Ashtanga Confluence – Day 4

7:00 am

Guided Primary Series with Nancy Gilgoff.  Very cool.  She always starts with a little discussion.  That’s kinda nice.  No surprises.  No false expectations.  This is what we’re doing and why.  Curiously, I haven’t done 5 Surya Namaskara B’s in a row all week.  In mysore style, I did 4 because I was tired/lazy…ok, just lazy.  Since then, I’m not sure if the count is off our if it’s just 5 and 4 instead of 5 & 5…I don’t know.  Four sounds good to me.

Somewhere in the middle of practice I started channeling the old yogis in the videos from the ’30’s.  Instantly in the pose, no thought, no stress.  Just breathing.  Nice!  Even did chakrasana, well, a few times…then, I started thinking about asking David or Shelly to show me that assist…oops lost the practice.  Back to the breath.

People are so much nicer today.  Daily practice is the best!

Nadine!

I turn around and see two people I don’t recognize (what else is new). I don’t have the excuse of face blindness (Prosopagnosia).  I just remember everything about people except their faces and names.  I’m working on it.

Someone told me your name is Nadine

My city-girl angst is on morphine after all these good vibes and yoga over the last two days.  I can’t even manage an eyebrow twitch.

The It’s Yoga connection…Larry is everywhere!

11:00 am

Trying not to think about checking out, driving home, blah, blah, blah…but, it’s there.  It’s nice to hear what everyone has to say about yamas and niyamas.

Funny how we all hear and repeat the same thoughts within the yoga community but it can seem fresh.  My ears may be a little more open to some things today and closed to others.  But, repetition is good.  And, as usual, the stories are funny.

1:00 pm

Packing up, checking out, lost my car keys, found my car keys, finished checking out and coffee…very weak coffee served by a very sweet woman.

3:00 pm

Yoga in every day life.  Talking about taking it of the mat always means less to me than seeing examples of it in the real world.  Maybe that’s why I like asana, it’s more action than talk.

The questions were routine.  How do I keep a daily practice while working 50-60 hrs a week, etc.  The answers reconfirmed my personal impressions of the master teachers and the practice.  The range went from “maybe you shouldn’t work 60 hrs a week” to “don’t worry about it, your yoga can be in different forms every day”.  Love it!

As we got closer to 5pm, a joyous melancholy came over the group.  It reminds me of kids who know the day at he beach is over but they don’t want to go home yet.   Can’t this last forever?  More people getting choked up and several sniffles in the group but it had to end.

The organizers did an awesome job.  I don’t think too many people could have made this happen.  Now, I’m choked up….

5:30pm

Back on i5 for the long drive home.  Left my Wallet in El Segundo playing in the background.  I wonder what time the best taco place in the world closes on Sundays?  7pm?   8pm?  Let me speed up a little.

Mmmmmmmm…tacos!

Ashtanga Confluence – Day 3

 

7:00am:

The day started with a guided Primary with Tim Miller.  For the first time, I gave an evil eye to someone who came in during the chant!  What’s up with that???  Shrug…on to yoga.  Just move and breathe.

11:00 am

Slight nap and then Intro to 2nd series with Nancy.  I’ve had a total girl-crush on Nancy for-well-EVER.  What kinda bad-ass chick can run off to India with a bunch of dudes in the early 70’s and do yoga?  (probably a lot BUT it’s still pretty bad-ass).  Ashtanga can drip with testosterone and ego at any given time.  She’s a reminder for me to keep it femme in the best way.

    

Speaking of drip…during uplutihi, a guy across from me looked like he was floating above a reflective pool.  My mat was wet but the sweat raining from his shorts to the shimmering wet mat was mesmerizing.  I had to come down to get a pic.  Not sure that it came out well but, I had to try!

3:00 pm

Finishing the day with a talk on Ganesh and Hanuman with Tim and Eddie.  MC Yogi is all well and good for later tonight but, based on the chanting we just did, this ain’t the grooviest group.   I didn’t mind the soul patch on the tablas player until I realized that was the most soul in the room.  Like I’ve written before, bhakti can be like a Lutheran Choir in a Minnesota winter or a Baptist Choir Competition in Atlanta during summer.  Both are fine expressions to the divine but I, personally, prefer to rock it.  I see tablas…I wanna move!  Is that ego??

The key point I’ve gotten out of today is the difference in teaching styles amoung the 5 master teachers here.

Tim moves quickly.  His self-declared shyness manifests itself as a short and sweet style of teaching.  No doubt his practice is similar.  Nancy is strict about teaching from her experience.  She started with few people in the room, one pose at a time and that’s what she teaches.  No step by step instructions, no modifications.  You’re either in the pose or you’re not.

Eddie is still mysterious to me.  He has definitely cultivated that cool New Yorker vibe.  Sometimes to a fault….  I’ll get to know him better in my practice/studies sometime in the future.

I dig Richard!  That man personifies cool.  The hair.  The posture.  The eyebrows.  Intellectual style is always the best.  When you’ve got THAT kind of steez, you don’t need to move quickly.

But, of course, David is my fav by far.   Laid-back trickster…my inspiration!

The stories they all share are great.  I don’t have that knowing nod when they name certain streets or shops in Mysore.  But, David’s joke about ice in India (frozen amoeba!) resonates very well.

What I love most is they way each shared a little about their own practice and experiences with PJ.  Everyone who’s met him and most who haven’t have a great story to tell about the practice.  We all can’t tell a great story about being broke in So Cal with Guruji in ‘77, who didn’t speak English, in the back seat while getting pulled over by cops (Tim) or Guruji’s answer to a woman who was overwhelmed about all of the trouble in the world:  “Let the world take care of itself, you take care of your own anus” (Eddie).  And, many, even funnier others.

But, we can all tell great, funny or not so funny stories about the first time on the mat, the best class ever, the last headstand held.

That’s one of the great ties that binds us all together in the practice.  We have a common uniqueness in our experience.

And ultimately, that’s all it is.  Get on the mat, move a little and breathe.

Sore, tired and even happier…chai then sleep.   Mmmmmmm chai…zzzzzz