Friday, June 19, 2009

Deep in the Heart of Texas!

June 19, 2009

I woke up this morning with a wicked headache. Felt like a hangover, but I had one beer with dinner two nights ago. I know yoga makes you pure, but believe me, there’s no way I’m that pure. Thought I had a head cold, but Liana nailed it – I am dehydrated. Had a big glass of orange juice and eggs for breakfast, but I need to up the fluids even more. To put it bluntly – it’s fuckin’ hot and humid here in Houston.

Arrived at Joani and Mike’s South Blvd. studio a week ago. 
This place is amazing. They offer 44 classes a week at this studio and 34 at their Fountain View studio 
– it’s like a yoga factory here! And every class – even the 8:15 classes - are packed – the 4:30 classes have with more than 70 people! They do not offer an introductory offer and they don’t need it. They are compassionate and encouraging, strong and supportive, and they have fun here. It’s a really nice studio. 

Before and after each class, the instructor takes time to greet each student and answer any questions, provide feedback if needed and just encourage. They have a staff to work the desk, which is really smart, and the instructor’s first priority is the student, then they help out at the desk.

They’ve allowed me to teach a few classes at the Fountain View studio, and I’ve really enjoyed it. Haven’t taught much at all lately (only once in the last month) so it’s been an interesting experience. They are very dialogue driven here, and in prep for going to visit Diane Ducharme, I’m re-learning the entire dialogue again anyway, so that’s not too much of a problem – it’s coming out fairly well. Except for last night’s “come to the top of your towel for camel toes.” I laughed and then everyone else laughed and then we all laughed so hard we barely made it through the first set and then we just kept going. It was a fun class and I was happy that everyone said they enjoyed it at the end.

Joani has a series of articles in which she talks about how the hatha (physical) yoga offers the opportunity to also practice Raja yoga. Raja yoga is “best understood as the science of mental discipline and it is another aspect of Bikram yoga.” She goes on in the article about how moving together, holding still between postures, avoiding the wiping, etc helps to build mental discipline and allows us to control our “screw loose brains” as Bikram says instead of letting it control us. Last night I was given the opportunity to pick up another class, and it went well also (avoided the camel slip up), but I noticed that I was starting to get a little sloppy with the dialogue. I started to interject some of my own words and got a few things out of order. And it occurred to me that knowing the dialogue and having the DISCIPLINE to use it just as it is, is a form of Raja yoga. It us having control over the mind and the ego to use the formula just as it’s prescribed. That little insight is going to help me to be better at dialogue as I go forward.

I like Houston. It’s a really big city and I haven’t seen much of it, but this particular neighborhood, located near Rice University, is beautiful. The homes are so diverse! There are little cape cods, adobe houses, big modern glass and metal boxes and very proper brick homes. And that’s just in the first few blocks. A little farther down the road and there are beautiful estates! Stunning!!! I’ll get photos of those later – it’s too friggin hot and muggy to walk that far except for early in the morning.

Liana, who's from Minneapolis but is now based here, but living in one of the studio's guest bedrooms until she can afford a car and then an apartment, and I went to Galveston a few days ago. Strange place that by no means has recovered from Ike last year. We drove by a house on stilts near the ocean with the back wall that was gone.  Inside you could see the bed, TV and all the other accessories that you’d find in a bedroom (well, not all) but there was no wall. It was so strange. We walked along the water for a while and while Higbee played in the water, chased birds, and generally had a great time, we picked up pieces of glass. We avoided the biohazards though. There were a few of those. The town felt sort of dead, but even in the places that seemed fairly unscathed, we couldn’t figure out why. Then we realized – all the beautiful oak trees were leafless! We found out later that the tidal surge brought in so much salt water, it killed off most of the live oak trees in the city. Dead live oaks. The entire city had a vibe of deadness and it was because of the trees. It was such a eerie feeling. Didn’t like it. But we did go on a tour of a beautiful mansion and that was interesting and fun, and then headed back home.

When I got here, I was planning to stay, as usual, in an RV park, but Joani and Mike offered to let me set up camp in the back of their studio on South. When Mike met Higbee, though, he told me to come inside and take one of the two guest bedrooms they have here. He would not let his own dogs outside, Higbee should come in - and me too.  So we are living indoors in air conditioning, and I am very grateful. We would both be suffering quite a bit out there.

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