Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Snowed in and the end of the year slide

You know it is bad when your father (who just learned how to use a computer 2 years ago) calls you out about not blogging. I have been in Philadelphia since Friday night and I was scheduled to go back to Providence and finish up my yoga session/work at RISD Works for the Christmas crush, but snowed in and "stuck" in my hometown. Here are the highlights:

A great post train dinner with two awesome yogini's in the Art Museum area was followed by the euphoric energy that comes with waiting for the potential snow fall.

A Saturday morning walk to Mugshots alone in the falling snow allowed me to get connected to my teaching material and excited about the workshop.

The workshop was amazing! Such energy and commitment I was in awe.

After trying to get out of Philly I found myself being sucked in between train delays, and the eventual turn around time I made the tough decision to be still and return to Providence after the holiday.

I'll be around until Sunday when Mike, Angie, Charlie and I make our way back to New England to finish up this crazy year. I'll be on a flight headed first to France and then to Bangalore on December 31. I am so excited about returning for my 4th trip to Mysore and I will be blogging a lot! I am still trying to put my spring teaching schedule together so if you would like me to teach in your yoga community get in touch!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

...All is Coming

Clear Seeing:

Today is my birthday. I am 31 year old today. Last year I decided to have a really big birthday party. This time last year I had no answers to nearly every question tossed my way. Would Mike be accepted in any graduate school? If he got acepted where then would we move...Chicago? LA? NYC? Providence? Would I continue to teach yoga or get a job that required some other skills?

I thrive on vision. Last year I couldn't stop the arrow spinning even for a moment to see which way to move. The arrow has stopped and just now I am ready to create this life.

I am spending the day quietly. Mike and I got up early and now we are heading out to Walden Pond for a hike. Later I will practice and have a Dosa at my favorite Indian spot with a few friends.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

No direction home

I thought that I would blog while I was in Philadelphia. I thought that I would see everyone that I longed to see. I thought that I would practice twice a day. What I failed to realize was just how busy I would actually be. It was a great trip home. I logged many hours with my favorite sister, practiced with my teacher and my yoga tribe, and had some fantastic meals with some of my favorite people. I felt at home, but at the same time I felt distance from all that was happening. Some of the distance I welcomed...yoga drama is so strange.

Now that I am back in Rhode Island I feel a little directionless. Like what is next for me. How can I continue to teach and make a living doing that? Where is my yoga home?

I am starting to put together the pieces of my Winter Solstice workshop, and while I was practicing this morning this poem flew (from God knows where) into my quiet mind.

Prelude To Winter

The moth under the eaves
with wings like
the bark of a tree, lies
symmetrically still-

And love is a curious
soft-winged thing
unmoving under the eaves
when the leaves fall.
William Carlos Williams

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Saturday, October 31, 2009

4 Practices

I left Philadelphia nearly three months ago. In some ways it feels much longer and in other ways it feels still very near to me. I have been practicing in my little yoga room for nearly three months. I have had some interesting moments on the mat. Little discoveries followed by big pieces of the ever evolving puzzle coming together. Overall practicing alone is very intimate and none of the normal distractions are present to entertain the mind. While I can feel a solo practice is great for the teacher in me and reaffirms that I practice yoga...that is what I do regardless of who's teaching or who's showing up. That said I am REALLY excited to be coming home next week!

Here is the Juice

I'll have my mat rolled out at Corina-ji's 1pm class on Friday November the 6th

If Saturday's aren't the same since I've been gone I am TEACHING a led primary Saturday November the 7th at 10am at Yoga Squared...this is open to all.

There is still space in the workshop at Yoga Squared but space is limited. Check out my website for details:

http://www.jillmanning.com

I am also giving a three hour intensive on Monday November 9th from 6-9pm at the AFC (also check out the website) you must pre-register because space is limited and it is filling up!

I leave for Philly in 5 days and Mysore in two months after all this alone time I am about due!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday


I have missed practice the last two Sundays. Like Cyndi I am aiming for 5 practices this week. Here is a photo from practice today (not a self-y).

Friday, October 16, 2009

My Practice Week

pretty much went to the dogs...literally. Angie got very sick this week and needed to go to the vet twice after throwing up nearly every morning somewhere between 4am and 6am. Charlie needed a haircut and that was also an ordeal. So my aim for practice 6 times was once again met with a 3 day practice reality. Which is not to bad for a sick dog, three jobs, and a husband who is busy all the time. Here is a picture from my practice today. Marichyasana D is proof that practice changes everything.



Monday, October 12, 2009

Second Born

Joy says that I should blog everyday. I know that I should but time is a precious commodity and unlike my sister writing is not my favorite thing to do. I enjoy scribbling a thing or two down and connecting with my thoughts via pen and paper, but seriously I am no writer.

I am a mover.

Adam sent me this really great quote today from Andre Gide, "One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time." Many of my great quotes have come from some other human through Adam down to me and out my mouth into the yogic universe. One such quote that I think has been misattributed to Manorama (always a good guess) is from someone I can't remember right now, but it goes "don't let your thoughts rob you of your experiences." Adam wrote that down from his mythy mind after attending a yoga class of mine on a yellow piece of scrap paper. I still have that paper stuck in my very favorite yoga book.

Adam is my guru. Shedding light like no one else I know.

The Mysore group was awe inspiring today. This was the beginning of week five and all eight came to their mat even though it was holiday and most of them had off from work. All eight 5 weeks in on a holiday at 7am! The best part of teaching is the shared light experience. Teachers enlighten students and YES! students enlighten and enliven their teachers.

Shine On!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Back on Track

Week One

People who know me and my practice habits know that I don't practice on Saturday. This is partly a groove that I got into in Mysore and in Philly my Saturdays were teaching days and a natural fit fit for taking rest. I work at risd|works on Saturdays from 10-5 so Saturdays will continue to be a day in which I will not practice. Sunday has always marked the beginning of the new practice week. Sunday is the high Holy day of practice and I miss the coffee chats after a really intense practice. I love schedules. I love to set the bar and challenge myself to rise to the occasion. Here is the bar for the week 10/11 thru 10/17:

Sunday 10/11
It's parents weekend at RISD so I need to work on Sunday too!
Practice time 7am

Monday 10/12
I am free after my morning Mysore and usually practice around 10am.
Practice tie 10am

Tuesday 10/13
Off all day
Practice time 10am

Wednesday 10/14
This is where is gets really hard. I teach my Mysore group from 7am-9am then run to the YMCA to teach from 9:30am-10:30am and then run to risd|works and work from 11am -5:30pm.
Practice time 5:30am

Thursday 10/15 (Liana is here for the Iyengar Conference and staying with me)
Another full day at my "real" job.
Practice tme 7am

Friday 10/16
Maybe a surprise!

Saturday 10/17
TAKE REST

OK I've set my bar and I'll blog about the experience of week one. Let me know how you are finding practice and how practice is finding you.

Friday, October 09, 2009

I get it!

Practice is hard. Well not exactly the practice itself, but finding the time to practice is just..hard. I used to think it was difficult to find the time as a full time yoga teacher. Consider this blast an apology to all the full time practitioners out there. You know who you are! The students that roll into a 5:45pm yoga class in their pantyhose and practice.

I have been straddling the line of yoga teacher/Museum employee for about four weeks now, and my practice is struggling. After I write this post I will practice for only the third time this week. I need to get back on a 5 times a week schedule. I need to develop a plan. I think I need to get up earlier because after 8 hours of standing in a cute outfit I can't hit the mat especially on my own.

The good news is that I'll be in Philly for some great practice hours next month and I found a flight to India for less than $1100! I just need to finalize some details and get back to the business of practicing.

I am also giving a workshop that my friend Vanessa Mock has set up. Here is what she has said about it:

Hello All,
I am so excited to announce that the lovely Jill Manning will be presenting a "Twists & Binds" workshop on Monday, November 9th from 6-9 pm right here at The Aquatic & Fitness Center. For those of you who are acquainted with Jill, you know how incredible of a teacher she is. For those of you who are not, DO this workshop and you will not be sorry.

