Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Beyond Technique: 'The Un-nameable Something'

A dear friend, Virginia, commented before class today, "So about all these technical manipulations of the body - arm bones back, inner spiral here, outer spiral there, tail bone in - something feels lacking. After all those manipulations something still feels lacking."

And the other day a dancer friend reflected, "You can be the most technically brilliant ballet dancer, but boring as hell to watch if you don't have that 'un-nameable something'".

And in less poetic terms I can offer this: Yes, we can do everything (on or off) the mat just "right" (just like our teachers or parents or bosses tell us) and we can still be f-ing miserable. We can still be dense, stuck and stale, even after having followed every little commandment and order of operations.

In the Anusara method, founded by John Friend, I find a response to “there’s something missing.” The first principle of alignment in Anusara yoga is “Open to Grace”. In my experience Opening to Grace is an expression for quieting the ego, the thinker, the do-er. Opening to Grace is a state of surrender, receptivity and luminescence that unfurls inside of us. To Open to Grace is to acknowledge with our inner most being the revelatory aspect of Spirit that has made itself known by our very existence. And it is from this state that we begin to witness our breath. It is from this state that the breath begins to inspire physical movement of “arm bones back, inner spiral here, outer spiral there...”

Virginia is so very right. The physical manipulations are but loud dense actions without first Opening to Grace, the ‘un-nameable something’, that I just gave a name to.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

"The Love Coop"

The creation of Love Yoga Co-Op is unfolding daily. So too is the reality of the time/energy output involved to get the project started (and to help it flourish). Truth is I'm not interested in running or managing a yoga studio. I am interested in sheparding a space where driven yoga teachers can grow, flourish, build a community and get paid a living wage. But, as a dear friend and yoga studio owner recently shared with me, "like it or not, Lauran, you will be a small business owner as soon as you sign your name on the lease. This means that part of your day will be spent tangled in the nitty gritty of cash flow, teacher management, marketing and promotion and rental space up-keep."

The rising sun of responsibilities is at first daunting -- enough to make me wonder if the day to day operations involved in the co-op will throw off my life-work balance. What I am saying? Of course this project is going to dramatically change the flow of my day, especially during the early stages of the co-op when my understanding of "how to make it work" is more like a gravel road than a super highway. But, still, part of me knows that diving into this will be an amazing learning experience. It already has been. And more than anything I've learned just how many people want to help make it work! I've had friends come out of the woodwork to help with the lease negotiations, website development, logo/graphic design, prop/mat donation, insurance quotes, financial flow charts, and non-profit education resources. Though, yes, I am managing the process, I also feel very much like nurturinig the growth of an already living organism..."It takes a village."

Really the next step, as I see it, is to continue to educate and empower teachers about how the co-op works and why the co-op might be a sweet addition to a studio setting.