Enmeshing yourself in the web

One of my long-time students mentioned that she had been away visiting family, and took a yoga class with a local Anusara-Inspired teacher during her trip, and that she had really enjoyed the class.

Now, I’m sure there are yoga teachers out there who so self-assured that they know that if a student doesn’t show up the next week it is obviously an issue on the students part, but I don’t know if I’d enjoy studying with any of them, personally, because I’m not sure I’d be able to fit in the room with their ego.

No, I think most good yoga teachers–and definitely the ones I hang around with–tend to wonder when someone only shows up once, considering whether there’s something they could have done better, to have taught a more compelling class, to have made someone feel more welcome…even as they acknowledge that many if not most of the students they see they will see only once. A serious yoga practice is a practice of constant self-examination and reflection–you don’t get a free pass just because you’ve started to teach; in fact, just the opposite. So you ponder on the people you only see once.

With this in mind, although I didn’t know this teacher personally, I took a moment to look her up on the Anusara website, and found an address, and emailed her just to let her know that she had made an impression. It took me all of maybe two minutes, I got to brighten someone’s day, and I added another strand in the web of my community.

One of the things I love about the Anusara community is that it aspires to be just that: a community. These ties aren’t ties that bind, they’re ties that lift us up, that make our load lighter.

What we’re really getting at…

I still can’t read this short bit of rumination without feeling shivers down my spine. I can’t speak it aloud without a hitch in my voice. “Go read it all”:http://slacktivist.typepad.com/slacktivist/2009/06/wanderlustwarning-sign.html, and think about how anything–[*anything*]!–can challenge you to dig deeper.

bq. Strip away pretension, propriety, insecurity, fear and the bills you have to pay.

Addressing the New York Times article about John Friend

The New York Times Magazine has a profile of John Friend “up on the web”:http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/25/magazine/25Yoga-t.html (and presumably soon in print). As an Anusara-Inspired yoga teacher, who has met and studied with John many times, I was interested to read it.

Overall, I thought the piece was pretty good.

Most of the things that Ms. Swartz writes about John–and yes, everyone in the Anusara community calls him John; it seems like name-dropping until you meet him, and then it seems pretty natural–ring true to me. But not all.

I’ve attended 8 events with John, and while I certainly agree that he has his groupies, I’ve never seen anyone attempt to give him their hotel room key, which the article succeeds in making sound like a commonplace occurance.

I also diagree with the characterization of John as “an easygoing guy with an easygoing yoga — except when it comes to business.”

If you go to an Anusara Teacher Training with John, you will understand that he’s not really all that easygoing. His expectations of his teachers–especially of the Certified Teachers, but of anyone who is attending one of his teacher trainings–are very high.

He wants the people he trains to be teachers to be the best of the best.

I would be interested to have gotten more of the context surrounding Judith Lassater’s comments; they seem very negative, but I wonder if there was more to them that made a different point. I also wonder if they were specifically directed at John or were just about the commercialization of yoga in general.

Incidentally, that John draws a salary of $100K a year doesn’t bother me one bit. John’s been teaching professionally for a quarter of a century, and is internationally prominent. Prominent enough, in fact, to get profiled in the New York Times Magazine. I put to you the question: in what other profession in this culture would that salary be considered excessive for someone in his position?

Sent off my application…

…and there’s no reason for me to believe that, after some short amount of time for processing, I won’t be able to stick “RYT”:http://yogaalliance.com/ after my name.

Amusingly–perhaps amazingly, considering the industry I work in and its obsession with credentials–the only other such thing I’ve ever done is my college degree.

Our new yoga room!

So, nearly a year ago, I moved out of my office above the garage–our “bonus room”–and took over the bedroom that had previously been Anne’s office. This fairly torturous process happenned because we were going to make the room over the garage a dedicated yoga space.

Well, after much foot-dragging and slow-moving, it’s done. Thanks to my parents, who (in April) got us over the initial hump of doing *something*–specifically, taking down the hideous wallpaper.

Thanks to our friends Deb and Toby, who helped us scrape a substantial portion of the hideous, ghastly, wretched textured wallpaper that had been put on the ceiling. When we realized that it was wallpaper, Anne and I both agreed, “It’s got to go.”

And finally, thanks to Al and Enrique, who we finally hired to finish the job. They worked tirelessly (but quickly) and transformed it from the modest-at-best space that you can kind of discern in the first picture into the beautiful, peaceful space that it is now.