Okay - I know I have to catch you all up on this adventure. I got to tour the Biltmore Mansion in Asheville (for two days - wahoooo!)and it was amazing -- I had a very intense two day drive up to Massachusetts full of tire blow-outs and road side adventures. I'm now staying at my friend Sunny's place in Spencer, Mass with a view of a lake and on a road that looks entirely too much like Perkins Row in Topsfield where we used to live. It's beautiful and deja-vu --ee.
But today - oh today - I got to go to West Roxbury - where my mom grew up by the way - and practice at Diane Ducharme's studio.
Diane is my heroine - she is my guru - although there are other people in the Bikram world that I love, respect and learn so much from, Diane is the one who inspires me, who has provided guidance that has helped so very very much, and who will continue to help me to grow to be a passionate and compassionate yogi.
Today I got to practice at Diane's studio. We did the 9:30 class, and then at 11:30 (or so) I got to do my very first advanced class, led by Diane. It was fabulous. First of all, it gave me a new perspective on the "beginning" series, and a newfound respect for Bikram's brilliance in choosing the postures and the order of the postures and the dialogue for describing them. They truly, and for the most part, can be done (or at least the set up can be done) by nearly everyone, whereby the advanced postures can kill you if not done properly -- literally. I'm not kidding. If you don't have the strength to hold yourself up, you can fall on your head and break your neck. You can tear tendons and muscles you didn't even know you had. But if done properly and with respect (and with a lot of warmup -
thus the "beginning" class beforehand), you can experience a deeper stretching, and a greater strengthening than ever before.
You should have seen it - here are these amazing yogis beautifully, gracefully, with strength and agility, moving into one pose and then the next - and then there was me - with my tongue hanging on the side of my mouth in deep concentration, struggling and groaning, slipping, crooked and sideways trying my best, usually falling out and snorting at myself laughing so hard at my goofball attempts. But it was fun, and it's my intention to hold on to that lightness and playfulness. I've never been super bendy, but I am somewhat strong, so I'll do the best I can and just enjoy the process - because really, that's what it's all about, isn't it???
I have to say though - I am improving my regular practice. Today, for example, I was able to hold the balancing postures (all of them!) for nearly the entire full minute on the first set. This is a huge accomplishment for me - and I have to say, that I got my inspiration from Summer Bennet who said to me in Port Orange that one day she decided that she wasn't going to fall out any more and then she didn't. So I took that attitude and guess what? It worked!!! I'm also getting deeper in many of the stretches and postures. It may not seem like much to many, but I can tell, and it feels good. I am grateful to every person who has provided feedback and inspiration, and believe me, there have been a lot on this journey.
I'm going to work with Diane for a few days. We have to find a set of dates, but before I go there, I have to work off the rust I've accumulated on my teaching. I've taught about 5 times since I started this journey in May and the last time I taught in Charleston for David Kiser, I was shocked, SHOCKED at how the dialogue did not flow from my lips. And here, the dialogue better be flowing - these guys up here are purists. I have to knock that rust off.
Every now and then I take a moment to acknowledge all I've learned on this trip. I am so very amazed at what I am learning. I will have a studio soon - and I know that what I've learned on this trip will absolutely, positively, help me to have a powerful, successful, amazing place, full of passion and compassion.
Thanks to everyone. I love this ride.
P.S. The photo of everyone in Sun Salutation is from my training last year when they did a demo of the advanced series -- that's Diane in the middle, Bikram on the left and 80+ year old Emmy on the right -- they are awesome -- and I mean that in every sense of the word. The photo of me and Diane was also taken at training - I believe it was the day before graduation - but I was a zombie - and I look like I have a huge head, but really, it was just the camera angle. I am not Sasquach. Oh and the gargoyle is on the Biltmore mansion (more on that in a later post) and the lake is from tonight's sunset from Sunny's windows.
Love to all!!!