Archive for May, 2013

Political correctness is overrated. A lot of time it just passes for passive aggressiveness so if my blog is too snarky or beating around the bush too much for you, I don’t apologize, it just reflects what I am confronted with pretty much on a daily basis with different parties, at different jobs, at different locations and I even enjoy reading it in blogs. Here is a GREAT one this week from Babarazzi:


I even posted a comment but the best comment is that this is has to be a joke and you are just waiting for them to come out and say JUST KIDDING.

I don’t know. I have been fooled before.

But the past few weeks I have had contact with an unnamed Ashtangi who has pretty much changed my view that all of this is not worthwhile. He has really shifted my way of thinking and made me realize that this is petty and not worth my time and is also helping me find practice that is worthwhile, even though I had to come in to work AGAIN this am and meet up with passive aggressiveness from coworkers. Tsk tsk. One is a yoga teacher too, rolling eyes.

I also am reading a book on how practice transforms. From this writer, Lino Miele, it took him ten years to learn how practice transforms. It did not happen in a week or a month, but he stayed the course and his whole life changed.

And trying not to be a hypocrite is hard. It is hard to look at Babs post and not be snarky. Serious. IT is SO HARD. I have to look sometimes.

But ego, passive aggressiveness, and political correctness get in the way of our practice, even if we are aren’t the ones acting. I am sure that is why home practice is rewarding to some. People standing in the path are all over. A lot of them mean well, but I am not hitching my wagon to a dog and pony show. I am just practicing.

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RF introduced the weekend workshops by announcing that we would be exploring the system of vinyasa, which I think is one of the most confusing terms in yoga today. Vinyasa is often used to indicate a style of yoga, somewhat interchangeable with the term Power Flow as a style. Most teachers teaching this style will say it is movement with breath. As a system, it is derivative of the Ashtanga system as taught by Patabhois Jois.

Right now, there is a lot of discussion over the system from the historical perspective. I will refer you to Grimmlys site who has studied and blogged about this extensively.


Jois, along with Desikachar, Iyengar, and Ramaswami, among a few others, are considered to have brought the teachings of Krishamacharya out of the East and to the West. The teachings of Vinyasa are inherent in all of their teachings, but do not necessarily match up to what the West considers Vinyasa. I would assume a student of Power Vinyasa is not going to recognize what they consider to be Vinyasa in Ramaswami’s teachings of Vinyasa Krama, yet this form is recognizable in the other styles.

So going into this weekend, I already know that the Vinayasa system RF is teaching is within the form of Primary and Intermediate Series of Ashtanga yoga, but the system he brings into Vinyasa includes all of the subtle practices into the physical form.

The Hatha Yoga Pradipika says that the practice of asana is bringing about the union of the prana and apana vayu systems. The union of these systems allows the central channel of shushumna to open, allowing the energy of kundalini to rise through the seventh chakra, which is the eighth limb of samadhi.

In order to do this energy as to go UP. How? Through the bandhas, breath, and drishti. You have to go through a few limbs to get there.

This is probably a little more than you learn in your average yoga class, no matter what “style” or dogma you are attracted to. A lot of teachers know these systems, but the Vinyasa system pulls them altogether. So they are married! (RFs lecture on the marriage of the pubic bone to the coccyx into the marriage bed of mula bhanda while trying to avoid mother in law sacrum is hilarous.) But the point is that all the physical centers have subtle components so when I posted about EXPERIENCE yesterday that is what I meant.

RF says often during workshops, you won’t get this today. The elusive bandhas. I tell students often that teachers will teach and remind you of bandhas often and then one day YOU will experience and that is what it is.

RF pretty much teaches this through the first three movements of Sun Sal As, ekam dve trini. You can go home after that.

I seldom go to a workshop or go through a week of blog reading without coming up with a discussion or lecture on chatarunga dandasana. I think most students and many teachers have a hard time with this pose and this weekend someone asked and RFs answer is that hands next to heart, heart open, shoulder down, and no shoulder blade wings. Also no tilting into the anterior deltoids. Check.

At that point I could have raised my hands and say but sir Gregor Maehle says that the hands are supposed to be lower with elbows over wrist. Which is the correct form?

