Fully taking over Mysore Evenings at Ashtanga Yoga Cairo in Zamalek staring this evening.
Classes are 6:30-9:00pm; Sunday, Monday, and Wednesday. Call 012 2275 8625 or 012 2371 7729 for address and directions.
Regular class schedule in La Zone, Maadi will start this Friday. Morning mysore class is Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Thursday are 7:00-10:00am. Guided led class every Friday, 4pm. La Zone is located at 23A road 206, Degla Maadi, phone no: 0114 111 1949.
Photo: First Workshop in Ashtanga Yoga Cairo, Zamalek.
It was over two years ago when Iman Elsherbiny and I had our first real conversation at a social gathering in Gokulam. By then, we had been singing for at least a month or so in kirtan-s at Saraswathipuram, Mysore whilst practicing at the KPJAYI shala with Sharath.
Without knowing much about each other, we seemed to just click after sharing time and prana with the sound practice of chanting. And the idea of me one day coming to Egypt somehow floated up to the surface.
Fast-forward: Iman is a day away from her return to India and I’m here in Cairo, settling in, and slowly taking over Iman’s classes.
This first intense and surreal week has been a special one, packed to the brim, starting with a couple of weekend workshops here in Maadi and Zamelek where Iman and I have had a chance to work together.
I love working with Iman, who approaches teaching with a lot of sensitivity and good humor.
It has been a shakti powered week, from tag-team teaching the workshops and slowly turning over Iman’s regular classes.
I’ve come despite all the instability here in Egypt or maybe because of it. The way I see it, what better place to practice and share yoga, right in the thick of it, where balance is most needed.
Photo: Iman demonstrating technique behind urdhva dhanurasana during out workshop in Ashtanga Yoga Cairo in Zamelek.
The practice does not stop, not really.
It is continuous–and yet is never the same.
It is constant–and yet always changing.
It is complete–and yet is always expanding.
We each experience it so differently and yet it connects us all.
Photo: Veronique Tan continuing the mysore program at Spirit Yoga in Osaka. A great teacher for great students, who I miss much-ly!
I’ve had a good reminder recently why Primary Series is called Yoga Chikitsa. Pattabhi Jois used it as such, individualizing the practice as a tool for helping people through their ailments.
As ashtanga becomes more and more popular and as the shala in Mysore, India fills with more and more people, the teaching can’t be the same as when Pattabhi Jois was working with12 students at a time in his Lakshmipuram home.
Sometimes, we get the impression that even Ashtanga is becoming more and more a cookie-cutter practice–and perhaps this is true with led classes emphasizing pace and count and with just a few emphasized adjustments to work with the large numbers shuffling in and out of the KPJAYI shala.
But look carefully at the mysore space and you’ll see the spirit of self practice is still alive, still strikingly independent, still very personal. Peek into the afternoon classes with just a handful of people. Or observe the individuals working through specific issues.
But during my visit to Barcelona, this spirit, I recognize, comes to life in the more intimate satellite spaces around the world where the practice is taught–where teachers have time and space to get to know their students, to take into consideration their personalities and lifestyles, injuries, physical, mental and emotional states. It’s exciting to see. It’s inspiring. And, for a teacher, incredibly instructional.
Photo: Pazzifica Ashtanga Yoga (Gracia, Barcelona), a space where the tenets of yoga therapy are in practice. Honored and excited to sub for Paz in January.
One of the many gifts of traveling the last couple of years has been the chance to visit different mysore programs in different parts of the world.
The architecture of the place, the culture, the rhythm on the city or town, the culture, the students, and most especially the teacher are all variables that make each mysore program unique.
Again, one of the things that continue to thrill me about practice: how it adapts to all places, to all cultures, it is whatever it needs to be for whoever seeks it. A little like Harry Potter’s Room of Requirement, the mysore space transforms itself so that it can fulfill the needs of those who whole-heartedly seek it.
Photo: The altar at Pazzifica Yoga in Gracia, Barcelona where Paz Muñoz teachers, and where I will be heading back to in January.
Friday night. It’s Saturday tomorrow and a new moon day. This is when I often ask my self: what do I fancy?
A cup of molten hot chocolate? A glass of wine? All the bread product you can fit in your grocery basket? A night out on the town with friends?
We must learn to pulse and flow with the disciplined life. And this requires flexibility, too.
Photo: A special treat: surprising cup of (literally) hot chocolate at Cafe Nena in Gracia, Bareclona. Taken Friday morning, post practice.
This is life, clear and spacious, the sky above the clouds–from Osaka, Japan to Barcelona, Spain.
A doorway into a familiar and yet also new world.
This is the door to Yoga con Gracia in Barcelona, where Paz Muñoz teaches a mysore program every morning between Monday to Friday and evenings Monday to Thursday.
It’s the same practice, Ashtanga, mysore-style. But it’s a different place, different culture, different bodies, different shapes.
It’s beautiful to see the universality of practice, how it translates to all places, how it adapts to different cultures, body types and mentalities.
Looking forward to returning to this special space in January to sub for Paz. But first, soon: Cairo…
Another three little words that packs a powerful punch.
As a student myself, I have surely heard these words before from the mouths of other teachers who I’ve taken class with, at least one, I’m sure of. And for me, it’s a most natural follow up to the opening chant, along with “ohayou gozaimas” or good morning these last couple of months.
I left Osaka yesterday with a happy heart, knowing that this little reminder to find ease and joy in one’s practice is part of my contribution to this inspired and inspiring yoga community in Japan.
It’s so plain, it’s so simple, and yet sometimes really easily forgotten. We must be in joy-fullness as we practice. Without it, it’s an exercise in struggle. The attitude we bring into the practice dictates how our yoga practice takes shape.
Even when it’s hard, even when there’s struggle, the joy is always there, always waiting to be discovered, to be experienced, this blissful feeling, a jewel in the rough.
Photo taken with me and some of the students early Tuesday morning before my departure at the studio in Osaka.
This is the Spirit Yoga mysore space last Sunday evening. I had just finished my last offering at the studio.
How empty it looks. And YET how full it feels–to me, at least, after two months and one week of teaching.
It dawns on me that life is made up of empty rooms and that our job is to fill these spaces with our light, with our energy.
Next time you enter an empty space, ask yourself: how can I fill this space? What subtle gift can I fill/feel this space with? What special part of me can I leave here to grow and prosper?
Or before you leave such a space, ask: what have I left here? What will grow on without me?