This three hour, ALL LEVELS, workshop will place sharp focus on asanas (postures) that twist and asanas that bind. Employing these qualities, you will understand how twisting postures can produce fluidity especially with a solid bind. You do not need to be able to easily twist into a pretzel to do this workshop. Jill has been teaching for over 10 years and has a vast knowledge of information to accommodate various populations, injuries and limitations.

Space is limited to only 20 participants. I am expecting that it will fill to max capacity within several weeks. To ensure a space either stop by to register or call with payment info. The cost is $45 and worth every penny.

Tell your friends, family and others who may be interested in this wonderful workshop.


OM, Shanti, OM. Love is life:)
Vanessa Mock
Group Fitness/Program Director
Aquatic & Fitness Center, Bala Cynwyd

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Come Fly With Me!

In Philadelphia

Yoga Squared

“Foundation First” with Jill Manning 7-8 November
1pm - 5pm Saturday
12pm - 4pm Sunday

Understanding the Count, Understanding the Method
This course (9 hours) is designed to introduce a deeper relationship to
the Traditional Ashtanga Yoga Method, as taught by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois of
Mysore, India. In this weekend long workshop we will dive deeply into the
often unseen structure that is the heart of the Method. One of Guruji’s
most repeated teachings is “99% practice 1% theory.” As is the way with
many great thread like teachings there is something that should be
understood. It is not enough to practice, what Guruji is suggesting is
proper practice. The proper understanding and employment of vinyasa
karma, breath pattern, bandha as energy, and drsti as focus.

This workshop will be a collage of practice, and theory filled with some
really informative tips and tricks for making sense of the sequence,
fettering out suggested meaning, and feeling around for the more internal
aspects of this method.

While this workshop is appropriate for all levels it may be most
interesting to those who have a practice and would like to understand more
deeply the design and structure of the tradition.

Wake Up Yoga

ReTurn with Jill Manning
A Winter Solstice Workshop

Wake Up Yoga Fairmount
Saturday, December 19th and Sunday, December 20th
1 - 4 pm

Contribution: $90 for both days; $50 for one day only

This workshop is capped at 20 participants..


In Providence

am very excited to announce the next series for the Mysore program at
Motion Center. At the close of this session there will be a week off. I
am going to teach a workshop in Philadelphia and spend the week practicing
with and assisting my teacher! Classes will resume:

Monday Session November 16th - December 21st (6 weeks) 7am -9am 8 students
only.

Wednesday Session November 18th - December 23rd (6 weeks) 7am -9am 8
students only.

I am then heading to India for my 4th trip to Mysore in January. Classes
will resume in February. Hopefully with an expanded schedule.

If you are interested register early with Motion Center
(http://www.motioncenter.com) and please freely pass the information along
to anyone with interest and always contact me directly with questions.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Pilgrimage


According to Wikipedia, a pilgrimage is a long journey or search of great moral significance. Sometimes, it is a journey to a shrine of importance to a person's beliefs and faith.

Some journeys I have undertaken with fierce determination. Each journey to India has been a small part of a larger search for significance, for myself. It indeed is an outward expression of great changes that have and continue to occur inside of me. Some journeys have been much more private, less advertised, and felt more deeply to those who share an intimacy with me. Sometimes it feels that allowing yourself to be still the place of significance takes the long journey toward you.

"If you take one step toward the point, the point takes ten steps toward you." Manorama

Mike and I found ourselves on the banks of Walden Pond yesterday. The sky was moody, and the moon would be full later that night. After two months in Providence it was totally worth the wait.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

...is the transformation







Why I practice?

1. Clarity
2. Precision
3. Simplicity
4. Lucidity

Monday, September 28, 2009

6 weeks until Philly

I am so excited about coming back to Philadelphia to teach and spend some time with my awesome yoga teacher practicing yoga. I must admit I have been a "bad lady" when it has come to this blog. I apologize. I have been pretty lackadaisical lately when it comes to sharing this experience. The ground in Providence has shifted and moved under my feet so many times in the last two months. I had all these grand ideas about making practice videos for this blog (I have discovered some BIG gems practicing in my little shala). I can't even seem to write or post a picture.

This is my commitment to write or post a picture everyday for the next six weeks. Here is just some of what I have been mulling over in the mountain ranges of my mind.


A method is a way of doing.

If you are a vinyasa yoga teacher what is your method? In an essay David Foster Wallace describes the difference between writing fiction and non-fiction. In this essay he states the big challenge of writing non fiction is that the writer has "total freedom of infinite choice about what to choose to attend to and represent and connect and how and why." Sound familiar? Maybe my TT brain just turns on this time of year. I think that statement says it all about what makes a meaningful vinyasa class. What do you think?

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Bija

A good teacher is known for planing seeds in their students and then being unattached to the growth of those seeds. Efforting to plant and then efforting to step back. Over the last four weeks I have been planting. If you live in Providence you have seen me on a flier. If you have had a job to offer you have seen my resume. If you are a manager of a restaurant on the West Side, yup! you have seen me there as well. Four weeks of planting and the seeds are starting to sprout.

I have faith in this process because I have seen the fruit on the mat. The seeds of breath, energy, and focus have colored my practices with lushness.

Practice is a seed of effort, the catch.
Vairagya is the effort of standing back, the release.

How do you drop back with grace? Marry the the two in your mind, breath, body, but most importantly in your heart. How do you move to a new city and make a life? You practice the drop back of living finding just the right balance of falling and just the right quality of catching.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Major Meltdown...Mysore Coming

Yesterday it happened. Like a giant damn broke in my body and I just lost it. Trying to put a life together out of Providence thin air is really no small thing. There are some things that seem to be coming together. The Mysore program at Motion Center is filling up fast and people seem to be excited about it and have been longing for it for some time. Finding other work has been the big snafu. Spending the last nine years honing in on yoga skills has its benefits for sure, but out there in the rest of the world it has me falling flat as a potential employee.


Pretty soon the Mysore program will begin and I'll be coming back to Philly for some workshops and all will be less melty. It is time to go into my little shala and breathe and love and practice.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Rehydrating a mushroom

This is the beginning of my third week in Providence. I kind of feel a bit like a two year old. The emotional pendulum swings so wildly. One moment I am basking in the glow of receiving a call to come in and audition for a class at the Boston Sports Club, and the next moment I am questioning what the #$%@ I am doing here. I am questioning how long my unemployment status will go on, and how many hours can Mike and I stare at each other in this heat without break.

On the practice front I am pleased to say that I am returning to the mat with regularity, vigorously scribbling thoughts into my current notebook, and hosting some guest in my yoga room (maybe you'll be next). My yoga room has finally transformed into my office now that we have Internet through the entire house. With little to do I am also reading a lot. Some yoga material, but others books, fascinating books, books like I used to read when I lived in NY and took the subway everywhere. That feels like a return to something solid and exciting.

Other things that this Providence life is inspiring:

We have one TV with very little to offer so it is off like 90% of the time.
Mike and I are riding our bikes everywhere. My car hasn't moved in three weeks.
Eating local. We have this amazing farmers market every Thursday and that's where we do all the produce and dairy shopping.

Sure I miss Philly. I miss all the yoga students. I miss the comfort, and security. I feel the fire of Tapas, and although I am afraid I think I like it.

By the end of this week (at least according to my dry erase board) I'll have a fully updated workshop schedule. Including stops in Philly and a retreat in Guatemala!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Two Weeks and Two Days

This is not a vacation. I am not coming home Philly. I will not be resuming the Saturday and Tuesday yoga time slots anytime soon. I am not preparing for Teacher Training. This is some weird stuff.

I am trying to find my way. Reestablish a real relationship with myself and the practice of yoga. Providence has a quiet way about it, and its authentic silence, its off the grid-ness, is allowing me, and I can hear Micheal Carroll in my head even as I write this, to drop the cape. Even more so I am asking myself to drop the costume.

You know what I am talking about!

I have been reading from my notebooks before I start practice. Trying to find those gems that make their way into yoga classes that I teach. Trying to inspire myself. This morning I read something that I wrote boldly in the margin. It said, "You've got devotion, now what?"
Now What?

