Today was the first of Shree Yoga’s new Advanced Practice series. It has been some time since the chance to teach and practice together has happened and I have missed the bubbling over kind of excitement I feel in the thick of the yoga with everyone. It is intoxicating and playful, brilliantly inspiring and totally awesome to breath together. In honor of the spring wind and new life bursting through, we practiced twists. The physical response to a twisting practice is a detoxification, clearing the path for energy and information to flow along the spine, undisturbed and uninterrupted. We talked of the energizing effects of a great twist, the way our bodies feel when we unwind from them, clean and freshly washed from the inside out, and began with the double helix of nadi shodhana (alternate nostril pranayama), ribboning down the length of the spine, wrapping ourselves in a sweet protective sheath of deep, full breath.
But the real invitation was on a journey through time and space, right from the comfort of your own spine. Twists are like a wild imagination or dreamscape, a real time-travel experience. Rather than the big, sweeping movement of a standing pose, the giant expanse of a backbend or the explosive and potent flotation of arm balances, twists stay still at the center, move little, and yet, move much. A sophisticated twist leaves your spine where it is in space, and finds a way to move around it, to twine deeply into the darkest, most untouched realms of body and mind. Where boundary is found, breath rolls in and slowly, mindfully melts it away. Like a visioning practice, twists leave one feeling as if they have traveled far, without the jet lag and fuel bill. I love to twist.
We continued to return home, using symmetrical poses as landing pads where we could make promises to our spine: “you are supported, you are held”, and binds to create the stability we needed to explore deeper into stuck places. At the end of our time together, all nine of us were shining brightly, eyes afire. I cried while my friends lay in savasana, gratitude poured when they actually asked for help gathering props to be more comfortable. This is the kind of teaching yoga I love: a conversation, a shared breath, a circle of hands and hearts. In offering to our amazing community of teachers and students, to open the conversation, Advanced Practices will happen on the fourth Saturday of every month, led by a different teacher with a different focus. To the lineage of all of our teachers, all generations of being-kind who have helped bring us to this threshold of learning together, thank you. And to everyone who wishes to take down the boundaries that keep us separate from our families, from strangers, from lovers and friends, from students and teachers, from all beings everywhere, thank you. Douglas Brooks would say, “I am not you, I am like you, I am nothing but you.” I will now hug my kitten and make a popcorn snack. Love, Suki