Ashtanga Yoga Confluence…take 2!

It was another long drive down to Sunny-D (aka San Diego) for the Ashtanga Yoga Confluence.  I thought it was going well.  I took my time down and even planned on stopping by Bryan Kest’s studio for a little flow before the Confluence.  Then, I found myself on the 405 yelling at a CHP who was creating a traffic break.

“You SOB!  You’re gonna make me late for yoga!”  Is that a good start to this weekend?


Well, I never made it above the Radio Shack that day…but I did end up getting tacos in Boyle Heights…mmmmTacos!

I got lost on the way down.  That happens when I don’t print out directions.  I have no idea how I ended up on the UCSD campus but the view from my room the next morning made up for the crazy drive.  Left My Wallet in El Segundo…still playing in my head.


Overall, the vibe was a little more calm.  There was a kinetic energy last year.  It was the first.  There was so much anticipation.  This year, things were a little quiet.  Sometimes relaxed, sometimes eerie.  There’s a lot going on with the politics of Ashtanga right now.  I don’t know what will happen to the community but I know that the yoga will survive.  As usual.

Seeing David and Shelly, Tim, and Nancy in one place is awesome.  Getting to know the history of Ashtanga (albeit short), and how each person teaches the same tradition a little differently, but with no less purity, is fascinating.  I took a led class with Dena Kingsberg.  I didn’t know her at all, so i figured I should try it out.  Eddie Stern totally redeemed himself with me.  Or maybe, I was more receptive.  Last year, I walked away thinking he was an asshole.  Seriously.  This year, he still held that energetic space, the way that New Yorkers do, but there was a serene base that wasn’t there before.


The crowds, the chaos, the familiar faces, the new friends…always very cool.


Next year, the Confluence moves to New York….field trip!

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!


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….


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.