I woke up this morning with a clear vision, and an urgency, an energy to begin the exploration of just that question. I hope that this begins a daily blog of this very interesting journey. Finding myself in Providence, and exploring the action of devotion. I have said this in yoga class and I am repeating here, where bhakti (devotion) meets shakti (energy) that intersection...that's abhyasa...that's practice, and as always..that's the juice.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Letting Go

What a concept. Putting this into practice is a whole different story. Yogis say, "Svaha!" sometimes when you don't know what else to say. I can feel myself battling the familiar, trying desperately to arrange things in the way I that I think they should go. I just told a friend yesterday about my crazy Spring filled with emotions and depression. I told her that I saw one of those inspirational cards that caught my eye. It said, "if you are at the end of your rope, hold on." For her I think this advice is true, for me, right now, at this very time, this very moment I am at the end of this rope and I have got to find a way to LET GO.

Today and tomorrow Philadelphia.

Next stop Providence.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

One Year Ago

I had just landed for my third time in India. I remember when I thought that traveling to, practicing in, and traveling around India was an impossibility. Although last year was the third it was my first time alone, and it was the longest stretch away from my husband and home. The very first night I dropped to my knees (no joke) and cried. I couldn't imagine how this was all going to work, nine weeks without working, nine weeks without my husband, nine weeks in India. I was up all night.

Nine years after planting in Philadelphia I am leaving. I was up all night. Well, not all night, but Mike and I were awake from 3ish until the soft sunrise. I can't image how this is all going to work out. I am starting to freak out.

Tonight is the last Tuesday night class for me at Wake Up, and Saturday is the final class, and there is a party after so hope to see so many sweet faces before the long Philly pause.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

What I Like About You

Not to long ago I sent some students, and colleagues and email entitled, "Getting my shit together." The email was a cry for help. As I prepare to leave this city so many people have been asking, "you're coming back to teach some workshops, right?" I have been told by many that I am good at what I do. I know that I love teaching yoga, and I love the subject itself. It would be then impossible (especially given the number of years that I have been at this) not have have some skill. But as I tried to parcel out what was it that I was good at I couldn't see the forest through the vrkshasana's.

Here is some of the feedback, and if you have more please email it to me.


There has never been a class I've taken with Jill that I haven't: a) learned
something, b) been inspired, and c) smiled. All three are enormously
important to me both in my practice and my life. Her depth of knowledge is
something to behold.


Jill is a teacher whose skill and patience are revealed to surprising new depths every time you practice with her. When you begin to feel you've arrived someplace, she is there to illuminate whole new levels and elements of practice, and to encourage you onwards. She offers concrete, matter-of-fact instruction in both the physical and energetic aspects of yoga practice, balancing the joy of asana with the focus and repetition required for mastery. Her guidance has been a continual revelation as I've worked towards a deeper understanding of practice.


So, I will do my best to explain what it is that makes me avoid social plans on Tuesday evenings and Sat mornings as best i can: the you in you that shines through so honestly, your sense of humor, your ability to demonstrate poses with grace and ease that helps give me a confidence so I feel as if I can do the same, your knowledge of asanas so that classes are designed in a way that my body seems to move in ways I wouldnt' think I was capable of ( this in itself builds a sense of confidence I have in you as a teacher and also a confidence in myself), your ability to use your voice to guide my movemennt and breath to sinc and move almost lavishly, and the quotes and themes woven into your classes...I forgot to mention those...many have supported me through some rough spots in my life.

I began a more dedicated practice during and following TT with you, and over the years have had the pleasure of not only watching my own practice grow, but yours as well. What I mean to say is that you are a student yourself, and when you teach, you seem to always draw from both your student and teacher experiences in a way that is so human, so grounding. What I have really grown to appreciate about studying with you is your ability to take poses apart, down to the nitty gritty, and then put them back together like a puzzle, piece by piece, drawing clear connections from one pose to the next. It really doesn't matter what the focus is..backbends or binding...whatever you choose. It's your style of teaching, of getting to know each student, offering options, and building logically and simply (sometimes) from the ground up that really makes you someone I want to learn from and study with.

Friday, June 19, 2009

6 weeks and counting

My last class that I will teach in Philadelphia will be led traditionally counted Ashtanga Yoga class at Yoga Squared. After I actually studied and learned the count I was off to Mysore for my 2nd trip to the Shala. Those first days in India are rough. The jet lag is just crazy, and when I couldn't fall asleep I would practice the count. Instead of sheep, I would be laying on a very thin mattress counting vinyasa's. I used to speak of the word "vinyasa" as a qualitative term that many people agree on, meaning "to place in a special way." I liked the way that this term implied thoughtfulness and craft.

I no longer define "vinyasa" in this way. Now, for me, vinyasa is the understanding of movement. How many movements in Surya Namaskara A? Surya A has 9 vinyasa's, nine (very carefully placed) movements. Triangle has 5. Janu A 22. Marichayasana C and D 19, and ect. It is a complex/simple way of really understanding how efficient a yoga can be. How to break it a part and put it back together.

Although the count has become so much more apart of me, I still find myself counting myself to sleep. It is just that steady, and now more than ever before I am looking for what's steady, and not that interested in what's new.

Monday, June 15, 2009

The.....



In Sanskrit it is called rasam. Here in Philly, I just refer to it as "the juice." What's the juice you ask? I prefer to practice with juice in my heart and juicy-ness in every movement. I like to teach and stay with the juice encouraging students to be juicy, pulpy, etc. I say this so much that a student/friend titled a play list on her I-tunes, "walking the juice." Another beloved student who is working in India right now sent me this photo.

The Subject... For Jill, With Love (from Bhubaneswar)

I guess she found in India, and thought of me. That's the Juice!

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Countdown Continues

Mike hates when I keep a count on the calendar. I routinely do this. There have been countdowns to David's arrival, the wedding countdown, the India countdown, and now we have the countdown until the move. When I have these little numbers written marking the weeks until something important, Mike likes to call it the countdown to destruction. I know by heart the weeks until the move. 7 weeks from this very day. 7 Friday's from this one the house will be totally boxed up, and I Mike and I will load a truck up with all those boxes...ugg..

I managed to practice five times this week, and there was really no excuse for not practicing on Wednesday. I just couldn't get it done. I always feel better after practice. Always. Since Guruji's passing I have really clung to practice, it is a direct way to feel closer to Mysore. My classes have been swimming right along, and I am giving one last drop-back workshop next Saturday in Jersey at a really sweet yoga shala, YogaWood.

I am also in the process of putting together some workshops/intensives/etc for the fall/winter before I leave for Mysore. If you want the most updated info/email blast make sure you get on the list at my website, jillmanning.com.

I am going to continue to go with the flow and swim in the ocean of yoga. Ride ON!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Moving

Doesn't everyone hate moving? Here I am in the midst of this epic move. Everything is moving, even my bank account has to move to a new home. To tell the truth I think I started the moving process as soon as Mike was clear that he was going to apply to graduate school. On many levels I am ready to change and to hit the refresh button, and I am at other times wishing for the comfort and the stability that Philadelphia brings.

Practice is strong, but my body feels really grumpy.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

It's 3am...

After one of those fantastic Philadelphia days....class was awesome, juicy, and rocking, then coffee and laughs with friends, a long Reggae walk with the dogs, yoga movie with yoga friends, then Mexican food and a margarita, home by 10pm (practice tomorrow) but at 3am I am now wide awake.

Why am I leaving again? The parade of strangers roaming through the house started this week. Who will be in residence here? What about my yoga classes, my students? This years Teacher Trainee's will not benefit from my endless wit and wisdom, catch heat from the post India glow, they won't get the Guruji/Sharath/Lakshism/Jayashree-isms. Am I failing this community that I have been such a part of?

Is it really smart to jump out of a perfectly good airplane?

To be honest the airplane has been slowly breaking down for some time now, and jumping out it what I need to do to figure some things out and get the clarity that only space can bring. There is nothing comfortable about yoga (future TT's take note) and there is nothing comfortable about taking chances and that is what I am doing. Providence in August, India in January...it's 3am, I must be crazy.

Jai Ho!

Friday, May 22, 2009

10 weeks 'til Providence

This is why after much consideration I am not getting on a plane to Mysore next week. If Mike and I were staying in Philly, there would be no stopping me from celebrating Guruji's life in my beloved Mysore, India. There is just way too much to do, and maybe I am better serving the yoga community here in Philadelphia by continuing to teach, being present right up until I leave.

