For the past 10 days I’ve been immersed in teaching an intermediate series intensive—guiding 40 students from all over the world in an exploration of Nadi Shodana (the purification of the little rivers). The days are long—roughly 10 hours per day—hot, and grueling. Everyday is a challenge for me to summon the Martian energy in my increasingly Saturnine body, particularly now on the eve of the ominous Mars/Saturn conjunction (tomorrow at 4:27am). Every night I come home feeling both exhilarated and exhausted as I reflect back on the events of the day. It’s a lot for me to take on at my age, and I would never get through it without a lot of help from my friends and my guru. In the 30 years I spent as a student of Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, Guruji always demonstrated an unflagging work ethic, an amazing passion for teaching, and a great love for his students. Every day I am inspired by his example and by the wonderful people who are drawn to this practice—people who have the willingness to work hard, the openness to explore themselves and the practice more deeply, and the vulnerability to feel the feelings that come up. I am honored that these students have placed themselves in my care for the two weeks of the training and sincerely hope that I can share something with them during this time that will be of lasting value.
In the midst of teaching yoga sutras, biomechanics of asana, safe and effective adjustments, mantras and devotional songs, etc., I am always amazed at the bonding process that happens in the group—how people slowly cultivate great affection for each other. Many of these students I have worked with before and am already very fond of, but there are several new ones to get to know as well. Every day I am the recipient of small acts of kindness—people leave me little gifts of coconut water, homemade cookies, bulletproof coffee, dragon fruit, etc. An amazing group of teachers—Natasha, Holly, Atsuro, Kiran, Leigha, and Chungsue—are there every day, generously offering their assistance and insights. Some of the students have learned how I like to set up and room and have become proficient at anticipating my needs and reducing my workload. Maybe best of all are all the hugs and expressions of gratitude. Tomorrow morning, when I drag my sorry ass out of bed, take stock of all my aches and pains and contemplate the great challenges that await me during the course of the day, it will be a great consolation to know that I will be surrounded by so much love.