If you practice vinyasa yoga or any other physically demanding activity it's crucial to find a good bodyworker. At home, I try to do as much as I can on my own to roll out the kinks and muscle adhesions using a foam roller and other toys, but there's no comparison for getting some great bodywork. I found an amazing bodyworker at Yoga Tree in San Francisco and his name is V. Yes, V. Just V. It was quite possibly the best massage I've ever had in that not only was the pressure deep enough but V also incorporated techniques like stretching and working on the back of my body while I was lying face up! I've never experienced bodywork in this way before and it was really incredible because the weight of my own body aided V in getting deep into the bound up muscle tissue in and around my low back, gluteus maximus and gluteus minimus. On top of V's technical mastery he radiated a healing and spiritual vibe that was very comforting. Being able to "hold space" in an intimate practice like bodywork or yoga is imperative because people can and do feel vulnerable underneath that little cloth separating all of them from the bodyworker and outside world. I was also impressed with how thorough V was in his work. V left no muscle unturned so to speak and because he was so thorough time seemed to slow down, which is great when you’re getting bodywork! I thought the massage was almost done but in actuality we had about another 10-15 minutes to go. I appreciate the thoughtfulness of V informing me that there was only 10 minutes left so if there's anything specific I want worked we still had enough time. Overall, a fantastic experience
Tuesday, 22 March 2011
Indeed time does put all things into perspective. The pitta in me can manifest its beastliness to such an extent that I become blinded by what's "out there" instead of focusing on what's right in front of me. Still in the process of assimilation to life in San Francisco, I went to a workshop yesterday on how to Lighten Your Heart. The workshop was called Lighten Your Heart! Change Your Perspective! It's as if the universe knew exactly what I needed at this moment in my life and placed it right there in front of me. The last few days have been going fairly well here in San Francisco and yesterday's workshop solidified my understanding that time is all it takes. The workshop, led by Brenna Geehan was exactly what the doctor ordered for Da Sooz. Lately my yoga practice seems somewhat stale and every time I go to a yoga class it feels like I'm simply going through the motions. I needed to find a new way to connect. The point of this workshop was to remove the darkness, the heaviness, the "dirtiness" and thus the pessimism we come to accept as normal that resides within our hearts. The idea is that after the baggage you consciously or subconsciously carry around with you is eradicated the "channel" between you and the rest of the world is clear. In other words, when we feel dark on the inside we cannot let anything else in... we lose the ability to foster our own needs and passions and relationships. This was exactly the issue I’ve been struggling lately. I was tired of feeling isolated and alienated in a foreign city. I created a wall between myself and everything and everyone else here; no wonder I seem more cynical than usual.
Sunday, 30 January 2011
Public transportation issues aside, I made my way to Les Levanthal's 9am vinyasa class in the Castro. Nice! I mentally high-fived myself as I secured a spot in the front row of the studio. (duh, where else would I be) As the class begins Les implores us to say hello and "make friends" with our neighbor. Ok, no biggie, after all it’s yoga and we are all here to practice in a community. Makes sense to get to know your neighbor. But then, Les asked us to do the unthinkable...to pick up our mats and MOVE three spots so we are in a different area altogether! This experience was very confronting. I go out of my way to secure a spot that I feel comfortable in only to have to pick up all my crap and move it to another part of the room?! Unfathomable! My higher rational sensibility kicked in reminding me that this confronting experience was merely a metaphor for life, as all of yoga is; yet my immediate and intuitive reaction was unkind and spiteful. Why should I move my stuff? Why can't they move theirs? You see where I'm going with this...but when the guru speaks, the pupil obeys. If picking up my mat and a handful of other belongings was so distressful, no wonder I'm having such a hard time adjusting to life in a new city. A mini-revelation occurred. What happened to the openness I used to bring with me into yoga classes? Perhaps the openness that once used to ebb and flow got stuck. To quote Rumi: "Spirit is the art of getting what's stuck unstuck."
Raga, one of the five kleshas, is a concept in yoga philosophy that pertains to attachment. According to the Yoga Sutras, kleshas are the root of all suffering. We are all attached to certain possessions, people, beliefs and the like, even if they aren't necessarily healthy attachments; therefore, when we are forced to part with these things we suffer. No one likes change...at least initially. Why? Because it means you have to divorce yourself from the familiar. It's confrontations like the one I experienced in Les's class this morning that cause you to wake up and smell the neighbor next to you. If you successfully maintain your composure while doing so in a sweaty yoga class then I salute you.
Sunday, 23 January 2011
To follow up on yesterday's rant discussing mediocrity amongst yoga instructors I'm so pleased that the recommendation from my Los Angeles based mentor Annie Carpenter was a fantastic one! I went to the same Yoga Tree in San Francisco located in the Mission District on Valencia Street and was blown away by the dynamic, heartfelt and precise instruction of Les Leventhal. What a difference a day makes... even if you come to the same place. It’s quite possible that the instructor from the all-level vinyasa class from yesterday (who will continue to remain nameless) is the one bad egg from the dozen. I did a bit of chit chatting with Les after class, giving him a big hello from Annie. Les mentioned that I wasn't the only ballet dancer in his class on this particular evening. I didn’t really think anything of it until I went into the ladies room to change when I thought I caught a glimpse of Muriel Maffre standing right in front of me. Indeed it was her! How small the world is! Ms. Maffre taught my professional ballet class at LINES the day before. Ms. Maffre was one of my idols growing up. This woman is incredible to say the least. Ms. Maffre is a talking and walking piece of art. She is tall, long and more refined than Loius XIV at one of his ballet de cours. I approached Ms. Maffre and like a retard asked if it was really her. I expressed my awe and then she left.
This whole experience left me with a deep sense of gratitude and an understanding that we are all connected in this world. Despite what city you live in, what yoga studio you frequent, there’s a ripple effect that results from all of our conscious and unconscious actions. This experience serves as a reminder that there is indeed something much larger than our human minds are equipped to comprehend...something vibrational if you will…something that joins all us eggs into one cardboard container.
Saturday, 15 January 2011
Hello All and Happy New Year! My deepest apologies for the extended interlude between posts recently. A lot has happened in the last few weeks. For starters I relocated to a new city. I'll now spew my thoughts and experiences on anything and everything related to the movement arts from the heady metropolis we all know and love: San Francisco. Now that I'm settled I can say that I’ve never seen a more eclectic population so densely packed into a single metro area. People are nice here! Unlike Los Angeles, people actually make eye contact with you on the street and some even go so far as saying "hello!" The vibe is charming and inviting. Needless to say, the yoga scene here is off the hook! I went to my first yoga class at Yoga Tree yesterday. I was excited to practice in my new city. I randomly selected a mixed-level vinyasa class that worked with my schedule and arrived just in the nick of time. AHHHHHHH the ambiance of revered space! This sacred space creates a safe and nurturing environment spanning across the board to 99.9% of yoga studios. This sacred space is what determines my bias towards a community practice in a studio versus a home practice.
Friday, 14 January 2011