asana junkies day 4: the waterfall


San Marcos, TX; Asana Junkies; Christina Sell; day 4

three ladies on the road again! back to San Marcos for the last day of the workshop with the car packed to the brim… yeah, we’re ladies… and Miss Tanya and I plan to leave after the workshop.  the mood is happy and chit chatty.  Miss Tanya drives in her pretty pink shirt with fancy cuts in the back of it, Miss Christine rocking her new white Lulu pants, and I’m sporting my new pale green Lulu pants (yeah Outlet Store!)

Today is full spectrum… can you feel the excitement?!

morning chanting, pranayama, and meditation. tea time.

asana practice with Miss Christina Sell 10am-2pm!  standing sequence very similar to yesterday. challenging and sweaty. so good. i appreciate and loathe the repetition all at once. it’s good for me. my anticipation and dread is something i can work with in a valuable way that can translate into life, for when i anticipate and/or dread something I can bring myself into the moment, feel my breath and just do it anyway, with experiential faith that good will come from it. also, repetition grants us the opportunity to have a marker, a gauge by which to observe progress, which bestows upon us a sense of accomplishment.  years ago I was in a webinar with Christina Sell and she talked about the value of a sense of accomplishment, and how ultimately little steps (like the waterfalls one at a time!–see below) overcomes fear, builds confidence in oneself and fosters a sense that the success can be repeated. it was so with the waterfalls today and it was so in our rad sequence over the past four days.

today i felt the best of all of the days. my shoulders finally felt open! everything felt so good, hard, but so good. we were all drenched in our own sweat, working diligently and wholeheartedly. there was a section of the class after handbalancings that Miss Christina offered us the opportunity to play with whichever backbends we wanted, any of them. I am grateful for Miss Christine Lee’s willingness to help me work on my Rajakapotasana. it’s the hardest backbend for me right now. I struggled hard with it the previous day and broke down in tears. Kapotasana used to be like that for me. practicing it sent my back into spasm and i’d fall to the floor sobbing.  remembering how horrible kapotasana used to feel and acknowledging that I can do it now helped me feel optimistic and willing. Christine sweetly reminded me how the body stores emotions and it’s just another layer where they’re stored. we worked on it several times together, and there’s no way to make it easy, no props that help me get it, using the wall didn’t help. there’s just grunt work of working diligently in the pose and then the sticker of it all, is in the midst of it all with everything, i have i to practice letting go, surrendering it all, my ego, my striving, my sadness, my high expectations, in the physical form of letting my heart soften, to use the classic Anusara saying. the two are mutually exclusive: over-striving and a soft heart. so there’s my work. … soften…  and keep practicing. practice with persistence and devotion… Miss Sienna Smith from San Francisco shared what she gained in the closing circle (to summarize), “practice, patience, play.”  i recognize that along with the will required to get on your mat with regularity there’s a softening necessary in your heart which comes from an energetically different fierceness of will… a passionate willingness to soften (yoga embraces the paradox– to be strong and soft, to engage and let go)… after working on Rajakapotasana for (what felt like) many many times Christina chimed in just in time, saying something to the eftect of, “after working on something that’s hard for you, give yourself a pose you like to do. play.”

… …

and i ate the river for lunch! or rather the river almost swallowed me! tanya, christine and i went to the San Marcos River near the studio. what a treat! it seems to be the thing to do on the weekends there. turns out Miss Christine used to be a synchronized swimmer and a lifeguard, so she loves the water and skillfully insisted i get in, and then with her slyness, she managed to get me to go down the waterfall slide. she’s good! this woman is a leader! last time i was in the San Marcos river I got pulled under after the first waterfall and panicked (that’s the part that messes everything up), and a nice man helped me out. apparently I stored that experience away, and this trip it came out in the form of resistance. just like a skillful yoga teacher or a loving mother, she built my confidence one baby step at a time. stage one , into the water! it was cold, but so refreshing after this morning’s intense practice and the warmth of the day. step 2, first waterfall, step 3 first and second waterfall without stopping (i sort of failed, but still succeeded because i went down both with just a breath-catching break in between. just like success in working on an asana isn’t dependent on whether you achieve the final form, but whether you apply yourself fully, do what you know how to do with sincerity. full form of the pose might happen tomorrow or the next day, or never. but truly, as many of my wise teachers have said, it’s not about the pose…. and yet of coarse it absolutely is about the pose…. it’s the point and not the point all at once. … –wow this is a tangent… stay with me, we’re going places– so that you did not “get” the pose, doesn’t mean you failed. one of my other teachers said, “success is progress.” or “progress is success.” maybe it was Ulla Lundgren. that i made it down the first waterfall, freaked out and didn’t die (well, to be honest, there was a large, elephant of a man perfectly planted at the end of waterfall one, right before i got sucked into waterfall two. i reached out and grabbed him. he was like an anchor! he saved me from panic or drowning), gave me willingness to try it again. i caught my breath and went down number two. — this is a long story– we went back around and did all three and i did stop in between each one, but i went down all three, and yeah, there did just happen to be another large man in just the perfect spot for me to latch on to! as always, i’m taken are of!

