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Entries in Anusara (10)


bikram-proof mascara

Mac X, decidedly not Bikram-proofSince we started going to Bikram classes at Red Dragon Yoga, it's been endless laundry around here. We've both been doing a lot of sweating -- insane, copious amounts of sweating-- hence, the every-other-day loads of wash.  

After class, my clothes are soaked, my yoga towels are soaked, and by the time I get home for a shower, so is the towel I bring to put down on the seat of the car.  I live in horror of the cloth seats in the rental car I'm driving these days developing that fuggy, swampy gym smell.  Absolutely gruesome amounts of sweat.

Or should I say: good amounts.

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Anusari in Bikram-land

So now I've taken a total of three Bikram yoga classes and I think I'm getting the hang of it. I won't lie: there still comes a moment in each class when the heat is so intense that I wonder at it.  I wonder why I'm doing it.  This moment when it's equal parts glory and hell, delight and torture.

And then I take a deep breath and keep going. 

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hot as hell, and early in the a.m., just the way i like it

If I had a heraldic crest with a motto emblazoned on it, surely that philosophic tagline would be, Do as you wish.  For me, that's the thing about freedom: it means I get to do as I wish, you get to do the same.  I do what I want to do and don't what I don't.  Same goes for you. It's simple.

We're 100% free.

Now that I'm a yoga refugee -- really and truly, I am a yogi without a regular studio or practice or posse for the moment --my heraldic motto is finding expression in checking stuff out, trying on different styles and schools.  

Before, I never had any interest in checking anything else out. I was totally satisfied.  My eye never wandered.

But since the dissolution of my relationship to Anusara, and now that I've recovered, mostly, from back surgery, I am footloose and fancy-free.

I feel like I felt the day I realized that I was done being vegan after 8 years.

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yoga refugee, don't have to live like a...

credit: the awesome Jennifer GrahamSo yeah, because I got injured (or injured myself) in December of 2011, then spent months in pain or recovering from surgery, then a few more months banned by doctor's orders from returning to the mat (for my own protection), I'm way out of yoga-shape.  

And because the yoga that I loved blew up in February of this year, while I watched, horrified, from the sidelines -- I mean it, Anusara, really blew up, sex scandal and everything -- I knew everything would be different when I was finally able to take my place in class.

But the weirdest part for me, I think, has been this sense of no longer being a yoga nomad, which I was for years.

Now I just feel like a yoga refugee.

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Reflecting on a crazy week: 2 great blog posts

It's been a super-crazy week, since last Friday when YogaDork broke the news of scandalous (anonymous) accusations against John Friend, founder and face of Anusara yoga.  Since Anusara has been my yoga home since 2007, all of what's happened -- although I'm not personally involved -- has yet felt personal, dirt thrown all over something beloved, a system with enormous value and integrity.  It's been a confusing week but nothing if not thought-provoking.  Does our behavior matter?  What are the requirements of leadership?  How do we hold each other accountable?  When do we speak up and why and how? 

I've been thinking a lot about Leo Tolstoy, truth be told, reflecting back on all that I learned in graduate seminars on Russian literature and how, although his writing is genius, I yet retained an essential distrust based on his personal behavior, particularly his treatment of his wife, his typing slave.  If you're a great artist, are you allowed to be a shitty person?  Are you excused from the rules that bind the rest of us?

Big questions, life questions, human questions.

It's been a crazy week.  And in this week of people taking sides and everyone writing their opinions and me getting honestly sick of certain people and their high-handed, high-horsed yogier-than-thou talk, like a breath of fresh, sweet air came these two blog posts.  For an instant, reading them, I returned to what was true, everything felt solid again, easy, calm, real.

Big gratitude to my teachers, particularly the two that follow.  I love you both.

#1: Douglas Brooks,

What You Do Matters

From Douglas Brooks, my teacher, comes this post on accountability and the meaning of community.  I have read and re-read this post, delighting in his choice of words, in the message itself, in the common sense and clarity of what he's written.  So grateful to Douglas for his wisdom, wit and always, always, for leading up the international Honey Badger Kula.

Favorite quote:

Reaching into that greater sense of responsibility we create kula, community. Kula--- the conversation of community holding itself to standards of accountability and reckoning. This is the place to find guru: the weight that implies we are experiencing something important. Community begins with self-reckoning and we are always judging. The issue isn’t whether we will judge our selves or others: we will, we must. Rather how can we arrive at our common humanity in the conversation that avers us to account for actions.

#2: Martine Trelaun,

What You Do = Who You Are

And from another teacher in my life, my sister Martine, this excellent post on her site Yogateau, on Jean-Paul Goude, Grace Jones and yoga .  Absolutely delicious. 

Favorite quote:

It’s always important to remember that the work we do, regardless of the realm in which we believe it exists, does not live outside of ourselves. You can’t separate what Jean-Paul Goude does from who Jean-Paul Goude is. They are the same. As yogis, what we do on the mat is a reflection of the entirety of ourselves, and wherever we choose to direct our energy is where we’ll end up. 

I am grateful for this scandal, no matter the degree of truth that's in it, for the way it's forced a bigger conversation about What Matters, about integrity, about our interdependence instead of our codependence.  The opportunity, as a friend wrote, to put down the Koolaid and sober up.  

As Douglas writes, "The things we do in this life matterour actions need to be judged, and we must learn how to hold each other responsible for actions. No one gets a pass." And as Martine adds, "You can't separate what Goude does from who Goude is."  It's all the same, on the mat or off.  What we do is who we are, and who we are is something we are accountable to each other for, always, no excuses, no exceptions.

With tremendous gratitude to my teachers, to my friends and family, for the constant opportunity to learn and grow, to step into the big shoes of Freedom and Independence.  That's what we do, that's who we are.