophisticated subject to others. I am part of turning other people just like me loose on the world to teach said sophiscated subject in health clubs, spas, library basements and yoga studios around the world. There is some Buddhist teaching I heard one time about the karma of being a teacher. The point was that if, as a practitioner, you make a mistake, it is your mistake. But if you are teacher the mistake is visited on your students. And so if you are a teacher of teachers, just think of the implications... Oy vey.... It is enough to keep a teacher in bed some mornings for fear of making a mistake!
So really, when say it is awesome, it is not some kind of Pollyanna persepctive of it’s-all-good and so on. I feel quite in the middle of a full-spectrum endeavor that is difficult, rewarding, catpivating, consuming, frustrating, elevating, inspiring and while certainly rich and rewarding is also ass-kicking and humbling in equal measure.
So, having said all that- Tucson was really awesome. I taught a course on Light on Yoga that I call Cracking the Code. It is an outgrowth of my work with students in teacher training using Light on Yoga as a resource for pose knowledge and clarity that then become the bedrock or foundation for sequencing strategies. Over the years, I have gotten a kind of reputation for “being good at sequencing” and so I get invited to teach on that subject a lot. After teaching a multitiude of courses on sequenceing, I found that when I try to teach sequencing to groups of teachers the invariable block we run up against is a lack of understanding of the poses themselves and how they relate to one another. And for me, Light on Yoga happens to be an incredible resource of understanding the postures and how they relate to each other.
But, here is the thing- the book is a bit daunting and hard to understand. The order and logic is not obvious at first glance. The layout is not inviting. The poses make little sense at first and are not pictured in modififed or accesible variations. And so on.
All that to say, I developed a course called Cracking the Code to theoretically and experientially invite people into a living relationship with Light on Yoga. And that is what we worked with in Tucson. So that part was awesome. The content was fantastic. (If I do say so myself and it is my blog so well, I am saying so!)
But what was really awesome was that many of the people who came to the intensive were long-time students from the last 5-6 years of workshops I have given with Darren at Yoga Oasis. So the depth of understanding, acceptance and rapport is unparalleled as we have invested so much time, energy and love, passion and time in our relationships with each other. And then there were the students of those students in the room which is so wonderful and unique. And then there were so many on-line students in attendance who have worked with me on Yogaglo, through multiple webinars and many of whom knew each other through Asana Junkies. Many of us weathered the Anusara storms and are still rolling out our mats together and exploring the teachings together and evolving the conversation from a shared body of knowledge into new frontiers of experience and insight. So for many reasons and in many ways, the group assembled was very meaningful to me and reflected a meeting of minds and hearts that was strong, potent and dare I say it, smart about yoga.
By smart I mean, not just well-studied, but reflective, discerning, honest, outspoken and inquisitive. And these days, that is the edge I want to be on. I am not so thrilled about the edge of deeper poses although I keep working those on my mat. And as a teacher I am happy to shed what insight I have about all that to the inquiring minds in front of me. And as a student I love to make breakthroughs. But what just knocks my socks off these days isn’t the poses. What is interesting to me is the quality of inquiry that happens in and through the poses in our own practice and in our shared experiences that can hold both agreement and disagreement, that honors the process of how we look into and question what we know, not just the race to a definitive answer. I am very interested in growing conscious about our context as learners and practitioners and I am very interested in any discussion that intelligently explores the boundaries, not of right and wrong, but of how we learn, how we know, how what we know changes and how we transform as our ways of knowing shift and expand.
It was a wonderful week with wonderful people. So many great teachers took time out of their lives to learn for the sake of learning and growing and being able to serve others as a result. So amazing. No certifications were offered, no designations were there to be had and and no continuing ed credits were collected and turned in. There we were, just looking at a book and looking at how we were looking at a book and being together in the process. Heaven for a yoga geek like me.
So for me, yes, it really was amazing. (even though I say that after every trip.)
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