(cheesy song starts playing in the background: ” i get by with a little help from my friends…”)

on the road again adventure minus one musketeer! miss tanya and i are now in the Town & Country Motel in Fort Stockton, Texas. big day. only 9 more hours to drive tomorrow.

woke up, threw a hat on, hit up breakfast, and Tucson here we come!







the whirlwind

tuesday 4.16.13

(i apologize in advance, as this one is a little abstract)


lies or no lies… poetry is pretty…

i remember one time, a wise person said, sometimes lies are ok if they’re in service of a bigger truth. that is of course paraphrased in my own words… something to the effect of how if the lie is teaching bigger truths, it’s fine. i can’t remember the skillful articulation of it though…

lines… all the lines…

and man, it’s really all just lines.

even the truths. isn’t it all just lines?

we’re in a big play, simply playing our roles, reading our lines, whether we like it or not! so often we are just seemingly “stuck” in our roles, reading our lines, and yet, “wait a second, how did i get stuck playing this character? and how can i get out of this character?! excuse me! director! eh hem! hello?! can i switch characters please?! yeah, that’d be great, thanks…”

one of my teachers, D.R.Butler says, “every moment we create ourselves, and in every moment we can reacreate ourselves all over again.” (yeah, it’s on a yellow post-it note on my bathroom mirror)

it sounds so simple. and yet, like so many profound truths, the simple is not so easy. and there’s a song there…

(a cheezy one of course, you may not know, good ol’ ani difranco sings, “Would you prefer the easy way? No, well ok then, don’t cry. whoa….” (it’s very pretty)

the easy is always available. and we don’t necessarily do the “hard” for the sake of hardness per se, but rather, as cliche as it sounds, that is how we grow! wild flowers are so f-ing gorgeous and resilient because they grow out in the harsh desert! a saguaro cactus stands so steady, wise, and confidently, patient and fierce because of the intensity she has learned, not only endure, but due to which she thrives.

i hurt my back on monday doing what i love (yoga) and it rocks me to my core, to be hurt. it brings me back to feeling helpless, scared, and angry. so i ask how would i respond if a student came to me with this? i’d urge her to rest, get professional help, and take a bath! (the latter i sure plan on doing, but it’s on the list for tomorrow! lol…)

anyway, this is one of many occasions that i’ve hurt myself and i know i’m going to be better for it. that i’m going to gain new wisdom of myself, of yoga, of my practices, of how to more and more skillfully craft myself based on life’s circumstances.

For, truly if it’s all a play, it is my play. i am the writer, the director, every actor, the set, the props, the story, the key grip… lol… not like my ego runs the show as AA’s Big Book talks about, not like i’m running the show, as in the “little i”, but as in we all are a spark of the great light, we all are the creators of our lives, and i deeply believe in the wisdom spoken from a dear friend, “I am the whirlwind! I move and the world moves.”

we all have so many gifts, may we refine and use our skills for the sake of the greater good. as i’m getting older i see that that is more why we’re here than anything else… my grammy and daddy taught me when i was little and we went camping, to always leave the place better than the way we found it. i believe that’s what we’re here to do. i heard that sweet country song from randy travis this morning or yesterday… “it’s not what you take when you leave this world behind you, it’s what you leave behind you when you go.”

i’m looking up and forward. i cannot afford to look back. i don’t regret what has come before. may i see it, the past and all that comes with it, as a blessing. “i just wish…” (the mama pets her baby’s head and comforts her.) a friend told me, “the best indicator of future behavior is past behavior.” … i paid attention… words impact me. i believed… i tend to believe every word. i hopelessly hang on every word with awe and anticipation for the next wise morsel that seems to feed my hungry heart… and well, imagination. i fall in love with my imagination’s fantastic paintings… my new joke is that i paint the red flags green… lol, like alice in wonderland, right? painting the roses red! i’m painting the roses red… )

oh, and regarding past behavior and future behavior, it’s a path. my dear friend told me a long time ago, “a path is only a path, and it is no affront to you or anyone else if i decide to change that path.” the key is the decision to change. if there is no decision to change, everything will keep on rolling the way it does, cuz well, why wouldn’t it. (if we keep doing what we’re doing, we’ll keep getting what we’re getting.) water flows down the mountain through the deepest channel, the “easiest” path, so in order to redirect the momentum of past tendencies, a deeper channel must be dug in the direction we want them to move. deeper channel, means a lot of digging! some serious work. and yet again, work, not for the sake of work, but for the sake of cultivating something worth leaving behind.


i will always love love… i fall hard. may i see the good (god) in all things and love god. i intend to surround myself with people i want to emulate, because as Douglas Brooks said (and I’m sure I’ve quoted this before), “you are the company you keep, so keep great company.”