asana junkies day 4: the waterfall

5.19.13

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

asana junkies day 1 – more will be revealed…

thursday 5.16.13

 

miss tanya, miss christine, and i adventured from tucson to austin yesterday for Christina Sell’s Asana Junkies: 4 days of kick your asana from 845 am to 5 pm. our 15 hour journey in “the Vegas Mobile” consisted of 3 alternating drivers, innumerable pee stops, and one stop for no seat belt from a friendly police officer with big ol’ blue eyes who just seemingly wanted to chit chat because he let us go with a warning and much historical account of how cool he was… he was pretty cool. oh yeah, and taking turns giving and receiving in-depth co-counceling dubbed tanya’s tank-of-a rav 4, “the Vegas Mobile.” I assume the reader understands this to be our silly commitment to confidentiality, and not some, well whatever else one might
assume. so that’s nice. we all need a place to open up, share our struggles and our truths, and make deeper connections to ourselves and others, to feel heard. it was a perfect trip. we got into austin late, 11 pm (we lost two hours coming in!), dropped miss christine off at her spot and went to ours. sleep was a welcome friend that left way too soon.

our car adventure continued in the morning to trolly six people instead of three! a few different lively conversations filled the car during the 45 min ride to san marcos. that familiar feeling of excited anticipation filled the air accompanied by the also familiar sense of connection to people you happen to know nothing about. that’s yoga workshops, or at least the beginning of them.

(…and i’m so sleepy…)

this morning we had tea and coffee time and morning chit chat in miss christina sells’ lovely School of Yoga San Marcos, followed by overview and discussion, brief introductions, and chanting in the practice room.

following, we had another a little tea break (kelley makes incredible coffee) and i napped.  thank goodness.

then! asana anana asana….

apparently it’s a sequence christina used from week three of her webinar.

it was a sweaty, awesome selection of surya namaskar, standing poses, handbalancings, and backbends.

i felt super tight, but the more i did, and the more i engaged, the better i felt. my tiredness pulled me through feelings of dread, unwillingness, and self talk that led me all the way into self-reflection like, “ya know, why do i even do this to myself?” and then i dive into the next handbalance and get re-inspired, re-stoked. and in between poses, especially back bends, the self-doubt returns along with terrifying thoughts of just giving it all up to do something “normal” … whatever that is. and then i am in the next pose and i focus on what’s necessary to feel free and good in the pose, to do all of the alignment cues i know to do to just free myself in the moment. the other option is to just hang out in discomfort, feel terrible and definitely never want to do yoga again. another gift of tiredness, oh and the sweatiness, is the sense of ultimate surrender into the moment, to just do the next right thing. the other option was a sort of surrender that entailed curling up in the fetal position in the tea area and miss out on what i came here to do…  i chose to persevere and to do so could only be in the form of active surrender, to surrender to the work. as mr. paul muller ortega says, “surrender to the discipline that is presented.” and it worked.

lunch came, and all is well.

afternoon practice menu offered delicious restoratives, inversions, and foreward folds.

and now it’s bedtime. i’m grateful to be here, welcomed by such kind and generous hosts, guided by such a skillful and wise teacher, supported by her lovely husband, and adorable greyhound, and! it’s gorgeous here in San Marcos right now! everything is so lush and green.  i look forward to tomorrow.

more will be revealed!

Stargazer_Lily