Wa Yo Yogi

Leanne Kitteridge's adventures in Yoga

Maui Weekend Workshop- The Three Goddesses September 28, 2009

Well I am writing two blog posts in one night which is unheard of but I am up so here we go. I am going to summarize the weekend in one go.

Day One Morning

John opened with a talk on Navaratri. It is the 9 sacred nights of the Goddesses- three Goddesses in three incarnations.  He talked about the deep orderliness of the universe. The krama or order of life. You plant a seed in the dark and the roots go down and the stalk goes up and the stalk bears branches and the branches leaves, then fruit and the fruit ripens and falls and goes back into the earth and the cycle starts again. The dark is not necessarily bad or empty- in actually it is one big blank slate full of potential. It is full of anything you want to dream.

We started out our practice with Kali. Kali is raw- she comes from dark where you plant a seed of intention. She is the muscle energy of the pose. We hugged in tight and did really strong poses that need stability. It was a morning of long standing poses and things like press handstand and half lotus handstand- which I had never even thought of let alone tried! It rocked pretty good though and we came out to see the Laulima Farms gang and others from Kipahulu and a truck full of coconuts! For the screaming deal of $3 we had Jayanti open a coconut for us and after drinking the milk he would make us a bowl of the nut and even a little spoon to scoop it with. Oh so good……

We took off during the long break  ( 10am to 4pm) and hit the south side of the island going to Makena and big beach. We had our first swim at the beach in front of the Maui Prince but the lifeguards came by and showed us a portuguese man of war which were in the water. The sting is apparently excruciating so it kind of put a damper on the swim time. We had lunch from the Jaws Taco truck in the Big Beach parking lot and then sat and watched the waves at Big Beach. There is finally a lifeguard tower there which is a longtime coming. The have 90 spinal injuries every year at that beach due to the high shore break which dashes people head first into the sand. I had a bad toss there once and it scared me very badly and I am not a weak swimmer.

We finished the south side with a drive further down the road but the clouds were rolling in from the north- which we had come South to avoid!- so we headed back to prep for afternoon practice.

Day One Afternoon

We started the afternoon with questions and one of them group asked why we ( the Anusara community?) chant so softly. I know why we do, but it was interesting to hear John phrase it. He said it related to integrity in relationship of all of the parts. Can you hear yourself but also hear across the room? Can you blend rather than stand out? I have to say the group took it to heart because day two’s afternoon chant was one of the sweetest I have ever heard- it just rode the flow of the island itself. So good…..

John also talked more about the Turiya state ( see my blog on the Dancing Shiva) as being the “ground of being”, the undifferentiated universal place from which the Goddesses arise. I don’t think I have ever thought about it in that way- like this primordial soup of all potential but it makes sense in the thinking of Spanda or Divine pulsation and where that comes from.

One of the other questions was on why a teacher made the Australians role to the left after savasana. Apparently it really threw the practitioners. John gave an explanation of why we roll to the right. It is not about anything anatomical- as some teachers may say- but it is following what is called “pradakshina”. Pradakshina literally means right in Sanskrit and it is in line with moving clockwise which is considered the movement of nature. In temples in India one always keeps the diety on the right side of the body as the circle the diety in prayer. Pradakshina therefore can also mean circumambulation. If you therefore chose to roll left you should know why. That’s what I love about this method- know what the origins are and why we do something and then choose. Being the southern hemisphere, I guess that teacher thought it more in line with nature to go left.

We had a totally fun practice of being spacious and listening and Ty Burhoe  ,who is one of the foremost tabla players in the world, came in and joined the group. I met Ty in Japan a few years ago and I was pretty stoked when he set up his tabla right in front of Sjanie and I . We had randomly picked a new area in the room and plop- there Ty sat playing right in front of us during our practice. We really had a practice of Sarasvati, for she is the first sound and she is really the goddess of all sound “nada”. John and Ty both explained that we recognize sound from not the sound itself but from the space in between the sounds. I know- ponder that one for a while…..

The physical practice was  full of very deep hip openers, half standing lotus, deep pigeon, yogidandasana, and for the garnish we did firefly which- thank god- Sjanie had introduced to me about a year ago. I got in from the standing entry but John also taught getting in from yogidandasana. I opted out and went for the known but Sjanie decided to rock it out with the new entry and had success. Cool.

