Anusara yoga’s revelatory spiral; trailer arriving my first day of massage school

For the past week, I’ve been taking some yoga classes at Castle Hill Fitness, courtesy of a one-week pass I unexpectedly was given back in February. Most of my yoga training has been by Iyengar-certified teachers, and I like that emphasis on alignment because alignment just happens to be one of my major issues in this body, and I can use yoga as an awareness practice instead of just keeping fit.

At Castle Hill, I’ve been taking Anusara classes. If you don’t know, Anusara yoga is an offshoot of Iyengar yoga. Anusara yoga’s founder, John Friend, was a senior Iyengar teacher until he parted ways with B.K.S. Iyengar and created Anusara yoga.

Anusara is not that different from Iyengar yoga. In fact, it’s pretty similar but has Universal Principles of Alignment that everything is based on.

(If you’re interested in seeing a visual aid that groups the types of yoga, click here to see Alison Hinks’ awesome graphic, Kissing Cousins: The Wheel of Yoga. You’ll see that Iyengar and Anusara are right next to each other, way on the opposite site from Ashtanga and power yoga.)

These classes have challenged me in a really good way. My deep lower abs are still a bit sore from classes a week ago, and I’m feeling my shoulders and hips in a different way.

I’ve done Warrior 1 in nearly every class and gotten better at it. It takes a lot of strength and balance for me.

Most exciting, I finally got “the spiral”  that is a signature of Anusara yoga. Got it in my body, that is. Felt a shift. It was a revelation, widening the sacrum area, the back of the second chakra, creating a nice energetic opening.

Since this is a part of my body that has had troubles, it was awesome. How can I incorporate this into my life? 

I don’t know how to maintain it in various poses, so I’ll continue to take Anusara classes. My teacher today, Brigitte, steered me toward the Anusara Teacher Training manual, which I’ve ordered. I’m looking forward very much to reading about the principles of alignment and learning what I can learn from a book while my body learns experientially.

Also, Brigitte is beautiful, with the buffest body of any white-haired woman you’ll ever see. I’m so pleased to take yoga from a teacher with white hair who knows what she’s doing. She read a Mary Oliver poem at the beginning of class today with a message that served the class. I loved that.

Yogis can show the world what it looks like to age with grace.


My trailer should be here Monday morning! I’ve been looking at cork and Marmoleum samples. Decided not to do radiant heated floors until I’ve lived in the trailer through a winter and seen how cold it really gets.  Contacted my handyman Ian and emailed him a list of things to do. Requested that the electricity be turned on — apparently can’t happen until Wednesday…

Still need to research air conditioners. Lot to learn there. Metal skins, condensation, ventilation, and so on…

It just so happens, with all the waiting for the title and then for flood waters to recede over the last few months, that my trailer is arriving on my very first day of massage school! I don’t even know what meaning to assign to that coincidence in the big scheme of things!  On a practical level, I can’t be in two places at once.

I don’t want to miss any of my massage education, but I think I need to be there when the trailer arrives. I’ll email the school and let them know and plan to get there as soon as I can.

Hello, major life changes. Good to see you! 

If it feels weird and wrong, don’t do it

That’s a quote from Alison Hinks, yoga blogger and graphic artist, in this blog post that starts out being about how college is not for everyone, and ends up with yoga.

That is such a good guideline for yoga students, I’m stealing it and sharing it. I, the yoga teacher, am in my own body, not yours. I do not know what you are feeling, or exactly where your “edge” is. I can sometimes “see” what’s happening, but I can’t experience it the way you do.

Therefore, you are the authority figure for your body.

Alison writes:

In yoga class, in educational decisions, in relationships. Don’t do anything because that is what you’re “supposed to do.” Ever. Evereverevereverever. Live your life from love, excitement, and kindness, but never that fuzzy, unsatisfying place called “supposed to.”

This is the best rule of thumb ever, and especially applicable to yoga students.

When a yoga student does something different because she has listened to her own body, she deserves recognition. It’s not even about how adept you are at a pose. It’s about listening and honoring your body.

Read The case against college here.   

Graphic: Patanjali’s 8 limbs of yoga

The marvelous yogini-cum-graphic-artist Alison Hinks, who created the yoga lineages flow chart I linked to earlier, has done it again.

This beautiful graphic shows the eight limbs of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras.

What’s extra nice is that she’s identified the actions you do and the experiences that happen to you because you have practiced the actions effectively.

Thank you, Alison Hinks, for adding beauty and inspiration to the world.