Practicing Parsva Bakasana can feel like your ego is spilling out from the top of your head. Coordinating a half push-up and a twisted torso with a knee to elbow bump stretches your pride to the limit. But when you’re in class with a master yoga instructor, you don’t dwell on disappointment--you persevere like an eager fledgling struggling to fly.
After failing to balance in side crane, sitting quietly in humble repose feels better than expected. In the afterglow of practicing yoga inversions for an hour you realize that among the skills required to take flight, fearlessness tops the list. And an ego shakedown is an important step in making room for courage to grow.
Participating in the Yoga Journal LIVE! conference in San Francisco was a great way to begin the new year. Yoga immersion is very conducive for assimilating mind-body intelligence. When you’re motivated by curiosity more than performance, the training quickly takes root, especially lessons in humility. Flying Lessons, taught by Noah Maze, was a challenging test of physical limits, and Highway To The Heart by Stephanie Snyder, was an opportunity to test-drive spiritual chants. Both classes offered valuable insight and demonstrations on how to improve your personal yoga practice.
Like an accomplished yoga pilot, Mr. Maze navigates the space above his mat with athletic ease. He negotiates his center of gravity as effortlessly as he dismounts the stage to offer assistance. His aerial techniques align strength and flexibility with helpful recommendations for all levels of proficiency. And his pragmatic guidance is reassuring, like when he says to “honor your limitations” as you stand in Tadasana wondering if you’ll ever master Eka Pada Koundinyasana.
above and beyond
Beginning a yoga class with chakra awakening chants and musical accompaniment was an extraordinary treat. The depth of Ms. Snyder’s chants reverberated throughout the room to welcome everyone’s participation. The chorus of mantras sounded like a harmonic vinyasa of voices summoning ancient wisdom across the Golden Gate. Afterwards, equanimity filled the air with profound silence.
The YJLive! conference reminds you how good it feels to be a student again in a place without distractions. You’re challenged to go above and beyond what you think you know about yoga. Theory is put into practice. Effort is rewarded with a kind assist. An awkward crane learns to fly.