Day Two Morning

Day two ended on the last day of Navaratri and we had a very “juicy” practice.  We talked about the higher octaves of the middle three elements: air, fire and water. The higher octave of air is prana- it is charged by sunlight and has the ability to move. Fire’s higher vibration is Tejas- a luminosity. It is the flash of light at the beginning of conception. The higher vibration of water is Ojas- the juicy power of life itself, the nectar of our life force.

John took the juiciness into a curvy spiraling practice of backbended forms of trikonasana and pincha mayurasana and of course the matrix backbend. It was all about keeping all the goddesses in our form: Kali in our strength, Sarasvati in our awareness and then letting Lakshmi pour her delight into the vessel of the body. This is really important to note because you can have all these curved fluid forms without muscle energy and then the juiciness just drains because you have not first created a strong vessel to hold it. Sjanie and I both have found we need a little more play in our practice- we are both strong enough that the rigid forms take away our juice. It can dry you out if you move too quickly and too rigidly. You have to build strength first- that is essential – but then you have to have some flow and play in there once that is established.

We did handstand with our legs revolving around in both directions- thank you Chris Chavez for introducing that to me- and dropbacks with one hand on the collarbone assists. We then finished the practice with a pose I have never ever attempted- mandalasana. It was so juicy by that time it actually seemed easy. I realized that pose would be impossible if you tried to stay rigid or muscle your way through it. It had to be this playful delight that just kept running your feet around your head. We finished the morning in seated meditation and was surprised to have a little voice whisper in my ear,” Breathe deeply” and was delighted by a sudden hit of fresh gardenia under my nose. It seemed super powerful after the morning practice. Tiff, Kelly and a few others softly made their way around the room with scents of the island for all of us to delight in with our eyes closed and hearts open. Sjaine and I were grinning like idiots at the end of practice and we kept it juicy with breakfast at Colleen’s in Haiku. Hawaiian spiced bread french toast seemed oh so appropriate.

We hit the beach for the afternoon in the most amazing weather and managed to finally “be one with nature” during the trip. The wind and water were perfect and the sun felt exquiste…everywhere!

Day Two Afternoon

The afternoon purnahuti ( final celebration) was a deep talk by John on how to really live your life . It was about the four cornerstones of how to live: arta/kama/moksha/dharma. How to keep the juicy delight but have resources to support yourself and be in line with nature and have a sense of pleasure about what you are doing. Many of us get stuck in careers or relationships that literally drain us. You can’t necessarily just run away for that may be adharmic ( against dharma)  if you have a family to care for or responsibilities to others. The key is to find ways to increase  the others to find balance.

We had a practice of discharging excess vata in the body. Vata is usually the first dosha to go out of wack and it’s home in our body is the lower region which regulates elimination in the body. If energy is not moving down naturally ( apanavayu) then it can create discomfort and illness in the body. By releasing vata and getting this to move more naturally the ojas goes up and we get that juicyness back again. 

Getting you thigh bones back helps calm vata and we did lots of poses with that intention. We also did headstand and shoulderstand. Now that might not sound like much to you but John hardly ever teaches those two poses. It was actually really great to get the King and Queen poses ( Headstand/shoulderstand) taught by him because, done well , they can be super healing poses. The whole system responds so well to shoulder stand and it can energize you if you are down or slow you down when you are feeling anxious. It has amazing recuperative effects on the body. I love it for flying because it just feels so good to get upside down when you are in another time zone. Those two poses, handstand and a good walk, makes life pretty good on the other side of the planet.

It was a full and fulfilling workshop. John was really in sync with the island and all of us were really there with him. It seems so funny to look back three years ago to Maui where I first met John and see how far I have come, not just as a student or a teacher, but as a human being. John commented on my luster and I said “I feel so good, I feel so right. I just keep my vessel strong and let the shakti fill me up.” Life is good~

mana mahalo~ thank you spirit of the islands


Day 3 – Ram Dass and John Friend Intensive Maui

The Bhakti yogi Hanuman

The Bhakti yogi Hanuman

The theme of day three, the last day of the intensive, was ” Faith, Devotion and Grace”. We covered the last 6  chapters of the Gita- except for chapter 15. (Don’t ask) It was really the emphasis of the Bhakti path or devotional path of yoga which was contained in the last chapters of the Gita.

The Bhakti path is not really unfamiliar to us in the West as the worship of Christ is a bhakti path. Many people worship God but the figure of Christ as the embodiment of God and his attributes makes it easier for us to understand than the disembodied divine spirit. As we are manifested in physical form it is hard for us to understand and conceive that which is beyond form and so we take manifested objects and our love for them is what triggers our love and understanding of the universal. We need form or a name in order to have that opening.