I relied heavily on practice this week, there is something so profound abut keeping a tradition alive. I could feel practice was bringing Guruji into my heart, and my breath. Taking another cue from Guruji's life, I emailed the Sanskrit Professor at Brown University about attending the Sanskrit class there. I think his response was one of the most intense emails I have ever received. I am in, but I have been warned...it is going to be no joke.

I am having a little gathering at my shala (house) tonight to celebrate the light and life of Guruji, Sri K. Pattabhi Jois if you are interested in coming just send my an email, and I give the details.

Jai Guruji

Monday, May 18, 2009

What more to say about him




Inspiration:

a : a divine influence or action on a person believed to qualify him or her to receive and communicate sacred revelation

b : the action or power of moving the intellect or emotions

c : the act of influencing or suggesting opinions 2 : the act of drawing in; specifically : the drawing of air into the lungs 3 a : the quality or state of being inspired

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Notes from Practice

Getting up for yourself is key. I subbed for Karen this morning at Yoga Squared. Practice does not begin until 9am on Sunday, so in order for me to practice I had to get there and get practicing by 7:15am. I got up got dressed and made it to the mat. Often on Sunday I design my practice to be very vigorous, a full 2nd series practice complete with dropbacks and advanced backbending. Since my new goal is to pick up more of a Mysore life style I decided to practice primary instead. While I was moving and breathing and gazing I could feel a connection between the cylinder of the rib cage and the sway of the pelvis. I also created (riffing on the vinyasa class I taught yesterday) how essential it is to arch the upper spine but keep some coiled in roundness in the pelvis when jumping or should I say floating forward.

Leading a Mysore practice is a really interesting skill, and it does take practice to manage the room. Over the past two years I think that I have found my intention and voice and sharpened my eyes, and direct each student with calmness and confidence. I really enjoy this style of teaching. I just feel clicked into the Shala, and in service to the great teachers who have guided me.

I am teaching for Vanessa tonight at Wake Up Yoga, Fairmount at 5:30pm...come and chant with me and my harmonium finishing the weekend strong!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Mysore Style

I have really been struggling lately with all this change, with all the answers being "you, know, I don't know." In this struggle I have kind of gotten down. I feel messy, practice is messy, and don't even get me started on the state of my car. I woke up this morning ready to be honest, and get back to business. All teacher training season I make the argument that I can't practice at 6:30 am if I am not getting home from TT until 10pm. Well TT has been over for one month and I have shifted in schedule I have not shifted my attitude. I remember that little sweet swami lady in Rishikesh saying that, "yoga is an attitude." I am ready to return to a Mysore style. I am ready to practice and be at peace with all that means. To put mySelf first and forget the rest of the drama.

In about 11 weeks I am leaving Philadelphia, for life unknown. So much change, so many familiar routines gone. I am excited and scared. I am teaching at 9 am at Yoga Squared, and I will be there early practicing raising my energy that I can teach form a place of energy, and love.

The goal this week is to practice 6 days, rest appropriately, and spend more time with people who invite Rama not the Drama.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Let's try this again

I am feeling so great after a week by myself in NYC with Sharath, and about two hundred fellow Ashtangi's. It was like a little Mysore experience, a perfect echo, just what I needed.

I just got back from a fantastic practice. It felt so nice to dive back into second after spending 5 practices of primary keeping in step with Sharath's count....Navasana supta inhale.....1...2...........3...(seriously.) I am pumped to be heading up the Mysore program from Tuesday on this week at Yoga Squared. Getting ready to end this chapter of my life strong, come and practice.

Love. Love.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Push it Along

I thought that I was there last week, but now I see that I really didn't know how long the rope that was unraveling inside me really was. I think I can safely say now that I have come to the end of the rope and I am ready to be honest with myself and move forward. Some people thrive on stress. I do not. The conclusion of Teacher Training has now allowed me to release some stress, free up some time, and begin the letting go.

I am so excited to be heading to NY this afternoon for a week long practice with Sharath. My practice is in desperate need of a tune up, and my spirit longs for an injection of "the juice."

I will be blogging all week from NY....I promise (amanda)

I am giving a dropbacks workshop on the 9th of May (check my website) and space is limited so sign up and drop back!! I'll be teaching through the month of July, then Mike, Charlie, Angie, and I will be off to Providence to hit the refresh button and begin again.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

This Week's Practice Plan

If you have ever read my sister Joy blog you know that her "yoga life" is a food life. Just like my husband who is a photographer for a living but also a photographer for life. I will most likely drop the title yoga teacher when I arrive in my new home, but I will not drop the practice. It is really very interesting when what you "do", is really what you love. The idea of leaving work at the office (well in our cases there is no office) is ridiculous. That said trying maintain a healthy balance of teaching, giving, offering, and making a living has made many a yoga teacher (including myself) lose track of a daily practice.

Taking a good tip from my sister who tries to balance eating out and maintaining a healthy weight I am posting my practice schedule, and will report back at the end of each week with a recap.

This Week

Sunday April 12th-Saturday April 18th

Sunday 9am Mysore at Yoga Squared (I am about to leave for that one!)

Monday 6:30am Mysore at Yoga Squared

Tuesday 7am Mysore at Yoga Squared

Wednesday Sleep in and find an afternoon Vinyasa class (TT party aka Teacher Training Graduation! is that night)

Thursday I am teaching at 6:30am at Yoga Squared, I hope to grab a friend and practice after

Friday This is also up in the air

Saturday Take Rest

Goal

4 Mysore, and 1 Vinyasa

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Playing Catch Up

The entire month of April feels like one big blur. Now that I know where I am going to land, I can focus. Mike and I have decided that he will be attending the Rhode Island School of Design this fall, and we will be setting up shop in Providence.

Some things on my mind.

I am creating a list of all the things I want to do before leaving Philly. Please send suggestions!

I am ready to recommit to morning practices at Yoga Squared especially now that TT is closing on Wednesday.

I am getting ready to create a vision board (yes I make these.)

I am giving a workshop at Yoga Squared this afternoon (the weather couldn't be agreeing more) come and wrap your arms tightly around yourself and get closer to yourself, and the experience on yoga!

Monday, April 06, 2009

Seriously Grumpy

I have reached the end of this rope that has been unraveling inside me this morning. At first I thought this could be fun, pick up and move to a whole new city, you know have a real adventure. I am now 9 days away from knowing in which city this new adventure take place.

I am leaving for Providence in about an hour. I am not really prepared. I am bringing my camera and computer, so I can blog about the New England yoga scene.

See you next week...there are still some spots remaining in the binding workshop on Saturday...check the website, and see you then!

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Time After Time (this is a rant)

I have never been late for anything. Both of my parents were incredibly intense with time. If you weren't 10 minutes early...you were in fact late. I have carried this into my adult life completely. I once told my boss at the NYU Information Center that if I wasn't there on time I wasn't coming. As I get older I realize that this "good" habit, isn't always so polite, or necessary. Lately I find myself sitting in my car, a little penalty box, being punished for the offense of ridiculously early arrival.

Spending so much time in India has helped. This is one of the many countries where time is more fluid. Everything in India apparently takes "5 minutes." This is code for 1 hour, 15 minutes, but mostly I don't know. Last week I was at Jivamukti Yoga and the class was scheduled to end at 4:30pm, but at 4:30 there was about 15 minutes to go before the teacher wrapped the whole thing up. I spent so much of that class watching the clock, distracted, annoyed that I really should have asked for my money back.

This is the point. When I am teaching a class, I know that the students can relax and totally surrender, free themselves to have an experience because they trust in me to end class on time. By honoring time, I am honoring the students. We all have BIG lives and it is arrogant to think that your teaching is so invaluable that missing your husband, train, bus, next appointment etc. in not important.

There I sat yesterday...completely missing out of the teaching because I did not trust the teacher to honor me and my classmates, or honor the time that we should all spend together. Having that experience I am glad that I watch the time, and give the students in my class the freedom to have an experience watching their body, mind, and breath, instead of the clock.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Take me to the River


Traveling through India this fall, the beginning of the festival season, I landed in Rishikesh on the final day of the Ganesha Caturthi. At the conclusion of puja on the Holy Ganga, Ganesha is placed in the river and set free in the powerful stream. When the group I was traveling with went for the Ashram’s orientation the woman in white smiled and said how happy she was that we were there for the Ganesh Immersion. I wrote in my notebook that night.

