03 Dec Okayama Blog December 2013
Dear Beloved Kula,
I just finished my first weekend in Okayama with a group of enthusiastic and very strong yoga teachers and students. Naoko has a lovely studio in Okayama that attracts intermediate and advanced yoga practitioners. This is quite rare in Japan as mostly folks here in Japan associate yoga with relaxation. The restorative classes here are usually the most popular classes on the schedule.
I had sent my four workshop descriptions to Naoko and arrived to discover that she had changed the order of the workshops. The first one was a foundations workshop that focused on hands and feet placement, the action around the wrists and ankles, lifting arches and getting grounded. I had originally planned a more energetic class for the afternoon of the first day.Naoko flipped the order and put the final workshop of pranayama, hip openers and mediation on the same day as the basic foundation workshop. That meant day two was backbends and inversions in the morning and arm balances in the afternoon leaving the two advanced kick butt workshops back to back. It was especially challenging to do the twisting arm balancing workshop after lunch!! These students were real troopers and attempted all the level 2 syllabus pose without a single complaint. These are really strong yogis!
I modeled the second workshop on Day 1 on two different sources. This was a brand new format for this Meditation workshop. I borrowed the self inquiry, chakra meditation from Shankaranada’s Shiva process and the practice of the mediation/ asana/chanting/savasana cycles from Paul Muller-Ortega. The result was a deep dip into the subtle body. I so want to do this workshop again when I get home. The students were so still and deep into meditation I hated to bring them out.
At the end if this four workshop intensive many students were requesting a return visit to Okayama and were inquiring about the upcoming Immersion series starting in Osaka on Wednesday.
I had a meeting with teachers and aspiring teachers at lunch on our first day explaining the new Anusara® School of Hatha yoga and its vision. I wanted to let them know that after I complete the immersion series this year, it is my intention to return in 2015 to do an Anusara® Teacher training.
There are many questions and lots of students in Japan wanting to study Anusara®. The students and teachers from the Anusara® community in Japan have gone through a lot of turmoil like the rest of our community. Some have abandoned Anusara® and embraced Ex-Anusara teachers. Others are still practicing and teaching Anusara® yoga and are looking to connect to the newly formed Anusara® School of Hatha Yoga (ASHY) and community.
It is absolutely heart warming to see the growth of this community over the past 9 years. I am so honored to be invited to return and look forward to leading Immersion I and two public workshops this week in Osaka. They have generously given me 2 days off to regroup. I am meeting some friends in Osaka tomorrow and hope to travel to Kyoto on Tuesday for some sight seeing.
I send you so much love from the Land of the Rising Sun. I have been up and meditating very early every morning as the sun rises. It is not 8 pm yet and I am ready for bed!! Jet Lag is so fun!! I have the sleep habits of a 9 year old!!