I often think of my Dad that is no longer alive and my love for him takes me straight into that place where abstract thought cannot take me. My love for him teaches me about devotion. It takes the absolute realm of the universal and manifests it into something that I can understand. Love is in relationship. You need to love something to understand love- you can’t understand love from a book or from a lecture- it is experienced in relationship.

John asked us all to write down what was the secret of the Gita that Krishna gave to Arjuna- the highest teaching. This is what I wrote, ” That God is in everything and everything is in us. Knowing this, live skillfully with love in your heart”. It is amazing that it takes 18 chapters to get that but you know how we are…..Arjuna keeps asking and doubting and Krishna has to keep explaining and going into more detail….I am wondering if Krishna was a wife….hmm.

We had a rockin’ practice of love in the morning which culminated in hand stand drop over to urdva dhanurasana. I know we did some other cool stuff like a dwi pada with an assist that had our foot in our partner’s back-( I actually adjusted Sjanie’s spine….*pop* ) but we were so blissed out that I forgot. I practiced right beside the Hanuman banner and Maharaji’s picture and it was like Maharaji and the monkey were really digging our practice.

Ram Dass came back for the afternoon and I got brazen enough to ask him to sign my book. As I walked into the room he was in I signaled a bewildered Sjanie and had her grab her book. This is not something Sjanie would normally do, so I kind of cajoled her into it, but I don’t hesitate to say she has no regrets. Ram Dass was very sweet to us and I told him how my daughter loves the monkey ever since we had Satsang with him. He was very pleased about that. Sjanie and I returned to the yoga room with our books clutched to our chests and a little misty trying to soak up Maharaji’s shakti and lookin’ like we just had our favorite movie star autograph our book. Yup- yoga geeks…..

Ram Dass gave the most uplifting and warm talk and he spoke for two hours. He talked about his stroke which was very moving. He said it was like his chapter 11 in the Gita when Krishna reveals himself in the universal form. Before that Arjuna didn’t have faith- he had belief ( which comes from the mind) but he didn’t have faith ( which comes from the heart. When he has his stroke he said he lost faith- he said to Maharaji, ” Hey- did you go out for lunch??? What is THIS?” He was completely depressed in the hospital  and he stared at the picture of Maharaji on the wall. People would come in and say ” How could Maharaji let this happen to you”. It was ” all very sad” he said.

Over time though he started to realize that the stroke wasn’t from Maharaji- it was from nature. It was his karma.  His abilities that he was left with were Maharaji’s Grace. It was fierce Grace, but still Grace. Because Ram Dass had slowed down his audience had to slow down too. His wheel chair and paralysis softened people to him and he was better able to open their hearts. These positive things Maharaji supplied. Maharaji used to say to him, ” I love suffering- it brings me so close to God”.  That’s not saying that suffering is optimal, but isn’t it usually in our darkest times we seek out answers?

Ram Dass explained that devotion cannot be done by intellect. It is done by the heart. A devotee is one whose heart has been opened. He explained that he loved Maharaji and was his devotee but what he really loved was the God within Maharaji. You cannot fall in love with the God in you, your atman, but you can fall in love with the God in someone else.

John had a great quote that went, “ When I don’t know who I am I serve you- when I know who I am I am you.”  It really summerizes the path of the bhakti yogi.

Maharaji used to tell Ram Dass to meditate like Christ. ” Lose yourself in love” he would say. This puzzled Ram Dass so Maharaji showed him and, as Maharaji meditated, tears rolled down his face. Meditation can become like a ritual that is empty of love- this is what Maharaji was trying to explain. Ram Dass said, “You can sing hymns like you are reading the shopping list- but these are the beautiful words of Christ- you need to sing with love”. Ram Dass’ name means servant of God. It also is another name for Hanuman.

This segued into Ram Dass giving us a mini synopsis of the Ramayana. He kept saying he was talking too much and apologizing and we were all ” NO- please, please continue.” His assistant said he hasn’t talked that long to a group since his stroke. His assistant figured our attentiveness was feeding his desire to share. It was so very special.

Ram Dass finished his time with us by telling us his mantra- “ I am loving awareness“.  John sweetly gifted a shawl made from cashmere to Ram Dass and wrapped it around his shoulders. It was so obvious to us that it was like Maharaji’s famous blankets. It all just seemed so right. The perfect way to thank him and honour our time together.

