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March 4, 2012

If you are obsessed with the Ashtangophere, you may well be aware that a certain well-known Certified teacher and her slightly less well-known Authorized husband periodically run week-long workshops in which the two of them teach Mysore style classes and afternoon workshops to only 12 students at a time. Naturally, these things book well in advance. So when, a solid year ago, I saw a Facebook update indicating space in one of these workshops, I called Miami Beach immediately and booked myself a spot.

In the ensuing year, stuff happened. Lots of it. Injuries, teacher training, a realization or two, physical therapy, osteoarthritis, a teacher shuffle at my home studio, and an unexpected gig teaching vinyasa yoga. All of these things chipped away at my relationship with Ashtanga for 12 long months, until one day I found myself getting on a plane to go spend a week with two top teachers. Ashtanga teachers.

I began the workshop feeling like this was some sort of couples’ retreat for me and my Practice; this was our last chance to save the marriage. I was fully prepared for the possibility that this might be the end of my Ashtanga practice, half expected it really. That’s how convinced I was these things that were holding me back were real and permanent.

A good teacher (or two) makes all the difference.

It worked. I’ve spent the last week thinking about how much I wanted to blog about the experience – I learned a lot and certainly have had some long conversations about what went on and how I felt about it. In the end, though, none of it is the end, and I don’t feel ready to share it openly. I will say the following, though:

  • My backbends are a completely different animal. I’ve never worked so hard for them, nor have they ever felt so productive. Physically and emotionally, I feel like I’m getting something out of my back bending practice every morning. I look forward to it. I dread it. But it’s worth it every time, and I’m not in pain when it’s over, not even in my untrustworthy right SI joint.
  • I am enjoying my practice again. Not every moment of it of course – that’s not the point. But I’m not bored, and more importantly, I’m not in pain. I’m still doing a couple of vinyasa practices here and there, because it’s a necessity to teach (and let’s face it, there’s a whole world of standing hip openers out there, and some of them are really quite delicious), but I don’t mind stepping on my mat a few times a week to just let the series take over.
  • I need a teacher who knows when I’m bullshitting myself. Someone who’s hard on me when I’m faking and compassionate when I’m scared. And I need someone who implicitly understands that I will do what you tell me to, but you have to be willing to explain what I’m doing (and maybe even why).
  • You go to her for philosophy and to him for asana. Which is just exactly the opposite of what I expected.

More to come… or maybe not.

One Comment leave one →
  1. March 4, 2012 8:47 pm

    Love it.

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