What: Ashtanga & Ayurveda workshop with Mary Flinn
When: October 17-19, 2014
by Gert McQueen
Unknown to Kathy Falge, our most excellent Ashtanga instructor, when she set up this weekend of great yoga for us, there also was scheduled, in the building, the annual ‘Haunted House’. Our yoga studio is on the second floor of a ‘historical’ Paddock Arcade building, in Watertown NY.
The first session of our workshop started Friday at 5:30p.m., just as the first group of folks arrived to be ‘scared’ by ghosts, ghouls and other creepy creatures. The ghoul-guides were helpful, in directing, both folks arriving for yoga and those wanting to be scared, in the darken stairs and hallway. The ‘sound effects’ of creepy wind howling actually was a help in keeping me (us?) focused. We were lucky, there wasn’t much screaming or banging around with the haunting as we thought there would be. We yogis were so focused, on our breathing that Dracula could have entered the room and we would not have noticed.
No doubt about it, Friday evening’s energy was quite high. Many of us, who shared last year’s workshop with Mary Flinn, were ready to do it again.
That first evening’s session was concentration on three areas of attention; posture, gaze and breath. The program said ‘1/2 of the primary series’ but that night we did the complete primary series. The natural deep concentration, on all our breathing, created a ‘natural high’. Many of us, not only experienced the high, that night, but marveled about it for a week.
While the weather turned to heavy rain Saturday morning, the session was quite lively as Mary discussed the doshas and other aspects of Ayurveda thought. She also had scheduled individual consultations during the three days. We then moved in our practice trying out various ways we could increase or decrease breath/movement for each of the doshas and for high or low energies and conditions. Before we knew it is was lunch break.
I had brought myself a bag lunch and drove to one of the most beautiful ‘park’ cemeteries we have here. I drove around one of the several ponds that were filled with the local population of ducks and geese as well as those on their migrations. They are beautiful to watch. I found myself in a visual meditation as I watched rain drops slid down the window with leaves flying around as the ducks passively drifted in the pond. Contentment!
Saturday afternoon’s session was focused on techniques used in assisting others. I paired off with Sandy, my once-a-upon-a-time Tai-Chi instructor and sometime yoga instructor. While learning these techniques are interesting and valuable, I would not utilize them myself, that is a personal preference. It is always good to learn more about yoga postures and how to help yourself and others with proper alignments.
Sunday morning’s session started with the complete standing postures of the ‘first’ or primary series, which also is the beginning of the ‘second’ series. The primary series, standing and sitting postures, is called ‘yoga therapy’ because it detoxes the body making it ready for the second series which goes into more advanced twists, backbends and more.
Once finished with the standing postures, we came to sitting on the mat, where we immediately started in on second series postures. Generally speaking, we normally do not get to do many of these postures in our class schedules. So this exploration was very helpful in learning various preparations for backbends — backbends themselves and some arm balances and head stands.
All too quickly the session and workshop ended. As always, everyone learned and shared much together. We all are looking forward to more workshops with Mary. We all thank Kathy and Jeff for all they give to us and for bringing Mary to us. And a great thank you to Mary!
Find Gert on Twitter @gertmcqueen!