After Ram Dass left,  John took the mantra Ram Dass told us and we used that as our japamala mantra for the afternoon. We also turned our mats and faced one person who we did  a meditation and a partner exercise with. We had to look at them and tell them what we liked about them~ what we saw. It was fun and brought back memories of doing that with Christina Sell many years ago.

We ended the whole day by making a huge circle and taking the whole three days and summarizing it into a few words or a phrase. We went around the circle saying our personal summary. There were some classics. Some of my favorites were, ” Be the loving dude I actually am” ” Love everybody” ” love makes us one” ” Hare Krishna” “Hare Ram” ( back to back no less… ) and “Yum, yum, yum” which is what Ram Dass would say every time he talked about getting to that deepest part of your soul.

I asked Ram Dass only one question during the intensive. I said, “Ram Dass, can faith and love in us awaken it in others?” He emphatically hit his good hand on the arm rest of his wheel chair and said, “YES! Absolutely!” 

My dharma thickens…….


Day 2 -John Friend and Ram Dass on the Bhagavad Gita September 25, 2009

Filed under: Anusara,teaching yoga,travel yoga,yoga — shibuiyoga @ 6:12 pm

How does a child know a flower is beautiful?

It’s intuitive. You don’t have to tell the child what is beautiful the child knows. Part of our mind is like this  and part of our mind is much more logical and looks for order and difference. We have an intelligence that sees diversity and another that sees unity. We need both. 

That seemed to be the opening flavour this morning. How to use your mind- all parts of it. John themed around fire and put the heat and the light right in our mind to help “light it up” so to speak. He said you have to have a fire in you to “live full on and have no regrets. Full on sweetness, full on sensitivity. We don’t really know why we are here but in time it will be revealed and we don’t know how we will affect the world.” So basically- go out there and live! Be passionate and dharmic about how you lead your life. It was great- he was pretty passionate about it.

We spent the rest of the morning going through chapters 6- 10 and talking about the teachings that stood out to us. Though I have studied the Gita a few times before I learned a new little gem. When Krishna says ” I am” in Sanskrit it is “Aham” – which sounds pretty close to “a” and “ham” which is the sound of the breath. The “a” is Shiva and the “ham” is shakti. There is something that my teacher friends can ponder for a while.

We talked about balancing the Gunas and then took that starting point into balancing the gunas in asana. Our practice was trying to figure out which part of the poses was more Tamasic ( heay, dark, moving slowly) and which part was more Rajasic ( fast moving, upward inertia) and then make the pose more Sattvic ( the place of the middle). Now the interesting thing is that we are always looking for the place of the middle and we think of that as “good” and so sattva is “good” and the other two are “bad”. The reality is that you need the other two to even find the middle. So nothing is bad per se- it can be good if used in a way that is life enhancing.

We spent the afternoon talking a lot about time. Some good questions arose about the new age of thinking of just being in the present and forget your past. John was pretty clear that we need our past- we need to remember- our teachers, how we got here, what informs us nad live in the present. What in your past has helped you reveal the light of your heart now? How did you get here sitting with Ram Dass and John Friend? ( or why are you reading my blog….)

We also need to pay attention to the future. He talked very openly about the melting glaciers he saw this year and how much they have retreated in just the last few years. If we only live in the present then we are not going to be able to be custodians of the future. We have to be aware of all three but not get caught in the sorrow of the past or the fear of the future. Be present- remember the past and look to see what your responsibilities are for the future. This is how we live full on~

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna,  Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare-

This was the Mahamantra that we did around our Japamalas today…..I first learned it in 1976 at the Honolulu Airport from a man that gave me a book with a lot of blue people in it. I was 6.Day One Maui Intensive 006


Day One- Ram Dass and John Friend on The Bhagavad Gita September 24, 2009

The puja

The puja

What are you a disciple to?

This was really the first question of the day. I am still puzzling as I write this what I am a disciple to. The problem is really that the logical mind wants to make the decision for you but I think the whole purpose of this intensive is that the heart is really what needs to decide.

John started the day by contextualizing the Bhagavad Gita. The Gita is part of a larger text called the Mahabharata which consists of 18 volumes…and the Gita is 18 chapters. The Gita is then divided into three 6 chapter sections. Each becoming more detailed in their teachings. One of the most important things that both Ram Dass and John reiterated is that the Gita is a living text- it not “just a book”. It is Krishna. That will make me think twice about resting my coffee mug on it so I don’t make a ring on the table.

