From Mysore to Mysore Vienna

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Every mysore teaching opportunity starts with a story of sorts, most of which begins with “Once Upon A Time in Mysore.” Whether it’s a chance meeting or a meeting of minds, ultimately, it’s our connections with our fellow students and, ultimately, our individual connection with our teacher in India is what brings Mysore teachers together, we are students first–together!

Barbara Süss and I shared a flat for one month in Mysore back in 2014. She wasn’t even supposed to be my roommate, in fact, she wasn’t even supposed to be in Mysore during that February. But as fate would have it, we would share the shortest month and have the most expansive of times. Our talks over the stove top were as nourishing as the dishes Barbara would cook up. I would come home half dead from practice followed by 2 plus hours of assisting Sharathji in the shala and she would instantly revive me with a smoothie that she had just, at that moment, whipped up. I kind of thought she was magic. At the very least proof that I had good karma stored up. We had such deep heart to hearts that were later maintained over messenger and FaceTime calls. And like many of my Mysore friendships, we may not always be up to date, but we were often enough in touch.

Many times, my relationships with fellow teachers whose programs I come to teach for are often deepened by the experience of sharing space, students, the collective energy of a program. It’s incredibly intimate, a bond forms when you sub or assist for another teacher. I think often we gravitate towards fellow students who we may not know too well–not to begin with, anyway–but whose energies we like, who we somehow resonate with. Others, well, they’re you’re peeps already because Mysore opened up the whole can-of-worms-that-is-your-life and we end up witnessing that for each other.

So, I’m stoked. I’m stoked to see Barbara again, even if ever so briefly, so she can have a break herself because she’s been super working hard since she started this program nearly a year ago. I’m stoked to hang out with her cats and in her kitchen, because I know Barbara in the kitchen and I can imagine her kitchen back home in Vienna is going to rock my casbah.

AND I’m super excited to be in the space that she’s created for her program. If you’re in Vienna and you’re inclined to practice, let’s enjoy the amazing space that she’s created together! For more details: www.mysorevienna.com

Love Yoga Lisboa

It’s been a total ashtanga adventure once again being in Portugal, between taking class with Xico Rodrigues (who’s been a total star and so helpful giving me great assists and tips on my neck problems) to the ashtangi-populated Being Gathering up north, to these days in Vila Nova Milfontes, practicing with Tarik and Lea (Love Ashtanga Yoga).

 Tomorrow, we take our last class here (sadly, it’s such a full power room here!) and head back to Lisbon, where I have to shake off this vacation/student mode and tune back into teaching.

Nevertheless, excited to be more in Yoga Lisboa, which has become my practice home here in Lisbon. I’ll be teaching the following classes:

Tuesday, 11 July.
Mysore 7:30-10am/Led Half Primary 13:00/Ashtanga Improv 18:15

Wednesday, 12 July.
Mysore 7:30-10am

Thursday, 13 July
. Mysore 7:30-10am/Mysore 12:30-14:00
If you’re in Lisbon, love to see you there! ❤️

For more info on Yoga Lisboa’s Ashtsnga program: http://www.lisboa-yoga

BEING Ashtanga Yoga

When Filipa Veiga, Portuguese ashtanga teacher and writer, asked me to join the contingent of yoga teachers offering classes at the Being Gathering 2017 at Boomland in Idanha-a-Nova, Portugal, it put into motion a plan to spend the summer in Europe. I wanted to go see my teacher in mid August in London, I was suddenly committed to my first festival date in early July, what to do then with the time between?

Before I knew it, I had before me a bit of vacation, time to spend with beloved friends, a restart to a personal project that had been put on hold, and a small offering of teaching dates in Portugal, Romania and Vienna. I’m excited for this period after a 7 month stint in Cairo, where I will return to continue teaching after August.

These breaks from routine, the opportunities to connect with other teachers, especially to be a student myself, to tap into the global movement having to do with yoga and healing, allows me time to recharge and also ruminate on what exactly we are doing in our day to day, what is this practice, what is it’s purpose, why do we come to the mat day after day?

On the last day of the festival, I introduced ashtanga yoga as a tool for BEING, for being a better person, for being more focused, more attentive, more present. I alluded to the great Patanjali, to the first line of the Sutras: “Atha yoganuśasunam” Now, begins yoga. It brings us to the present moment. I ended the class with Patanjali, as well, and how he described yoga practice as “dirgha kala nairantarya asevitam,” a long time, without interruption, with whole hearted devotion.

And so begins the summer for me, starting with a most extraordinary of gathering of people, from healers to storytellers, green warriors to spiritual seekers, but also with a great sense of what it means to BE in yoga, how we have a responsibility to be as present with ourselves, our relations, our fellow creatures and planet as much as possible and how practice doesn’t end after our hour and half of sweating and grunting on the mat, it goes on into our day, in every action, in every breath.

Join me in this extraordinary experiment of being through the ashtanga yoga system. I teach in Yoga Lisboa July 11, 12, 13 (www.yoga-lisboa.com), Asociata Ashtanga/Ashtanga Yoga Romania (info@anahata.ro) on July 17-30, then finally in Mysore Vienna from July 31 to August 8 (www.mysorevienna.com).

Photos taken by Clara Lua, Being Gathering, July 2.

Present Practice

Ah…to be present–easier said than done.

How often are we pulled into future projections, expectations? On the flip side, how often do we hold on to old feelings, stories? How many of us are haunted by memories?
How much do we actually live in the presentness of our lives–in all of its wonder, joy, messiness and complexities?

A couple of weeks ago, I was embroiled in a decision-making process that had me  mulling over numbers and future scenarios, as well as past difficulties–all really good tools in terms of making well-informed choices. But I was distracted and confused by it all. In the end, however, it took settling into the present moment, weighing my own feelings about the things I actually know and experience to get to an answer that I could really sit with: that I am happy where I am and that I am little pressed to change that. It seemed so simple, just at that moment.

I am often baffled by my own mind, how it is pulled so easily in so many directions. Once again, practice is an amazing antidote for this. We get on that mat. We do our thing. Our focus and attention may wander here and there, but eventually they are pulled back into our center, and slowly over time we are training ourselves to experience THAT exact breath, THAT exact movement, to stop looking at others or beyond our current practice or our current posture, to trust that change will come when it’s time. When we start to live this experience of being present on our mat, we start to repair the damage of a world that cajoles us into seeking out some future happiness. That’s not to say we aren’t allowed to direct our energy, or even want things for ourselves–its about cultivating that harmony with simply being.

This, I feel, is also what Pattabhi Jois has so famously imparted on us: “Practice, practice, all is coming.” Again, easier said than done. Yet, they key is in the doing. Just practice–the strength, the flexibility, the āsana will all come, but also, perhaps most importantly, this appreciation for the present moment, whatever it looks like.