In an absolute windfall of awesomeness, I have been picked up by another yoga studio, and have brand new classes at all three that I am working with!
On my home page, all details will be listed, but in short, I have the following in September:
Mondays at 10 am, Yoga Basics at Willow Glen Yoga
Tuesdays at 7 pm, Vinyasa for All at Downtown Yoga Shala
Wednesdays at 10:45, Full-Figured Yoga at Almaden Yoga (a 4 week series beginning 9/14)
Thursdays at 6:30 am, a refreshing dose of Vinyasa at Willow Glen Yoga
What luck, right?!? I hope to see some (oh, heck, all of you!) there sometime. If you have questions, please email me.
On to weightier matters, recently I read Yoga Beyond Belief by Ganga White, and honestly, I think it may be one of my most favorite reads ever, and definitely at the top of the list for yoga and mind/body books in general. One of the many quotes in this work that I liked follows.
Advancing in yoga is more related to refining than to attaining. If you want to know if you are advancing in yoga, ask yourself these questions: Am I gaining greater understanding of my body? Am I learning how to heal myself? Am I learning subtler and different ways of using the poses and how each asana affects the body to produce different results…Am I beginning to get some control of my own autonomic nervous system and some of the unconscious processes of the body? Am I less rigid in my beliefs and less fixed in particular systems and structures? Am I alive and awake in my practice, constantly questioning and willing to vacate my position–figuratively and actually? Am I questioning, not only of others but of myself? Is my mind becoming more open, compassionate, more peaceful? (White, Ganga Yoga Beyond Belief: Insights to Awaken and Deepen your Practice Berkeley: North Atlantic Books, 2007)
One person may not feel all of these shifts all in one go, but you might get a taste of them. Often, we focus so much on the “progress” of the asana, which, let’s face it–it’s a clear measurement, but we forget all the intangible benefits of yoga.
When I was a much, much, younger woman, I came out of a very bad relationship. It was all the dysfunction, without any of the “fun” in it. Having come out of a chaotic home life, into a relationship with a very unpredictable man for the formative years of my adulthood 5 of them!), I craved stability of any stripe. The man and I separated, and consequently, I was easy pickings for a very strict religious sect in which I attempted to live “by the rules” for the next 5 years of my life. Eventually, this led to a real disconnect for me that was absolutely shattering. When I picked up the pieces again of my life, I made this my litmus test for religion and philosophy: does it make me kinder? If it doesn’t make me a kinder person, it is not the place for me.
Look through that list above, and honestly, if you love yoga, read the whole book. It isn’t a hard read at all. But, is your practice making you kinder? Is it making you more open? Compassionate? Self-aware? Peaceful? Are you coming to greater self-knowledge? Are you sensitive to your flesh and subtle bodies?
It’s a great thing to burst through into a new asana. It really is. But, it isn’t the only measure of progress. Drop a line in the comments to let me know how yoga has affected you.