The Gita describes three paths or margas to God- aka Krishna- which are Body , Mind and Heart. In Sanskrit we know them as Karma, Jnana and Bhakti. John has the room set up as a mandir or temple so we enter the room with certain gestures and rituals and we observe silence in the room. His idea is that rather than teaching the margas separately that we blend them all together in the teachings so that no marga is more superior to the other.

This was emphasised when we hit the morning practice and we would do a full backbend and then pick up our books and read a quote. Then backbend again and read a quote. I mentioned to Sjanie how much we like to stay in the body when we are in the body ( asana) and how we want to stay in the mind when we are in the mind(studying) and how John’s approach really rocked the boat in a way. Really at its essence that is Anusara and our method because as teachers we are trying to teach all 3 margas at the same time…we chose to call them the 3 A’s ( Attitude ( bhakti) Alignment ( Jnana) and Action( Karma) ).

We did a writing exercise today as well that I liked. Rather than hastily scribbling in your note book your intention( sankalpa) you made it matrika ( words holding power or shakti) by incasing your writing with symbols and words. I used little om signs and the word “shanti” above mine but it could be anything. I am wondering if that is why “Be Here Now” by Ram Dass is so powerful- it is matrika- all the pictures are not just a trippy hippy experience but really something much more. They are the imbedded shakti of Maharaji ( Neem Karoli Baba) delivered through Ram Dass.

The next thing that John talked about was the use of tapasya or austerities to clean the mirror so to speak. During the three day period we will be performing purification and restrictions. I have given up coffee and sugar for the intensive, committed to a 9 pm bedtime and a 5 am wake up ( which is killer without coffee) and to eat only non-processed food. Thank God Sjanie is here because she is doing the cooking so that is easy! The last one is “to tell the truth”. This is an internal restraint and I liberally stole it from Ram Dass’ experience with Maharaji but it works for me. That means I have to tell myself the truth too….not always easy.

John Friend and Ram Dass

John Friend and Ram Dass

We spent a lot of time talking about dharma. How do you find your dharma? Ram Dass had  a great point where he said you know you are in your dharma when it feels intuitively right. John said that whatever expands the light is dharmic and when the dharma goes up so does the karma- the responsibility goes up. Karma are actions that keep us in the web. For example if you give someone a gift and you are waiting for thanks for something in return that is karma- it makes impressions in the web. If you are dharmic you just give for the delight of it; no expectations of thanks or something in return- just give.

Karma is the very basic of all action, it creates ripples and patterns on the web. The Gita is telling us that the Divine- Krishna in this living text- is acting but making no ripples. That action is called kriya. So the idea is to keep acting but to become more dharmic and move from karma to kriya. We never stop acting, doing our work so to speak, but we offer it all as a gift to the Divine. It is much harder to be in and of the world and hold this mindset which is part of Arjuna’s problem and therefore our problem. How do we live life fully and effect change if we stop acting? If we stop fighting? We cannot just leave the battlefield, though some have I suppose by leaving society, but we cannot fight blindly either. We fight from a place of deep wisdom, from the depth of our heart where the seeker is the witness. Arjuna fights from the place where he is Krishna- we act from the place where we are Krishna. This is how the karma becomes kriya I think.

I believe that is what Ram Dass was getting at when he said the jivatman– the soul inside of us- needs to be where we act from. He said, ” When you identify with your soul you see other people as souls. Be one to see one.” He said we get very tied up in our roles: ie. mother, father, flight attendant, teacher, friend, etc. but they are not who we are. That dosen’t mean we can stop being them. I mean I can’t stop being a mother; that is my dharma. But there is something deeper there that I can act from, something that could make my “role” more dharmic. This is a thought that needs further contemplation but hopefully you get the drift.

It was so special to once again sit with Ram Dass and hear his teachings. The same beautiful Hanuman banner was up that I remembered from satsang and the only thing missing was my husband who so loved being there with Ram Dass. I hope that he gets the chance to do satsang again next time we are on the island. I silently thanked him and my children for making it possible for me to be present for these teachings and I felt the responsibility of being there.

 “You are the next generation, you are the custodians of the lineage.” John said this to us with such sincerity and intensity. Maharaji and Mukatananda are gone and Gurumai is in retreat and Ram Dass’ health is precarious. I might be one the teachers that says “Yes- I was with Ram Dass and John Friend on Maui in 2009” and that will be something significant. I am not sure. It doesn’t really matter. It is significant to me.

