Archive for September, 2011

Closing Ceremony

Sunday, September 18th, 2011

The whole group gathered in one of the meeting rooms for the closing ceremony. Jennie thanked the volunteers for their tireless work. This was nicely planned and executed and they deserve a huge pat on the back. The president of IYNAUS gave the annual award to Patricia Walden for her dedication to volunteerism. She’s a lovely woman and an extremely dedicated practitioner.

One yogi who is a poet got up and read three poems: Tadasana, Trikonasana, and Savasana. They were all terrific. I don’t like or “get” poetry and I loved all three of these. Saturday night she wrote a performance poem capturing her reflections of the conference. She called three of others up on stage and they performed the piece, which got several laughs. It was quite a treat.

We chanted a couple of chants (one sutra and then a chant to our guru) to finish the conference.

I’m so glad I attended and am already thinking about going to the next one in Washington DC in May.

Day Three – Morning Asana

Sunday, September 18th, 2011

Manuso lead this morning’s asana class of forward bends. His style of teaching seems better suited to me (than Lois’s). He’s methodically and repetitive. I love the way he has us do the pose, gives us one instruction, and then repeats it over, and over, and over, and over layering another and another and another instruction to the pose each time. It gives me many opportunities to “get” it, practice it, and (hopefully) learn it.

Learning point of the morning: lengthen the inner groins to the knee.

Chicago Style Pizza and the city itself

Sunday, September 18th, 2011

Friday night we had a yummy dinner at India House, north of the hotel far enough to give me a blister on the back of my right heel. This was part of the dinner circle program arranged by the conference. Seven of us ate really good food in a loud, busy, bustling space. Chicago is a vibrant place with lots of shopping, crowds of people, tall buildings, urban parks … there’s something for everyone. And, of course, there’s pizza. Saturday night we went to a place for Chicago style pizza. It was yet another loud and busy place with a long wait. With this sort of hustle and bustle, the noise pollution is noticable. The El runs right by the Palmer House and even on the tenth floor with the windows closed we could hear it in our room. And there were incidents of noise in the hotel rooms neighboring ours.

The experience of being in the city was quite the contrast to the quiet peaceful state of the yoga rooms. Part of the conference message was to listen to the silence; to notice the difference of the quality of the silence before the chant starts and in that moment after the sound ends.

Day Two – Afternoon Asana

Sunday, September 18th, 2011

Fatigue starts to set in for me after about six hours of asana. I know this from past weekend workshops and this weekend was no different. The afternoon asana was entitled “Making Friends with Forward Bends”. Forward bends and I are not friends, so what better time to extend an invitation for friendship.

The teacher, Faith Russell from Madison, got us moving at the hinge gently and rhythmically, which definitely helped. We just kept moving in uttanasana, supta padangustasana, and paschimottanasana. We even did a paschimottanasana, dandasana, halasana rolling sort of thing, repeating it 10 times. It’s been a long time since I’ve done that.

She had us use our strap in a way to pull the inner thighs back that I had never done before that I found quite useful. A nice little gem to practice on my own and perhaps bring to my students.

End of the day conclusion: I need to practice my twists and forward bends more often … and, yes, backbends too.

Day Two – Morning Asana

Sunday, September 18th, 2011

The morning’s theme was backbends. We’re here with just mats and blankets – no chairs – so it was urdhva danurasana the classic way. The preps was brutal. Lois Steinberg started with twists (Marichyasana 3, Bharadvajasana 1 and 2, and Ardha Matsyandrasana) followed by a series of down dog, jumping to charuranga dandasana, up dog, down dog, uttanasana, urdhva vastasana and back to down dog again – repeat, repeat, repeat – before adding in jumping from down dog to Vira 1 and then to Vira III. And that was just the prep. A dozen urdva danurasanas followed with (in Lois fashion) a barrage of instructions from “take the ankles back” to “lengthen the arms” (and many others). Then, two more back bends, adding an eka pada.

We stood on our heads (in which, for the first time, I got nauseous), our shoulders and then finally rested in savasana.

Holy smokes. I was totally toast and, after lunch, took a cozy short but much needed nap.

Day Two – Pranayama

Sunday, September 18th, 2011

Patricia Walden led the morning pranayama. We did Viloma 1 and 2, two of my favorites. What I enjoyed more, thought, was Patricia. She is clear, has a great demonstration and is quite a lovely soul. She spent time at the beginning of class talking about the sutras for the day and incorporated the ideas of the gunas through the two-hours practice.

In addition, she opened the floor for questions a couple of times and in her ability to create safety she got some difficult and yet important questions. Even better were her spot on, gentle, caring, and direct answers.


Sunday, September 18th, 2011

The group is broken up into seven groups and the rooms share walls. One class inevitably gets started before the one next door and gets to the three ohms and invocation before the other group. Depending on when the room next door gets started, it can almost sound like a round. And the singers in all the classes I’ve been in are LOUD. It’s a noticeable difference. Of course, the room I’m used to singing in is quite a bit bigger and the students are usually spread out more. Still, here, it seems like the yogis are quite loud, blowing away the caller from that first ohm to the last.

Day One – Reflections

Sunday, September 18th, 2011

The conference is well run/well organized.

There are more things to do than we have time for. I’d like to go to the movie house, a museum, shopping but there’s just enough time to eat, rest, change and get back to the next session.

In a big city like Chicago, everything takes longer (walking to/fro, getting the elevator, going to lunch).

All the yogis are friendly. All the teachers are extremely knowlegable … and kind.

Day One – Afternoon Asana

Sunday, September 18th, 2011

The afternoon session I chose to attend was on inversions. We started with head down poses: downward facing dog, uttanasana, and a prasarita padottanasana that felt like it lasted 10 minutes. The concentration in this session was the focus on the forearms – pressing and circularizing.

Gem of the day, a way to place the forearms in preparation for sirsasana.

Day One – Morning Asana

Sunday, September 18th, 2011

Laurie Blakeney was my teacher for the first asana class. Ironic, since I can take class in Ann Arbor with her any day of the week. Reality is … I don’t. So, it was good to learn from her again.

The session was standing poses and she started us with downward facing dog learning to roll the abdomen with a ball and socket motion in the hips instead of a hinge. This has been a theme of Laurie’s for the last couple of years, along with accessing the abdominal strength via the inner thighs.

We worked with the block between our thighs in supta tadasana as well as standing in tadasana to get this awareness and access the thigh muscles.

Her instructions to use the breath to make the shape of the pose INTERNALLY (rather than just the external body, the more physical body) was enlightening.

End of the day conclusion: I need to go back to studying with Laurie. I feel a huge disconnect between my legs and chest and, when the abdomen is accessed, there is a connections/integration that renders the effort effortless.