Sunday, April 5, 2009

Yoga Conference II — A Full Itinerary

A very busy itinerary at the yoga conference brought some interesting insights.

Spent the day Friday at a workshop that explored the idea of balancing effort with ease and strength with flexibility (or 'sthira sukham asanam' according to the Patanali sutra). The entire six hours was spent breaking down the poses in the classical ashtanga sun salutations. The teacher, Natasha Rizopoulos, is a regular contributor to Yoga Journal. She was an ashtanga fiend before she discovered Iyengar later in life, so she combines the two sensibilities in her teaching. Oh yes, and she also graduated magna cum laude with a degree in literature and history from Harvard.

After that class I went to one given by PHD student/neuroscientist Blake Martin about the effects of yoga on the brain and how to apply physics to your understanding of balance in your practise. Blake is also a dancer, Thai masseuse, martial artist and runner.

Later that night it was dancing with a room full of yogis, mostly women, for a full two hours. I took my sweaty body home and had a very sound sleep.

The next day it was back for a two hour class with Rodney Yee and his wife Colleen Saidman to explore the sacrum, another two hours with Natasha on arm balancing, followed by a two hour class with author and Himilayan Institute faculty member Rolf Sovik about meditation and mantra. The day ended with the Krisha Das concert.

I still kept my regular weekly yoga practice date Sunday morning. But thankfully it was a restorative class.

My brain has been humming all day. Physically spent, out of my head. What's left? If you have the answer, let me know because you may just have discovered the meaning of life!

I want to savour some of the lessons learned before I try to articulate them and reduce them to mere words.

Insights into the essential discipline of daily practice, the nature of balance, the value of experience, the importance of getting out of your head, transcending body, the meaning of connection, music as enlightenment....

So over the next few days I will try to digest it and capture bits of it in the blog for my future reference.

For now, though, this phrase to ponder - what does your daily practise serve? Your dharma or your ego?

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