the image on top is "Welcome Home Sweet Sugar" by Kelsey Brooks

Monday, May 30, 2011

Marcelyn Cole

Marcelyn Cole's class was the most memorable class I've taken in the past half year. -Bonnie Argo asked that question in my study pod, I thought I'd let it echo in an opening line ; )-

The moment I got out- into the roar of a Chicago thunderstorm no less- I furiously began engraving my experience into writing. I later drowned my dear phone, and so lost the note I had written. Yet the experience was so vivid I think I can get to the heart of it with a recollection.

I was so lucky I came to her class. It was a good karmic decision; I was looking at classes that ran at that time, and it was either take class with the director of YogaView, or with Marcelyn. It seems that I "should" have taken the other class with only three days in Chicago, but see, Moksha plays this fun little trick when they create a promotional video for each teacher. That way, a student gets a little taste...

Brilliant concept. I swear, five seconds into Marcelyn's video, I was caught: I wanted to take her class. I felt that it was the right one for me. It was called "tantric vinyasa".

I fell in love in tadasana. We lifted up onto the balls of our feet, with our gaze down and in front of us, and that began a practice so creative and flowing it vibrated so on the inside as well. Moksha keeps the room warm in the midst of chilly Chicago, a haven that softens your muscles quickly. I started thinking about all the different things I wanted to do, all these ideas rushed into my practice, all these various ways I could go...

This is what I loved about my practice to begin with, before I learned about alignment, before I learned to stay present even (and I don't mean to imply in any way that I wasn't present that class, I was absurdly, emotionally vulnerably present). At first, it was about that magical flow my mind was caught in, the twisting of my negative chitta vritti into optimistic enchantments.

I felt so safe that class.

I felt I could have been anyone, or more importantly, no one at all, and I would have been accepted. It was such a safe space. It was so safe I felt my heart space opening up into its tenderest depths, I started crying just out of the magic of sheer presence, of the wonder of really feeling. [Sometimes, I get like this in my yoga. It's the most powerful practice I've ever discovered, and I really mean that.]

Marcelyn reminded me of what a yoga teacher can be, the kind of magic that he or she can inspire.

We did crow. Anjaneyasana. I don't remember the details, I remember being misty eyed and four years old. There was a point where we formed a mudra where we touched our thumbs and fingers as if we were about to pick up a sheet of paper. A better metaphor, is as if you wanted to make a shadow puppet. And with snakeline movements, we waved our arms up and down in a dance of gratitude.

Marcelyn, thank you so much. Thank you for showing me a class that was so fun and inspiration, also mindful, well-aligned, sequenced and safe. With love, M.

Kim Wilcox

I love Moksha.

The studio feels like a surreal version of kindergarten, one where I am loved and accepted for who I am. The brick walls of my first home and my first yoga studio, recalled as if in a dream into this pristine place.

I practically cross-examined the staff at Lululemon Halsted, and I got a recommendation for Kim's class.

Kim held the room with a tremendous amount of respect, and the one thing I will never forget from her class is the hip opener early on. I am a big fan of sequencing up according to kundalini, even incorporating a 'peak' pose never detracts from this intention. So when I find a more "uplifting" hip opener than half pidgeon (but one that's deeper than warrior II), I am thrilled. Kim's verbal cues were to step your right leg up into a lunge position, then to bring it a little towards the midline. Come onto your back knee, then wrap your right arm under your right thigh and around your right calf, both hands meeting in front of your right ankle (ok, so I forgot the exact cues and I may have defaulted on YTTP speak, for those familiar).

Kim is an intelligent teacher with a wonderful presence, and I joined in on a conversation she was having about the preservation of yoga after class. She definitely is of the strong opinion that the traditional teachings must be taught in their original rigor and state. I am considerably more lenient (I love interpretation, variation, and music, to) but when I see that striving for truth in someone, I feel so intimately connected...She also gave me some good teachers to check out, particularly Tias Little.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Samadhi Newton

Samadhi is run by two therapists: how incredibly is that? I think yoga and therapy must absolutely be blended, and maybe one day I'll even venture into the field myself....

I took John Churchill's class this morning, which was intense not in a "power" way, but intense in Natasha's way, complete calm and mindfulness held just a bit longer than you may desire.

When we went into pigeon, I love how John talked about "parenting yourself"- being there for yourself in uncomfortable situations in a loving and kind manner.

In other words "if your right hip hurts and you wish the pain would just piss off, you aren't being kind to yourself".

I've also taken Nicole's cosmic pulse class, which was SO much fun. Absurdly playful and super healing. I ran into class just on time and joined in the flowing movements. About halfway through, she had us move about the room and interact with the space....everyone there was so open minded, it was safe to express yourself through any movements that came to mind.

Also, the studio runs on wind power, it has a Japanese sand garden at the entrance and a huge, comfortable "living room" with lots of great reading material. It lives up to its name.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

How being Grounded changes Reality

How being Grounded changes your Reality

The thing I took most out of Shiva's training was the way she stood, wide stance about two feet apart. Knees bent and hips flowing, tail tucked and heart opened. The kind of fluid style she taught encouraged the creation of that type of posture, dynamic, more than the creation of a rigid seat. This way, it was yoga for creating states of being, than yoga for creating a perspective.

Yes, it comes out of an ultimate awareness that truly there is only the viewer. In fact, that is the essence that is achieved through the meditation. It just puts in the new dimension of motion. As you move, you get constant feedback. This is true for standing still as well, you get different flows of molecules moving through you, but as you are the mover through these different lightbeams and energy pools (my new age-y metaphors are getting a hold on me, my apologies), you are having different experiences, you are living through different worlds.

So it turns out that the world lived in with legs further apart, knees slightly bent and shifting the weight from one leg to another to find balance...well, it turns out that's an incredibly wonderful world to live in. It didn't begin to hit me until right after the training.

Now, the training itself was ridiculously fun and wonderful. I learned a lot, I got a very interesting and earnest perspective, one that was down to earth and presented in an empathetic and effective manner. I connected with Shiva, particularly when she mentioned her parents' lack of approval of her wanting to be a teacher. I admired the way she treated people, I felt that she was really searching to connect with us all. There was humility and modesty right alongside complete confidence being great. Not being scared to be wonderful critized, or to be admired is phenomenal. Also...Shiva is proud to be the first customer of my raw ashwaganda and maca chocolates! This inspired the name of my new blog, ps: monaandcacao.wordpress.com.

During the trainings I was impressed, but I didn't know how deeply they had hit me until I was fully relaxed and realized I was changing my behavior, all the time, based upon what I had learned. I didn't realize how much it had effected me until afterwards. I stand differently (in my physical body), I feel differently (based on my posture, I am in a different emotional body), and the way I think about reality has fundamentally changed. Additionally I do think I've experienced a slight shift in consciousness, but I always like to think my current self is more enlightened than my past self. It's the intellectual masturbation of the day.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Blogging World

I read this post: http://recoveringyogi.com/one-yoga-teachers-own-manifesto/

It was like a bowl of hot soup for the tremendous confusion I've felt in the past few years...

Justine's Anxiety Workshop

I've finally faced reality and that with almost four posts behind 'schedule', I'm not going to type up these notes. So, instead of watching them degrade into dust bunnies in my closet, I'll immortalize them on the easy-access internet.