Tag Archives: Rajashree Choudhury

“Mindfulness” (period)~ Emmy Cleaves

Hello hi hi!!

Whew, where to start where to start. I just got back from Austin, Tx, where I was attending the Bikram Yoga Women’s Retreat as well as judging the Texas Regional yoga competition. I am sure I have written on here somewhere how much I love the city of Austin. I always knew I wanted to go to Texas, I didn’t know what was drawing me there but I always knew I had to visit. I found Austin and have since named it as one of my favourite places I’ve visited! So, I was so happy to be back in Austin even if only for a few days.

At the women’s retreat, we got to take class from Rajashree (bikram’s wife) as well as from Emmy (the principal of Bikram’s school…and his long time friend and yoga teacher). Over the years I have probably learned the most tidbits of posture information from Emmy. I always learn a few great amazing things when I take her class, so I always feel so fortunate when I get to spend time with her. This was a special circumstance event as well because she was around for discussion, posture clinic, meals, etc, so there was so much invaluable time with her. I won’t get into all the details of the weekend, you’d be bored and I’d be here writing all night!!….but I will tell you this: Karma is ALWAYS a circle, so what goes around, comes around…if you know what I mean…

On Saturday I was asked to be a demonstrator for the advanced class we did. This meant that I, as well as another woman and amazing yogi I know, were to do the class on the podium with Emmy. No problem, I’ve done it before for Bikram as well as have done advanced demonstration at the teacher trainings, so I was happy to do it…knowing full well it meant Emmy would be beside me for 2 hours and was bound to find at least a few things to correct!! Of course, I was so looking forward to it…I needed a tune up! 😉 I learned a couple of gems, a few things I didn’t know and was able to ask a few questions about postures which I had been wondering about. All in all a great great practice.

So, then on Sunday I was to ensure Emmy got back to her room, got lunch, and made it to the competition. So, I put my mat right up at the front, beside the podium, so I would be there for her when the class finished. Emmy has, presumably, taught for her whole career from a chair at the back of the room. She usually walks around, very stealthily, during the floor series if she is spotting some things she doesn’t like, and then has a seat for the floor series. This day, this Sunday morning in Austin, Texas, Emmy taught the ENTIRE class from the podium! Yup, she stayed up close the whole time…and once her eyes spotted me in my set in my ways (?) practice, she was all over me like a dirty shirt (is that even a saying??!!). I got some much needed help with a few of my postures (in addition to the corrections in the advanced class), and chalk it up to my karma of the extra attention I’ve been known to give when I’m teaching ;).

So, this now brings me back to the topic….Mindfulness. (Period). Emmy said a few good gems this past weekend, I can only hope to remember them as I am living my life…but the one that stuck with me, the simplest and yet perhaps the most challenging thing…Mindfulness. (Period). She talked about mindfulness as being the most important element of any yoga practice…the ability to try and not give up as well as know when to sit down or take it easy…

Well my loves, it’s time for bed. I taught a double yesterday, a double today and teach another double tomorrow…SIX classes in THREE days….I am not sure when the last time I taught so many classes in a row was!! It’s fun but at the same time, it’s a lot of energy to give…so time for me to rest up for tomorrow. It makes me think of another blog post…about yoga and the gas station…but that’s going to have to wait… 😉

Love you,

Yoga isn’t just about Relaxation…and other interesting tidbits

Good morning my loves! It’s another grey morning out there, but the rain seems to have stopped for now and even that seems a relief.

I just watched a quickie video interview with Rajashree (Choudhury) and the final word from the new caster was something about being relaxed for the next segment. While I FULLY agree that yoga DOES create relaxation in the body/mind/spirit, I think it is an energizer in those areas as well…don’t you think? I started doing this practice (Bikram Yoga) in the summer of 2000. I did it because a couple friends recommended it to me. I had been doing other yoga at the community center and this sounded interesting (btw, I don’t even think either of them mentioned it was HOT…but maybe I just don’t remember correctly). I have been doing this practice of yoga for over 11 years and have been teaching for almost 9. I could not even begin to tell you the amount of classes I’ve taken or taught over those years.

I will tell you this, though, I have had times of more yoga and less yoga and what I have come to believe and know in my head heart and soul is that whatever you decide for you in your practice is what is right for you in your practice. There are challenges going on all over the world right now…30/60/YEAR! challenges…yogis who have decided to do a challenge because it’s happening, or because a friend is doing it or because they want to lose weight or or or. I have done many a challenge in my years and after the last 30 day I did I decided I would not do one again (that was almost 2 years ago). I found myself in that challenge begrudging the yoga and my HAVING to go to class. WHY WOULD I WANT TO EVER HATE HAVING TO GO TO CLASS?? I know, the challenge is to show you how strong you are and how in the face of adversity you really CAN do something and give you a sense of accomplishment etc etc…and so many other things it can give/show you. But when I found myself on days being angry about going to class I decided then and there that I don’t ever want to go to the yoga room feeling angry that I’m there or wishing I wasn’t…

Yoga is about whatever you want it to be about. On the surface it is so good for the physical body. It stretches the whole body, the spine, and helps to counteract the effects of daily life (the sitting, the carrying, the stress and tension we hold…). As you practice more you start to realise the mental benefits of clearer thinking, increased relaxation, quieter mind, better judgement and/or choices…and the list goes on. A few months ago there were a string of articles about how yoga isn’t actually good for your back and body. Isn’t that the truth about anything and everything if practiced incorrectly or for the wrong reasons (people often refer to the people who push themselves to do more than the body will allow or is willing and ready to do as ego driven…this includes yogis and all athletes alike…come to think of it the same goes for people driven in all areas of life…alas, that is for another post). For me now (and, don’t get me wrong, I have done many postures and things with my body at a time that my body was maybe not ready to do but I did it anyhow…and I’ve had many messages from my body that it’s had enough. Some pains I feel and have felt are movement and healing and some are self-infliced. I totally get that now and understand the difference between ego-ing into postures and practicing yoga…) yoga is truly about the union. The coming together of the body, mind and spirit. I spend my time in the yoga room reminding myself to enjoy this life and enjoy this body enjoy the sensations I’m feeling because I CAN feel them! Most of us spend our entire lives trying to find this union and see only glimpses of it…but isn’t that the fun in life?