Diana Batts is a gentle red head who assists and also teaches the workshops with Bernie. I arrive barely making it this morning.. had a wrong turn, and oops... I went lost for at least 20 minutes. But.. like this trip's minor theme, I arrive as the door was closing. Seated we always begin with the Gayatri Mantra chanted 12 times as the sun rises.. well in Vancouver it is more like when the light comes on.. over these grey rainy skies, we all welcome what the day will deliver. Where the actual sun has gone missing is anyone's guess.
We sit in silent meditation, and it is divine.
We practice a kind of alternate nostril breathing with palms open and closing and it works for me... Can't wait to try it on You!
We begin Yin practice in Sphinx, which we hold 12 minutes. Diane is a soft touch, and careful teacher. I allowed myself to adjust to the change of style and I drop deeply into my body today. I am now feeling very well rested, sleeping again; about 8-9 hours last night in that big bunny sac of a bed. I am exploring my injuries on a deep level and settling into the body so I can understand these pains, and their origins; particularly my shoulders, which are both fragile.
We move to half saddle forward folding, and then onto the back for regular half saddle. Time is again the "magic" ingredient.
We also used blocks and flat supports (which I love.) The flatter more square supports are like a coffee table book covered in soft stuff. This next shoulder opening is also something new for me. We rested two elbow tips up onto a block or one of the flatter soft covered supports. I chose to use two stacked under each elbow. One takes the body back towards the rear of the mat really lengthening the torso and freeing up the entire shoulder girdle. Now we place the palms together, fingers facing the ceiling. More flexible people are asked to dome the hands with just the finger pads pressing each matching pad on the opposite hand. Ouch at first.. and then Ahhhh. I relaxed into my injuries and sent my breath there, and simply looked at the dull, and less dull aches with curiosity and compassion. We spent maybe 5 minutes like this. The release was like "Christmas Day" as Bernie says when we release out of these intense stressors... Ahhhh . As the contradiction, We place the blocks under each shoulder with the arms splayed over them, head to the side. So the blocks held up the shoulders and the blood rushed in.
Puppy Dog ( actually the warmup for Anahatasana...melting heart) is an excellent way to lead people more gently to the full expression of this heart and shoulder opener; one arm at a time.
After a seemingly simple but long held spinal twist, we break at 9:15 am and everyone leaves the building because another class enters. I always head to the Fresh Market which is a delight and joy, passing squawking sea gulls and various shops and dogs and people, surrounded by wet, and cold and uber fresh air. Entering into the this market infuses me with smells of fresh goodness: fruit, veggies, meats, breads, hot coffee, smoked, baked, steamed, asian, indian, nordic, all kinds of delights! I take time (the magic ingredient) and wander, allowing my body to feel exactly what it needs.
Yesterday I decided on two types of Salmon.. pickled and smoked. I feasted on fresh Pacific Northwest wildness, and a bagel. Today I wanted Indian warmth. I pick the freshly made chick peas, and a vegetable and ground beef dish over basmati..so spicy and comforting. These morning meals are my biggest and best of the day.
I look forward to the rest of the day which is usually a lecture, slides, discussions and hands on things, questions and answers... and always a few cleverly placed surprises.
Part 2 of day 3
And today after the lectures and discussions I decided to quit teaching yoga. That is it, I am out!
Bernie Clark has this mischievous, sadistic way of breaking every belief system you ever held as a teacher. "It isn't ever how a posture looks," he calmly says. " it is how it Feels... That's it." Say what?
He has spent three days breaking our training... Our attachments to aesthetics, our style of teaching.. He then attempts to comfort the group, made up of mostly seasoned teachers, "First comes denial, then anger, then depression, grief, and finally acceptance" He chuckles.
I am somewhere lost in anger and depression today.. Being the alignment NaziI am so proud to be... Yep..
So here I sit, alone in this fabulous cosmopolitan city of Vancouver, having a craft beer.. Tears dropping into my glass.