I’m home now from a truly fantastic weekend in San Diego at the Ashtanga Yoga Confluence. The whole thing was even better than I expected. It was delightful to see a few yoga friends and be surrounded by the energy and passion of all these dedicated practitioners and teachers. Having the focus of Ashtanga made it quite different from other yoga festivals and conferences I’ve attended before.
I practiced Mysore on Saturday and Sunday. The Mysore room was incredible with 4 of the main teachers adjusting with at least 4 other assisting teachers – super duper shakti! I got some great adjustments, including a kapotasana B adjustment with a towel around my upper back that offered so much space in my shoulder joints that I didn’t want it to stop – it felt so good! I’m never felt that way in kapo before.
The stories shared by the teachers were truly inspiring. I loved hearing all about Guruji, but it also made me a bit sad that I never got the chance to meet him. I kind of feel like I missed out! But the teachers each shared beautifully that Guruji’s energy is alive today in the practice and carried through in the lineage of the teaching. They each spoke sincerely about how his wisdom and love remains present in their own lives through the daily experience of practicing his teachings.
I loved David Swenson’s analogy of Guruji as a stately grandfather tree in the forest. When the tree falls, a huge space is left and nothing can fill in that hole. But, with the new opening in the canopy, all the little baby trees have room to shoot up and are fortified by the fertile ground created by the grandfather tree’s remnants. So sweet.
One other theme that was clear throughout all the workshops and panel discussions was the essential nature of yoga as a practice of attention and concentration. This is clear straight off the bat in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. In Ashtanga we must pay attention to the tristana of breath, bandha and drishti and to the sensations in our bodies to ensure longevity and safety in asanas and cultivate self-awareness.
By learning to pay attention on the mat, we can begin to cultivate more attention in other aspects of our life. One day these bodies will crack and asana won’t be available anymore so it’s imperative to extend the practice of yoga beyond the physical shapes into the practices of conscious living, parenting, partnering and working in a positive and meaningful way in the world.
Eddie shared this by saying, “Through attention, we can live with intention.” From an intentional and conscious stance in our life, we can turn our focus to what really matters – to the ultimate drishti, the polestar for life – for as Guruji, “to see God everywhere.”
Love and Blessings,