“Enjoy Your Practice”


Enjoy Your Practice

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. 

Build Foundation, Find Flow


Build Foundation, Find Flow

September 28, 2013. My first workshop in Osaka, Japan. May there be more in the future!

It was a quick two and a half hours lecturing on the tenets of yoga philosophy that make up the foundation of asana and experiencing tristhana (breath, posture/bandha, and drishti) in a variety of ways in an exploratory asana class.

Next Sunday, October 6, 3-5pm, we will be having a special workshop offering “Prepare for Self Practice,” which will go over principles of basic adjustments in the primary series as well as some framework for vinyasa and backbending.

There is a week gap between my departure from the mysore program here in Osaka and the arrival of Veronique Tan, the program’s new teacher.

The workshop is aimed at inspiring students to find the gifts and the joys of self practice, which is many many fold, during the interim.

The First Row


The First Row

In the mysore room, practitioners trickle in at the start of class. When the first row fills before the class officially starts, it often becomes one of those full-power kind of practice days.

Somehow, these early students set the pace, they warm the room, they get it going: a flow in which all the later currents can just pour into. And the studio, most of the time, fills–I think, attracted by the power of practice already brewing in the building.

Sunday Suryanamaskar


Sunday Suryanamaskar

It’s Sunday. We start mysore practice with Suryanamaskara A. Most of the time we forget the meaning of the things we do automatically. We confuse the series of postures as a warm-up–and it is, though somewhat different from what we think we are doing.

We do warm the body, we warm it as we bow to the light of the sun. We melt away the layers that need melting.

We wake from the winter morning, and rise to the springtime of our day. We grow. So that we may enjoy the warmth of summer and later harvest the fruits of our labor, before the sun goes down again, and the cycle starts all over.

Everyday, we move through the seasons. In our practice, in our lives.

The practice is the practice for our practice.

Dance your heart out


Today felt like the inner dance process properly, finally landed in Osaka as four Sprit Yoga Studio students joined the session. It was time to turn things inside for a moment, to experience what is deep within through the body.

With little explanation, a matter of necessity due to my lack of Japanese, we went straight into experience. First, an exercise of feeling the energy moving our hands. Then with a demonstration with Fusako-san, a student from the Mysore program, who attended the first ID session.  As Fusako-san explained her experience, the lightness and the lack of thought in the movement, I looked around. Participants looked calm but a little baffled.

Nothing left to explain, we decided to go ahead and dive in. And dive in we did. I prepared an all Shiva-inspired sound track to help us into the process. Shiva, who is Nataraja, the dancer, would lead us into it. And he did not fail.

ImageThere was dancing. Small, quiet movements. Full, all-out movements. There was some emotion. And a lot of peace.

There is no formula for the dance. But when it works, we simply know it. We feel its power, we feel the opening in the body.

As we shared afterwards, one participant asked what was the purpose of the dance? The dance is a healing modality. It can move energy, emotion stuck in the body. We are able to observe it and then in the observing, release it. But I added that my own purpose was to help people see who they really are beyond all the constructs, to simply remember, if only for a moment, their truest of natures.