“Ganesh Immersion. Take me to the river, and let me go!”

On this wet spring day it is clear that only through this immersion will the city begin to bloom. I am really excited about the immersions that I am offering that may have you too blooming this spring.

As many of you know my beloved husband has been accepted into some really amazing MFA programs. While it is still a bit unclear where we will relocate, we will be leaving Philadelphia sometime this August and washing down the river. Until then come and practice, breathe, and share the magic of yoga. For the most up to date information, and upcoming Mysore dates check:

http://www.jillmanning.com/index.html



Dive In:

Better Binding
A Close Look at Postures Marichyasana A through Garbha Pindasana
Saturday April 11, 2009
1:00pm -5:00pm

Yoga Squared
1923 Chestnut Street, 3R
Philadelphia, PA

$50
For more information, please contact Jill, yoga@jillmanning.com.

Hold Me Closer Cosmic Dancer
Sunday April 12, 2009
12:00pm -2:00pm

Jai
727 Montgomery Ave
Narberth, PA

$45, pre-registration, $50 day of
This “master" class has been designed to celebrate Shiva in the form of Natarajasana, the cosmic dancer and the cosmic dance known as Tandava. On the eve of Shivratri we will celebrate the divine art form. Tandava is a dance performed by Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati (Shakti.) According to Hindu mythology, Shiva's Tandava is a vigorous dance that is the source of the cycle of creation, preservation and dissolution. While the Rudra (Shiva’s Vedic name) Tandava depicts his violent nature, first as the creator and later as the destroyer of the universe, even of death itself; the Ananda (Bliss) Tandava depicts him as the enjoyer of his creation - the universe. In Indian tradition, Lord Shiva as Nataraja (Cosmic Dancer) is the supreme lord of dance. This will be a pure celebration as we honor all of these qualities with a practice that includes call and response chanting, breath practices, and a vigorous asana practice that will have us dancing in Shiva’s image and approaching Natarajasana in all of its many forms.
OM Namah Shivaya!


Spring Forward, Drop Back
Saturday May 9, 2009
1:00pm -4:00pm

Wake Up Yoga
2329 Parrish Street
Philadelphia, PA
$50, Early Registration Incentive: $45 if enrolled by 4/24/09
Space is Limited, register early!!!
Are you terrified of dropping back? Have you created mythology around
this practice telling yourself that it is something designed for someone
more flexible, younger, someone with more strength, or maybe just more
chutzpa? Then this workshop has been designed for you.

In this workshop we will explore the qualities of “dropping back”
that are embedded into the fabric of every single vinyasa yoga class. By
learning to utilize the natural curves of the spine, and exploring organic
undulations throughout the entire practice we will make connections so
that dropping back is as simple (not easy) as learning to stand (we will
explore that as well.)

Points of Exploration and Practice:
Learning to Crawl and Fall
Minding Your Head while Opening Your Heart
“Don’t Fear”

Foundation First
Saturday & Sunday, May 16 & 17, 2009
Saturday, 1:00pm -5:00pm, Sunday 12:00pm - 4:00pm
Yoga Squared
1923 Chestnut Street, 3R
Philadelphia, PA
$108
For more information, please contact Jill, yoga@jillmanning.com.

The goal of the workshop is to provide students with a clear understanding and awareness of the Ashtanga methodology as taught by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois of Mysore, India. By calling upon the guidance of her teacher, David Keil, and her experiences during her three pilgrimages to Mysore (’06, ’07, ’08), Jill will lay a proper and strong foundation on which the students can confidently build self-practices and continue their studies. Over the course of the weekend, the class will explore the foundations of Ashtanga practice by studying the external postures and working to develop awareness of the more subtle aspects such as the prana (breath), bandha (energy) and dristi (focus). Throughout the class Jill will cover the opening and closing mantras, some history on the origin of Ashtanga, debunk some widespread myths, share some personal tips and tricks as well her own stock of stories and experiences. The weekend will culminate with led (traditionally counted) practice of the asanas (postures) covered during instruction.
The workshop is open to practitioners of all levels; whether just beginning to explore the system or looking to clear up any confusion, hopefully all attendees will fall in love with the divine details and keep these lessons close for a long time.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

One Love (Reggae walks with my dogs)

On the ride to DC this weekend I was reminded that my blog has not been updated in a while, and at the same time I totally realized that maybe people do read this blog. This has been a time for great change, and now I am finally coming to grips with the fact that I am pausing on this Philly life, and picking up somewhere else. This place has yet to be revealed, my bet is on either Chicago or Providence, RI.

I am again committing to blogging through this experience of change. Sharing this transition through the lens of yoga as a practice of teaching, and as the big picture practice. I am trying to fill in the calendar so that my time here in Philly can be shared with the large and fantastic yoga community. Be sure to check the website, stop into class, or fully immerse in a workshop (there are some great ones on the horizon.)

Monday, March 23, 2009

Love. Practice.


This is how Manorama says engaged with students. She will randomly send text messages that very simply state "Love. Practice." Those two little words situated next to each other have embedded into my mind and transformed into a little mantra in and of themselves.

Bhakti. Abhyasa.

Daivd was here this week and when I saw him on Tuesday I felt so connected to that mantra, love...practice. In a very relaxed and clear state I practiced with love and affection for so many blessings. As I practiced yesterday morning with a small group under the steady 2nd series count, all that I could feel was love for those in the room and Love for those far away, and that practice is not about fireworks, the big bursts of connection, but steadiness, and regularity.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Shiva Phase...Full On!



I guess it all stared with this last trip to India. Guruji was running the show trip one, with all his super Brahma energy. Sarasvati was holding down the shala second trip, with all her bhakti to keep her father's work going. It was mind blowing to be in her care. This summer it was the Summer of Sharath...full Shiva effect.

So many things broke...may alarm clock, my flashlight, my computer. So many other things felt the turn, the completion of a long cycle.

I haven't been blogging so much because even here it feels that Shiva is in full effect. Mike is being accepted into graduate programs, and it seems that this phase of my Philly life is ending and a new phase is beginning.

I am so blessed. I just returned from the inspiring beauty of Costa Rica into the inspiring hands of my teacher.

In any phase life is good.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Snow Falling....Spring Calling

This is just a quick note to share my excitement for the hatching of
Spring. Even as I sit here in my office feeling like I am in my very own
snow globe, I know that all this wetness is just the nourishment that
nature needs to fully come into bloom.

I have just updated my Spring workshop schedule on jillmanning.com, so be
sure to check it out...there are loads of juicy offerings, workshops that
will have you dropping back, wrapping around your Self, and experiencing
your inner Shiva.

I have been reading this lovely little book from Thich Nhat Hanh titled,
The Blooming of a Lotus. It is helping me during these very confusing,
and uncertain times feel a bit less stressed, a bit more at home with what
is...

"In letting go, we learn that true happiness can only come by way of
freedom, an awakened life, and the practice of love and compassion."

Love. Compassion.


http://www.jillmanning.com/

Friday, February 20, 2009

The Sandhi of it All

I have been very absent with the blogging, but if you could get a peek inside my head. I feel like I have endless streams of thought, that are less like steams and more like very complex mazes, or sudoku puzzles. I am constantly in search of how the dots connect, how all the pieces fit together.

If you can break it apart and put it back together you've got it! I feel like I have been speaking the "sandhi of asana" for so long now, how the shapes break apart and can be put back together, how understanding the purity of say, a foundational asana points to the complex riddle of asana's like Marichyasana. How the fundamental is in there deeply embedded. Can you pull it all apart and put it back together?

Two weeks until Costa Rica!!!!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Big Yoga Week

Workshop this Sunday!!


