Saturday, June 26, 2010

Let's Go Down to the River and Pray

Explored Boulder with my best friend, Gayle, from college who's blessed to live in Denver. (Rated one of the top 10 fittest cities in the US, within a few hours of countless beautiful mountain ranges and don't even get me started on all the amazing yoga there!) Trading places, I took Gayle's Taekwondo class (kicked my tail!) and then I gave the students a yoga class. They had just completed a million (ok, 50) push ups on their fists & drills that had them running around the room striking a paddle, so a slow flow with hip openers and a nice long savasana was best. The energy of the instructor was inspiring. The class was gracious to donate in kind to the Alzehimer's Association. Thank you!!

In Boulder, I took an Anusara-inspired 2 hour class (not even an option in Houston, unless you take a workshop. ) with Livia at OM Time - one of the first established studios here (there are now 18 yoga studios competing within a very small radius of the city). Sequencing built on backbends with variations of Eka Pada Rajokopotasana (EPR). We also did forearm balance and handstand variations with our buttocks on the wall & a deep backbend. Wow- that was really challenging for me- as was the EPR variations. While my hamstrings are remarkably loose, my quads and hip flexors are exceedingly tight. We also did Ustrasana (camel), 4 variations: hands to feet, hands to knees (with backbend, head to floor), alternating arms back, and then one leg. She was fun and playful which a few times got the class a little too talkative but with a quick quip: "notice the urge to talk", we were all back on our mats, focused. ; ) Loved, loved her music.

She closed with an Alison Krauss bluegrass hymn- and sang. After listening a few times our class began to harmonize with her. I don't think I've experienced anything quite like that. Spontaneous. The chorus felt as if it were a warm embrace around us. "As I went down to the river to pray.... Good Lord, show me the way. Oh, brothers lets go down. Come on brothers, let's go down to the river to pray."

She is who she is. I love that quality in a teacher- teaching in a way that is true & honest. In contrast, I took another class, entirely different in Denver, where the instructor, while he delivered a well scripted sequence, was completely devoid of emotion. It felt as if he could do the class in his sleep- his tone and the fact that his class anticipated his every command. To compare them is entirely unfair (not my intent to critique- 'cause Lord knows, I have my good days and bad days teaching) but just a reminder that no matter the class, there is something of value, if only to challenge me to examine myself and my own teaching.




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