Vishudda Voice

I often use classes from Yoga Download when I practice at home. In the mood for something a little different, I began a class entitled “Sun Salutations.” Lovely.

But when it began, I realized this was a Baron Baptiste Power Vinyasa flow led by David Farmar. I haven’t exactly been practicing a power flow lately. So I was nervous about it. And I remembered my last year or so in Boston, I went to hot Baptiste classes every week, a couple of times a week. And I absolutely loved it. I fell in love with yoga all over again through that hot, sweaty movement. But what I forgot about it, and one of the things I really loved about it, was the humor and attitude of the teachers.

So calm, so funny. Really pointing out the moments when you can hold or push just a little bit harder. There’s definitely an edge to the Baptiste voice. It’s not a Kripalu voice – which is often focused on nurturing and “if you feel like it, come into this pose” and sometimes can feel a little bit like coddling. The Baptiste tone is a little nudgey – a little pointed. I don’t know how exactly to describe it, but there’s a little more tough love in the attitude.

I’m not saying that one is better or worse than the other. I have enjoyed both, and sometimes, I need to be guided in different ways by different teachers depending on where I am in my practice.

Today, I absolutely enjoyed this class. I took a couple of child-pose-breaks in the physical practice, but the energy I feel now is out of this world.

This is the first time I think I’ve really realized how different schools of yoga can influence your practice. Not just on an alignment, prana-focus level, but on a deeper level of communication. I always knew that yoga had many different styles and incarnations, but it’s interesting, now, to see and to notice how intentional these style choices can be. And, as an aspiring teacher, to watch how a turn of phrase or tone of voice can change the mood of an entire practice.

This month in our training, we are focusing on finding our true voice. And, I know yoga asana is the preparation for meditation, but this class has got me thinking a lot about the impact your true voice can make and the kind of yoga teacher I want to be.

When It Rains

This weekend yoga teacher training was intense. Our first teaching practical brought up a lot of emotions for people. And our focus on the 4th and 5th chakras, our heart and our creative expression, brought even more people to the edge.

It was wonderful to be in a safe place as these issues come up, again and again. But I find myself so drained after these weekends that I just float around, disconnected for the next week or so.

I feel like I’ve been struggling with balance in my life for quite a while. I almost feel that my first, real grown-up decision came to me as I debated whether to follow a mainstream career path or dive into a more healing art full time. And the thought I had then was, “I don’t have to choose.”

And I believed it fully and completely, then. What a relief it was, too. I don’t have to decide! I can have both. I intended, from then on, to do just that. Meaning, do everything.

Right now, I feel as though I have too many masters to serve, and I’m serving none of them well.

I look at what I say are my priorities – love, family, friends, health – and I realize I’m not making choices to support these things.

And I’m exhausted. So it comes around again – this question of choosing.

Is there such a thing as a simple life? I look at my m&m co-hort in Chi, and my romantic version of living from the heart dissapates. It’s clear that it’s incredibly difficult to survive and flourish financially and soulfully at the same time.

A friend gave me some advice recently: Live what you love.

Live what you love and everything else will come. I want desperately to believe this is true. I want not to be afraid, or cynical. I want to live what I love. Not just from 9 to 5, but daily on the mat and off. Now, can someone tell me just how the hell I’m supposed to do that?