Hold Me Closer Cosmic Dancer
Sunday February 22, 2009
1pm -4pm

Yoga Wood
688 Haddon Ave
Collingswood, NJ
info@yogawood.com

$45, pre-registration is required

This “master" class has been designed to celebrate Shiva in the form of Natarajasana, the cosmic dancer and the cosmic dance known as Tandava. On the eve of Shivratri we will celebrate the divine art form. Tandava is a dance performed by Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati (Shakti.) According to Hindu mythology, Shiva's Tandava is a vigorous dance that is the source of the cycle of creation, preservation and dissolution. While the Rudra (Shiva’s Vedic name) Tandava depicts his violent nature, first as the creator and later as the destroyer of the universe, even of death itself; the Ananda (Bliss) Tandava depicts him as the enjoyer of his creation - the universe. In Indian tradition, Lord Shiva as Nataraja (Cosmic Dancer) is the supreme lord of dance. This will be a pure celebration as we honor all of these qualities with a practice that includes call and response chanting, breath practices, and a vigorous asana practice that will have us dancing in Shiva’s image and approaching Natarajasana in all of its many forms.
OM Namah Shivaya!

Mysore this week at Yoga Squared:

Sun-Thurs (moon day TuesdaY)

Friday, February 13, 2009

(down) and UP for the Count

Last Friday after I taught the Led Primary class at Yoga Squared I felt a little off. I came home walked the dogs and felt very off. I soldiered on practiced yoga, and went to bed early. The next morning I woke up at 6:45am because I was too uncomfortable to sleep. I soldiered on, and taught class, and went to the Sanskrit workshop given Ma.

The next morning I could go on no more. I have been horizontal pretty much ever since. I missed an entire week of work, practice, and so much of my life. Talk about leaning into the pause. I was back teaching this morning picking up where I left off, but today I felt really on. I am heading out to practice myself and I am so excited to announce that photographer, and husband Mike Mergen has a gallery reception tonight of his amazing India work.

Here is the link...please come!

http://www.ucartsleague.org/

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Trying to Know the Unknowable

Picking the blog back up after meeting my January goal. I am continually inspired by my sister's blog (see side bar.) People really seem to connect with her, and her struggle with weight and body image, and her penchant for good food. She gave me a copy of her book that will be out the March, Almost Meatless. She went through it and highlighted all the recipes that can be perfectly designed to be adapted for vegetarians.

Once again I am reminded that practice is hard. For me "yoga" is just not a buzz word or a concept. The word itself is a verb, a word of action, not a place to retreat and not something to hide behind, but something which we must stand up into.

I am really excited about some upcoming events...


MYSORE WEEK at Yoga Squared (just come in and practice)
This is a great chance to climb in! Commit to the whole week, and have an experience!
Sunday Feb 22nd- Thursday Feb. 26th, Led Primary on Friday Feb 27th.
6:30am-9am


Hold Me Closer Cosmic Dancer
Sunday February 22, 2009
1pm -4pm

Yoga Wood
688 Haddon Ave
Collingswood, NJ
info@yogawood.com

$45, pre-registration is required

This “master" class has been designed to celebrate Shiva in the form of Natarajasana, the cosmic dancer and the cosmic dance known as Tandava. On the eve of Shivratri we will celebrate the divine art form. Tandava is a dance performed by Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati (Shakti.) According to Hindu mythology, Shiva's Tandava is a vigorous dance that is the source of the cycle of creation, preservation and dissolution. While the Rudra (Shiva’s Vedic name) Tandava depicts his violent nature, first as the creator and later as the destroyer of the universe, even of death itself; the Ananda (Bliss) Tandava depicts him as the enjoyer of his creation - the universe. In Indian tradition, Lord Shiva as Nataraja (Cosmic Dancer) is the supreme lord of dance. This will be a pure celebration as we honor all of these qualities with a practice that includes call and response chanting, breath practices, and a vigorous asana practice that will have us dancing in Shiva’s image and approaching Natarajasana in all of its many forms.
OM Namah Shivaya!

Saturday, January 31, 2009

31st post...

Ok

I didn't blog everyday this month, but I am managing to post 31 blogs for 31 days. It feels good. I think it made the month fly by with such quickness, and the cold seem somehow less cold.

I don't have very many words right now. I taught this morning at 10am, and then gave the first part of a Foundational Workshop at Yoga Square to 29 students.

I am like Ekam, one, what...oh! yeah! inhale.

I like giving these workshops it makes me feel like I am calling some of my beloved teachers energies into the room with me. Tomorrow is the 1st day of a whole new month, February. I think I might change the blog title...28 days of love, or Costa Rica coming, or maybe No Sleep 'til April (this is when I find out what's next.)

What is immediately next, walk the dogs, sleep, practice, and teach.

Love. Practice. Breathe.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Refresh Button

I have been trying to hit the refresh button all month long. It feels like my whole system just crashed. Practice was going great this month until this Moon day which was also a Monday, I took rest and have been resting ever since. I feel that there is this underlying sickness that is keeping me away from yoga practice, well at least yoga practice on the mat.

I was going to write about my yoga date last night, but other than spending time with Doug there was nothing positive about the experience, so I am going stay silent...except this....yoga teachers should not chew gum while teaching, nor should they be rude to you at the front desk. Ok that's enough about that.

I am really excited about the Foundations workshop tomorrow, and the Shiva workshop in Jersey at the end of the month. I went walking with Linn, and some dogs yesterday in the snowy, icy Wissahickon. She reminded me that as we walked the Taj together I did put it out there that I wanted to move my yoga teaching in a certain direction, and now it is totally there. I also slipped on some ice, and felt free to be me.

I am going to hibernate the rest of the day, and be silent, and find some space to feel where I want to turn next.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Common People

It seems that this has become a hiccup for some when it comes understanding that recent post quoting from the Hatha Yoga Pradipika about success in yoga.

Here is the commentary on the phrase "common people."

"During the period of sadhana you may find it useless to mix with people who have lower aspirations. At that stage, the less you involve yourself with others the more your inner knowledge can grow. Of course, a sadhaka should not consider the others to be inferior, but until his physical, mental, emotional, and psychic resistance are developed, it is better to stay away from social interactions and negative influences."

I just spoke about this in class the other day, about surrounding yourself with little Ganesha's everywhere...people in your life who open doors, inspire change, and lead by example. So, maybe instead of saying avoiding the company of common people one could say surround yourself with extraordinary or uncommon people.

It IS a small world

Yoga student, chai wallah, and all around blog lover directed me to this blog. It is super cute, and I started browsing the blog I found this very catchy number about Y-O-G-A, and also found this video that my husbands best friend, Chris did for Slate V this past spring.



Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Success

Enthusiasm, perseverance, discrimination, unshakeable faith, courage, avoiding the company of common people, are the (6 causes) which bring success in yoga.

Hatha Yoga Pradipika

Get Vertical

There are some days it all seems so easy, and light, and sublime. Then there are days like today. I can't even believe I am vertical enough to be typing this. If I could describe my life right now, I might call it swirling into the unknown. So much change is in the air, so many I don't knows, so much unsaid.

Yesterday was the moon day, and I think I should have squeezed in some kind of practice. An alphabet, a bajan, something. The Foundations Workshop this weekend has only four spots remaining (as of Sunday.) If you are interested you should sign up ASAP. http://www.yogasquared.com/

Mike is heading back out of town for his first ever solo show in Minnesota. He is also having a solo show in Philly in February check it out!

http://www.ucartsleague.org/exhibits/

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Intensity

I love yoga, and I love to practice, but sometimes it does feel like this thing that I HAVE to do. As I was getting ready for bed last night, I left it up in the air if I would set my alarm, and get up to practice. I took the pressure off the whole situation, and softened around the whole thing. I did get up, and I did make it to practice. I actually remembered how much fun practice can be, and that some days I just take myself way to seriously.

Tomorrow is the new moon, and so I can sleep in and maybe I'll get to a vinyasa class, maybe I'll rest.

While I was intensely practicing in India, my husband was working on his own intense project. His photo's from his trip can be found in the latest issue of Mother Jones magazine, and they are featured online. Check it out!

http://www.motherjones.com/photos/photos-the-other-1600-pennsylv/

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Sit with that


Teacher Training felt pretty amazing last night. We have arrived at the point where I can see the dots connecting, and even while some share their thoughts you can see the thought change internally, they pause, and think about what they really think. As I was falling asleep I remembered how at conference Sharath knew when to answer the question, and he knew when to let a students question hang in the Shala's atmosphere, and then go on to another question. I threaded this experience back to my struggle with Pasasana http://jillmanning.blogspot.com/2008/07/oh-what-pitiful-pasasana-you-have.html, and how I was so desperately wanting Sharath's help, and how I was doubting that he was even paying attention to me. As I began to bind (on my own) regularly he then moved me forward. He gave me the gift of me struggling to answer my own questions.


