I am home from a week-long trip to Texas to teach at Wanderlust Austin in Austin, TX and to help Dad move to Waco. Dad's move is the big news in our family life. After being here for three years, he decided to move to Texas to live closer to Anne and to be near some resources he may need as he need as he ages. It is a big transition for everyone and the move went as well as could be expected. His new place is beautiful-- located a few doors down from Anne's Waco residence, many Baylor faculty members and friends, and close to the church he plans to attend.
The weekend workshop at Wanderlust Austin went well with lots of students I have never met and many I have known for years. I hope to get a little more time than I have this morning to unpack some of my insights from the weekend, the November Intensive in Colorado and my time in Tucson before that. One common theme in each worksop has been the consideration of maturing in practice.
I define practice as those actions we repeatedly make to participate consciously in the process of Self-remembering. For many people the initial foray into practice is a process of learning new things, going along with recommendations, taking advice, following protocols, and getting integrated into a community. Over time, the process of sifting through the information, making more adult choices about what to disregard and what to include comes (often after a period of upset, disillusionment, etc.) and we learn to consciously participate in the process that is transforming us.
I am passionate about the shift from what I think of as passive studentship--waiting for the teacher to say all the right things, to give all the right cues, to create the best sequences (although, to be clear, as a teacher I am committed to doing a good job) to what I think of us as active, adult studentship. Active, adult studentship is collaborative between teacher and student, between the student and the teachings and between the individual and the community in which we practice.
I recently peeked in on a Facebook thread from a seasoned student who was upset that the teacher in whose class she was practicing got upset when she modified a posture and did her own thing for a while. On another thread in the same group, there was a long discussion about what one should do as a student if they needed alternative alignment (such as feet slightly turned out to adjust for a variation in their knee) and the teacher kept insisting they turn their feet straight ahead in classic alignment. And, most of us have been been considering touch, consent and the sticky wicket of hands-on adjustments as of late.
There are a lot of nuances and needs inherent in each situation that are too numerous to name this morning and yet, I am struck by the differences in how I handle those things now compared to how I was trained to deal with them over twenty years ago. Somewhere along the way, I started asking students, "Hey, are you turning your feet out for a reason?" before adjusting them verbally or otherwise. And sometimes the reason is "I had no idea I was doing that" and sometimes the reason is "Yes, because I need this for a structural reason" and sometimes the reason is "I learned it that way" and so on. (And, as a student, I always let my teacher know if I am hurt, tweaky or worried about some type of posture. )
At any rate, that little pause and question has been a revelatory unfolding in my teaching life, allowing me to enter into a dialogue with my students which empowers us both to participate consciously in the teacher-student relationship and saves me the nightmare that comes from assumption-making. None of what I describing is easy, nor has the process of my own maturation in practice, studentship and teaching been smooth. Anyone who knows me knows that I am full of fire, opinions, and perspectives and no one formula works all the time, no matter how sincere the players.
More on these considerations soon.
If you are still reading this entry, then here is my shameless plug for my upcoming program. This program is designed to help support you through the holidays with simple, short, effective means to stay in touch with yourself. Each week, you will get a mantra practice, a breath practice, a writing practice, a visualization practice and an asana practice-- each under 15 minutes and recorded for download. Its a great way to stay connected to yourself throughout the upcoming season so if you feel to busy to do it, that's the best sign that it might be a good thing to do.
Anyway- we start Monday, so sign up!
Off to move some boxes and move some furniture.
“The 15 minutes of practice that you do is better than the 2 hours that you do not do.”
- Christina Sell
Begins November 25
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Join Christina Sell for a 6-week journey of practice designed to help you stay sane, centered, and connected to Source through the holiday season. Created as an experiential foray into inner practices, this course will give you simple, effective techniques you can fit easily into your busy life. Each week, you will get recordings of mantras, breath techniques, writing exercises, visualizations and asana routines that you can download, use and keep forever. All under 15 minutes, these short practices are for anyone interested in expanding their life of practice beyond a yoga mat. There is a Q&A forum on an online classroom as well as a private Facebook group available for those who are interested in community interaction, networking and continued conversation.
The course begins November 25, with the week of Thanksgiving and continues through January 5 to take you through the holidays and into the New Year, riding the momentum of intention and the power of practice.
What you get:
Christina recognizes that financial resources vary considerably and the holidays, in particular, hold financial stress for many of us. The following tiered pricing scale is an attempt to help overcome these disparities and make the practice available to as many people as possible. Please chose the tier that is right for you. If additional assistance is required, please contact Christina directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
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