Effort and Surrender

I just spent three wonderful days with one of my favorite Anusara Yoga teachers - Desiree Rumbaugh. I have been studying with her on and off for almost a decade.

On Friday morning I attended a teacher's practice which was well paced and was an opportunity to discuss the nuances of the Anusara teaching method and principles. We bantered back and forth agreeing and disagreeing - and sharing what worked and what didn't in our teaching as we progressed through increasingly more challenging poses. I did experience a few breakthroughs - and was able to do Ganda Bherudasana for the first time with an assist from Desiree. It is a rather bizarre looking pose - and feels equally extreme in the body!

I found myself going much deeper into backbends than I had in a year - because I had been protecting myself from the intense emotional releases that backbends can often cause. I felt freer and got some wonderful insights in the principles and how to deepen the experience of them in my body.

Desiree talked about the interplay between effort and surrender in our practice throughout the weekend. She also noted that she is still learning and only now starting to "get" deeper insights into the principles of alignment. As a teacher, it was so encouraging to hear, because I totally agree with her...

There were so many wonderful things she said. Here are a few glimpses...

Don't be attached to doing the poses - be attached to feeling good.

Imagine that Christmas lights string the three focal points in the body - the palate, the heart, and the core of the pelvis - and line these up when doing inversions.

Begin your practice like an old lady - slowly and deliberately - but end it like a rock star!

An advanced yogi or yogini takes time to set up their pose - they do it mindfully and don't rush in.

It's not the quantity of your practice that matters - but the quality.

During the course of the weekend, I marveled at how Des introduced a whole new audience to Anusara in a very concise but cogent way. She also very graciously introduced the Anusara teachers in the room to those present and called on us to assist her. She encouraged students to play their edge, but to do it safely by integrating Anusara Yoga's Universal Principles of Alignment.

Desiree invited those present to create change in their bodies through this practice and the application of its principles. Throughout the weekend, Desiree was - vintage Desiree - light, irreverent, spiritual, compassionate, and full of bliss - and we were led through sequences that gave many the taste of yoga as a blissful experience.

I throughly enjoyed my time - and as I said to Desiree before parting - she is truly aging like a fine bordeaux! I can't wait to experience her teaching again!


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