After the dropbacks workshop last week, I began to wonder if I stressed enough the process, struggle, the inability to do, the inner strength that is cultivated when working through something that is very difficult, frighting, and intense. The bonds of yoga are formed by this shared acknowledgment of, "boy, that stuff is tough!" When I meet someone who can read Sanskrit quickly I feel bonded to them, when I meet someone who has sat for an hour waiting to practice at the Shala, I am bonded to them. It is like we waded into the water not really knowing how deep, or if we could swim to the other side, but there we are on the other side together with another vast body of water before us. We continue to wade, at the point there is no turning back.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Reclaim

This is the first time in a long time that I am going to make my goal of 6 practices in one week. The week started out really strong with that amazing trip to NYC to practice. That practice, and lecture reminded me of all that is important about the study and practice of yoga.

Yesterday I went up to study again this time sound, and sound harmony, sutra, and mantra. I began the process of seeing how Sanskrit sounds merge together and how with practice the skilled student can break apart those sounds and meaning pours out. A once obscure idea, become powerfully clear. It was a very hard lesson, and a hard commute. It is so strange how I choose to spend my "day off."

Such change is all around, and on so many levels. I feel different, I feel everything I know changing. A friend wrote me an email this week so inspiring about how she is taking back her practice. As I sat with those thoughts, and I still sit with them I keep hearing fragments of this poem:

Paul Valery
"The very sequence of your act is to take back,
To flow back so as not to break
The integrity of the water's body!"

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Seeing the Rama in the Drama

I really dislike drama. Sometimes even while I am teaching, I'll say let's try that again, this time without the drama. I say this because I speak the same way to myself about the practice of asana, especially Kapotasana. Sometimes holding what you believe to be true really creates ripples of drama all around. Like an energetic boomerang, the ripples find their way right back to you. My dad always said growing up, quoting I believe Shakespeare, "the truth will set you free."

I do feel free. If only I shake of the drama.

Going to see a playful and charming lady about all things yoga tomorrow, hopefully some will rub off onto me.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

"Mr. President, you set the bar!"


Notes from Sunday

These are just little threads that I am pulling from my notes at this moment. I took a lot of notes and wrote quite a bit around the notes. I don't want to expand to much on this material because as the first note suggests, this IS a living tradition. First practice to the point of understanding, and then the teaching. The human element is key.

Yoga is a living tradition.

Vidya is also translated as science, Manas also means measure.

Energy needs to flow.
but.
First untie the knots.

Frame by Frame. (this is super important for properly understanding the method of "vinyasa")

When memory becomes strong--we remember what is important.

It was one of the best yoga events that I have been to in a while. Simple, cheap, authentic, and amazing. I was remembering the time I signed up for a very famous, yoga "diva's" very expensive day long offering, leaving feeling completely hoodwinked, cheated, the concept of yoga dumbed down for the highly-incomed, smashed in crowd.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Abhyasa, Abhyasa, Abhyasa



"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not a single act, but a habit."
Aristotle

Inspiration


Inspiration comes in many forms. I didn't get a change to blog yesterday, and even if I could have I don't know if I could have articulated the magic, and the love that I was feeling.

After a full teaching day Saturday, the plan was to get up on Sunday at 4am to practice. What stood between me and practice....200 miles and some seriously dubious driving weather.

No sleep 'til until I was standing in a room full of Ashtangi's some who I traveled with, some I recognized from Mysore, dear reunions from Philly (the city of brotherly love), dear reunions from Mysore (the city inside my heart.)

I am still digesting the experience, the practice, the chai, the lecture. It made for a perfect ending to a very full weekend exploring the living tradition of yoga.

Amanda wrote about it at her blog check it out.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Post Kirtan, Pre Workshop Ruminations


You'll have to see me today either at practice:
Wake Up Yoga (Fairmont) 10am
OR
Workshop:
Blue Banyan Yoga (Mt. Airy) 2-5pm

Friday, January 16, 2009

Following Up, Following Through

January is half way over, and I am tailoring and re tailoring my ideas, goals, and my aim. Practice this week hasn't been so inspiring. It is Friday and I only managed to practice 4 times this week. Weak, week. My right knees hurts (outside), my left elbow aches, and my lower back pains all over. Taking a page from my sister's blog I am publicly publishing my yoga practice goals for next week.

Sunday: Led Class with Eddie Stern, Amanda, Doug, and 147 other people.
Monday: Mysore at Yoga Squared
Tuesday: 1pm Self Practice at Wake Up
Wednesday: Mysore at Yoga Squared
Thursday: Trip to NYC to see Ma so we'll see how it goes
Friday: Could be a toss up...I'll keep you posted.
Saturday: Teach and Rest

I am really excited about the workshop tomorrow. I am sure there will be much to blog about.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Workshop this Saturday!!!


Looking Forward While Dropping Back
Saturday January 17, 2009 2pm-5pm

Blue Banyon7153 Sprague St. in East Mt. Airy Philadelphia, PA
admin@bluebanyanyoga.com

$45, pre-registration is required

If you can't make it here are some tips that I feel resonate from Sri Brahmananda Sarasvati:

"First remember your mind, and your mental powers.
Salute all divine seers, teachers, and yogi's.
Be ready to accept what is truth, and beneficial, and renounce what is untruth, and injurious."

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

What's a yoga teacher do?

Tuesday's are epic teaching days for me, and most times I make the self practice at 1pm over at Wake Up Yoga. Yesterday after teaching my first class instead of running to practice I needed to eat something, and that was the end of that. No practice yesterday. Which even as I am writing this could be the #1 reason I was overcome with frustration, and couldn't really find my rhythm for the remainder of the day.

I think that in all areas of my life I hold the bar really high. So, after teaching last night's usually very inspiring class I felt like I let the whole lot of students down. I couldn't say what I wanted to say, I was stumbling and fumbling around searching for the way to weave the whole class together. I missed the mark precisely because I wasn't sure what I was aiming at.

I dream of other jobs. Jobs that are just that jobs. A place to go to work, and when your are not at work, your not at work. I fantasize about health care, steady paychecks, paid vacation, Saturday and Sunday. My husband swears I couldn't do it. He reassures me that this is what I not only love, but in a way what I was designed to do. Is this my dharma?

Today will be clearer because there will be practice. Practice = clarity.

My drop backs workshop is filling up! If you are interested you should come because who knows when I'll change it all up, and relinquish my teacher role, and get my self a real job.....a job that requires shoes.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A Little Help from a Friend

Goes a long way.

Some time ago I remember having these total moments of despair. At the time the closest friends in my life were either immovable and in need constant cheer leading/motivation, or so flighty, with actions careless so that brought me to the point of utter humiliation (more times to count.)

This year in Mysore I made the decision that I was going to put my self out there both personally and professionally. To no longer apologize, or play down my smarts, experience, or in some cases my sass.

After 108 Surya's on Sunday my hamstrings felt like Poly-O String Cheese, and from the long TT weekend my brain wasn't doing my better. I had full intentions of practicing in the a.m. on Monday, but I did it...I just turned the alarm off. Missing practice in the a.m. my chances for getting back on that track grow slimmer which each passing hour. Around 3:45pm I got the call. Just as I told my friend that I didn't have it in me, she responded quickly and truthfully with a well needed "Jill, get off your ass!"

So, I did, and practiced.

Thank You.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

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One Surya Namaskara at a Time

In honor of the Full Moon day today Karen of Yoga Squared held a Yoga Mala celebration. She asked me to bring a bit of texture (that is not what she said but how I am making that connection) to the practice by chanting with the Harmonium. So, on this typical day of rest I woke early and gathered my things to practice and sing.

According to Karen a Yoga Mala is the practice of 108 Surya Namaskara's. The groupings went 8 Surya A's, and 1 Surya B. I found it to be an very interesting study in repetition, rhythm, and the ruminations of the mind.