RF addressed that. This is the first time I heard chataranga distinguished between A and B. According to RF, Krishamacharya devised Chataranga B, the version with hands further back as some sort of torture workout, one your trainer might give you, to hold for a long series of breaths, like maybe 10. Chat A is the Surya Namaskar version to moved into on the exhale from trini, also known as chatrvaari.

I have a few pictures to show but am not feeling that well today. I will upload them tomorrow.

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Frequently I announce my plan of attending Ricahrd Freeman workshops. This weekend I went through round three. Within this experience I try to come to terms with how to share the experience and this weekend tried to come to the same terms with the realization that the experience itself is what Freeman is able to bring forth.

I have gone through these sessions, several of them three times with the same teaching. Richard brings this same material in his workshops but instead of the just teaching the same material over and over as an attendee I understand that the experience is one of reframing pure practice on his part.

RF is relatable because of his practice. He is able to relay the experience of his practice through authenticity. He is trying to relate to the attendee by providing his practice as a teacher AND practitioner. Which is just fucking pure.

If you bring your own dogma to the workshop you will miss out. The first time I took notes. The second time less. This time it was pure practice to me. I see many dogma attendees at this and all workshops. I also see this in classes and among students. So and so said this or I do it THIS way.

If you don’t drop then pretenses you won’t get RF.

One attendee actually asked during Parsvakonasa “well I learned it THIS way at Nancy Gilgoffs workshop”. Stupid bold or leading? RF said well that is POLITICAL question. He also speaks of adherence to fundamentalism in respect to asana and spirituality. We are all fundamentalists off the mat. We all come with experience prejudices and conditioning.

But his gift is bringing experience to the momemnt. If you can let go, do it, feel the luminosity potential in the simplest and hardest poses maybe you can experience the yoga. He uses the word luminous often. He teaches specifics of vinyasa,vayu, and bandhas. Then tells you to forget it. I mean, you have to experience it. I can’t keep explaining my experience.

It is crucially imperative not to move mentally into the next or last pose. RF makes it clear that it is not yoga. He is light, humorous, attainable. He is also dead serious and very clear about the whole thing.

Oh and the subtle practice. That is all there is in RF practice. It is all married together into a package. It is called practice. It is also theory. Minus the dogma. And sex scandals. Pure yoga and luminous.

I get it. And will be back for more.

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I am rereading the Hatha Yoga Pradipika and this path of Hatha yoga is considered to be the path towards the yoga of Patanjali, raja yoga. The path of the practice allows one the attainment of siddhis, or powers. The teaching does warn that the powers are temporary and often will leave the sadhaka on the wrong path towards the ego. On this path, there is no raja yoga.

Lately I am discussing, with two different groups of people, the path of yoga.

In the West, we are immersed in the ideal of yoga form, where the siddhi becomes this:


Obviously temporary and obviously the path to the ego. Recently I had a student who I hadn’t seen for a while ask me to show her how to get in a difficult pose after class, when I had told her months ago she needed to gain strength. It was obvious she was still not ready for the pose. It is difficult for us to hear, as Westerners, or to tell someone this. Most people want to be told that yoga is about empowering them to achieve what they want in the way of form.

Then I have the other group I talk to where we do not discuss this. Um. This is a small group and grows smaller by the day. Most people are much more interested in talking about achieving form then in experiencing the subtle form.

I am looking forward to the workshops with Richard Freeman, because his discussions show they are incorporated and you get one with the other. He discusses the pure experience available in yoga practice. This will be refreshing after the crap of this past week, really which I just hope is over soon, because truthfully I don’t care to hear about it any more.

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I mean what the f is this:

Anyway I would not read this for any reason. What sort of useless drivel is this? Not that I don’t harbor a secret desire to be a personal yoga instructor to a yoga celebrity and write a book and make a lot of money, but as long as this woman has worked with Jen, it hard to find pictures of her doing much asana. She does have great legs:

ja 3


ja 2

She has been doing this a while. I am just saying, but as much as I talk with people about yoga, there are pretty much two paths now in Western yoga, and I am definitely not going down this one. What is so wrong with saying Yoga Philosophy? Why make it cheap or forbidden?

Why are people so determined on keeping this practice at the superficial level?

I am sure Amazon is pleased that I am telling people not to buy books. Um. Okay, buy this one:

Amazon.com Widgets

I have it on preorder. Grimmly has been reviewing it and gave it a thumbs up. I read everything that Grimmly reads. So far I haven’t wasted any time.

Go order that book NOW.

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