I was reminded of my music teacher in India. When I couldn't execute an exercise so confidently he would in all seriousness ask me if I had practiced the exercise 100 times. I hadn't. As I approached the 100th Surya A I felt a real kinship with the material, a closeness that I had never experienced before and at the same time a freshness a newness, and a deep appreciation of its simplicity and design.

Dropbacks workshop this Saturday (check my website)...you must preregister as to not be left out!!!!

The Beauty of Brevity

In the Station of the Metro--Ezra Pound

The apparition of these faces in the crowd;
Petals on a wet, black bough

The Great Figure--William Carlos Williams
Among the rain
and lights
I saw a figure 5
in gold
on a red
fire truck
moving
tense
unheeded
to gong clangs
siren howls
and wheels rumbling
through the dark city.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Philly Field Trip (part 3) Coming Home

I don't know why I have selected this week to break from the Ashtanga Yoga Method, and be a yoga tourist. Maybe it is because I am tired of always keeping the count in my head, maybe it is because the AYCP (ashtanga yoga community Philly) feels at times so broken, and so out of sync with the tradition that is so alive in Mysore, and many students with strong, and devoted practices often stay home, and experience the solo journey of mind, and mat that I know so well. I was thrilled this morning to lead a primary series at Yoga Squared Guruji style with 10! (at 6:30am) amazing students, in my heart I can feel it growing.

As promised I dined on the offerings of yoga teacher, studio director, colleague, and friend Corina Benner. She has such a unique style and specific relationship to the practice of asana, that the only way to understand to spend some time with her in practice. "The experience is the transformation."

Saturday I take rest from practice. In total I made it to practice 5 times, and each time I gave myself to the practice tick-tocks and all. See you tomorrow on the mat 10 am sharp at Wake Up Yoga.

Hari OM

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Philly Field Trip (part 2)


AHH, how I love yoga. Today is my one day off during the week, and I like to plan a special yoga outing. Sometimes I go to NY to see Manorama, and taste the flavors of the New York yoga community. As part of my '09 plan, I am making an effort to on Thursdays especially to get out there and swim in the different yoga pools. Today my very good friend and fellow yogini Corina trekked into Center City to practice at Dhyana Yoga. We went to the lovely Alex Holmes' 12pm Vinyasa class. I am always looking for the threads of connection. What was this class offering going to reveal to me about Ashtanga, devotion, ways in which myself can dissolve into mySelf. There is always something there that may leave me reeling for days, months even.

"electric jellyfish"

I thought sea grass was the perfect description.

Tomorrow to round out the trimurti of vinyasa offerings, I am headed to Corina Benner's 1pm "advanced" yoga class at Wake Up Yoga. Maybe I'll see you there! After that I am ready to head back to the church of Ashtanga, and get back to the soundtrack of breath, the movement of energy, and the focus on the point (whatever that means.)

In celebration of the full moon this Sunday, January 11th 9-11:30am I am at Yoga Sqaured to lead some chanting with my sqeezebox followed with Sri Karen leading a Yoga Mala (108 surya namaskara's.) 10% of the proceeds are going to the PSPCA.
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Philly Field Trip in Three (part 1)


When I began practicing Ashtanga Yoga three years ago, first off I didn't know that I would be practicing Ashtanga Yoga, and I didn't understand the intensity of the commitment. One of the hardest parts about leaving Mysore is leaving the community. Showing up every morning to that full room, and practicing with some much energy flying it is beyond description. In the winter here is it really hard to work up a decent sweat. In Mysore, this year I worried that the sweat flooding into my ears was going to give me an ear infection.

Most days I practice in very small groups, some a bit larger. I never practice in the kind of class that I teach jam packed, energized, and focused. This week as part of the New Year I am trying to get out and enjoy the vast samplings in the yoga community here in Philadelphia. Yesterday I made the rainy pilgrimage to Queens Village to Practice Yoga. This yoga shala has been instrumental in building the Philadelphia community. I believe it opened in the spring of 2002. It was a very sweet class, with a very sweet teacher. It was a small group, and a very basic but deep exploration of asana and breath, and for me a contemplation about yoga as an offering.

Sometimes, "students" who are local yoga teachers will take their very own field trip to a class that I am teaching. Sometimes, these individuals will disregard the offerings of the class. I don't know what that is all about. For me it is pretty simple. If I go to a friends house for dinner and they are serving yoga, just because they know I love yoga, the ONLY choice is to eat the meal that has been crafted with love, and savor in that experience.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Drop Backs are Fun!!

Come play with me!

Looking Forward While Dropping Back
Saturday January 17, 2009 2pm-5pm
Blue Banyon7153 Sprague St. in East Mt. Airy Philadelphia, PA admin@bluebanyanyoga.com
$45, pre-registration is required

Are you terrified, yet intrigued by the practice of dropping back? Have you created mythology around this practice telling yourself that it is something designed for someone more flexible, younger, someone with more strength, or maybe just more chutzpa? Then this workshop has been designed for you. In this workshop we will explore the qualities of “drop backs” that are embedded into the fabric of every single vinyasa yoga class. By learning to utilize the natural curves of the spine, and exploring organic undulations throughout the entire practice we can begin to make connections so that dropping back is as simple (not easy), and familiar as learning to stand (we will explore that as well.)

Points of Exploration: Learning to Crawl, Minding Your Head, aka “Head Down Bottom Up”, All about Upward Dog, Open Your Heart, “Don’t Fear!”

After 70 or so dropbacks this year in Mysore with Sharath right there watching you, I think I've got something to say. Think of it new year, new terrain, totally remodel your practice.

I am a little behind on the 31 posts goal.

This has been what is going through my head.

I keep hearing Manorama "the experience IS the transformation." This statement threads me to Guruji saying the same thing as, "you do."

Monday, January 05, 2009

Lakshmi

Yesterday was an incredible day. I slept really well. The best since the beginning of the "holiday"season. I was off to Yoga Squared for Sunday Mysore practice. Practice starts at 9am, and you can enter for some time after that, but I like to be there right at 9am. The Ashtanga yoga community isn't that big here in Philly, so if you want the juice from other people, you've got to be in the room at the start of the chant. At Yoga Squared the chant is done together. I prefer the call and response style of Guruji, and Sharath. There is something about the process of surrendering to the cadence and rhythm of each individual teacher that softens the student. The suggestion is so there however subtle, "I am not the teacher, I have come to learn."

After practice I got to have some coffee with Adam and Amanda. After some long chats about yoga, life, choice, and knowing when to exit but waiting just a bit longer, I went to pick up a friend for a long awaited date. We went to see Slumdog Millionaire. I had already seen the film, but I can't stop it when it comes to my beloved India. It was like seeing the Taj, better the second time. Although the experience of the day made me miss Mysore. The practice, the chatting, the community, and I felt a little lost at the end of the day.

There I was at home with two of my very own slumdogs that no doubt needed to be taken out.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Waking Up is hard to do


Just this morning I felt like I had to pull myself out of the holiday fog. I started the New Year off with a bang! I got up early and practiced by myself which can be very lonely, but this practice was very sweet and felt just right. I even made some little movies of my favorite "sea grass" vinyasa's to help understand the seed of energy (or as MA would said energization.) If I can figure out how to post them I will. I, as in Mysore, take Saturday off. I teach every Saturday, and during the Teacher Training season that teaching continues until 6pm.


Sunday always feels like the first day of the practice week for me, and I do try to give it my all on Sunday. I try to practice like Sharath suggested in conference this year, as if Guru ji were in the room.


Some more thoughts on not only moving forward, but also UP


Drink more water

Get out and enjoy nature

Sweat

Find a regular practice rhythm, and let the mind rest in the repetition

Friday, January 02, 2009

For Amanda


Fullness



Lindsey, you were totally right! I didn't get a chance to blog yesterday. I missed the very first day in January, and I was sort of freaking out about it. Svaha. The beginning of '09 has already been a wild adventure. I taught at Wake Up yesterday at 11am and it was packed...crazy packed. In that little room we had 30 eager students, sometimes when it gets really full at Wake Up the energy can be strange, some are happy for the fullness while others are not, but yesterday the energy was really great, and I think it was the best "large class vinyasa" I managed.


I am sick. My husband and dogs are sleeping in the bed, and I think that I'll get back and join them, but I really needed to post something, so that I could rest. I will be posting a second blog today to make up for my mini mis-start.