Hare Krishna~


The Road to Paradise…. September 23, 2009

Maui flora

Maui flora

Well I am back in Maui for the John Friend/Ram Dass workshop on the Bhagavad Gita with my yoga sister  Sjanie McInnis.  We arrived after a long day/night/day to our little cottage in Haiku and spent the afternoon exploring the wonders of Mana foods in Paia and having an evening swim at a local beach as we watched the sun go down. Not bad for day one. Day two started off with the most amazing oatmeal-coconut porridge from Sjanie- inspired by this months Yoga Journal (Oct/09) and taken to a new level of scrumptious by adding cardamom and fresh young ginger.

The deal is Sjanie cooks and I drive- which if you know us is the wisest split of duties you can get. Today I got off light though as Sjanie still cooked but Geordie Milne drove- another friend and yoga teacher from Vancouver. He has been here two weeks already and was desperate to show us all his discoverys on the South-east side of Maui aka the road to Hana.

We began our journey by driving up to Kula and then followed the road- sometimes lack of it- all the way to Hana. I knew some people drove that way but I thought the road had been damaged during the earthquake a few years ago but it was actually in pretty good shape. I recommend a sturdy vehicle and a driver with a sense of mountain driving though. It is not for the faint of heart. Flatlanders be warned!

Our guide and driver Geordie

Our guide and driver Geordie

Laulima Farm om the South-East side of Maui near Hana

Laulima Farm om the South-East side of Maui near Hana

Our first stop was the Laulima Farms. this place was incredible. For all of you that are interested in sustainable farming and organic  food this will be an inspiration. We were cheerily greeted by Beth and quickly ordered fresh coffee with coconut milk. The coffee beans are grown and roasted right there along with the coconut milk. It was delicious!! Sjanie bought a key lime popsicle ( $2) which was raw, creamy from coconut milk and to die for. Geordie’s banana bread was pretty darn good too. We wandered through the farm a little but if you meet at the fruit stand at 2pm on Saturdays you can take a guided tour of the kitchen and upper gardens. We stopped to talk to Jenn who worked in the kitchen and she told us about the community lunch she was preparing and it sounded heavenly. It is a kabutz of sorts and everyone there seemed pretty happy to be there. It was inspiring to say the least.

Beth serving us inside the Laulima Farm Fruit stand- awesome food

Beth serving us inside the Laulima Farm Fruit stand- awesome food

Sjanie and her raw key lime popsicle~yum

Sjanie and her raw key lime popsicle~yum












It was hot on the hill and we needed a little moisture so our next stop was the O’heo Gulch waterfall pools- known more commonly as the 7 sacred pools. Sjanie and I were in the water so fast. So many people came to see them but we were some of the only ones in the water. Of course the scenery begged for some yoga poses on rocks etc so I have a few here and the ones of Sjanie you will have to look for on her blog.

O'heo Gulch aka 7 sacred pools

O'heo Gulch aka 7 sacred pools

Wild thing at the 7 sacred pools

Wild thing at the 7 sacred pools

Geordie rockin' Mayurasana

Geordie rockin' Mayurasana

Sjanie and I cooling off- 7 sacred pools

Sjanie and I cooling off- 7 sacred pools

From there we drove a little further down the road and hiked into the Venus pool. Now that was really crazy~ it was salty and buoyant and had a little island in the center.  The rock was so hot I burnt my feet and I couldn’t get into the water fast enough. I could spend the whole day there floating around. Some guys were jumping off cliffs but frankly I am not that brave …or stupid. Great when you are 20 not so great at 40……

The Venus Pool~ amazing swimming area

The Venus Pool~ amazing swimming area

We had our lunch at the Hana Hotel but missed actual lunch and had pupu’s- snacks and stuff. Expensive but tasty. Sjanie had a great wheat beer with lilikoi in it and I think we may have to go search it out. We drove the rest of the windy road back with a stop in a bamboo forest that reminded me of Crouching Tiger and then set foot right back to our little cottage on the beginning of the Hana Highway. We started at 8:30 that morning and got back at 5:30 so it was a full day but not rushed.

It was so great to see this part of Maui that we had never ventured to. Now that my kids are a little older they can maybe handle the drive and there are some spots that are really unique and worth the effort so I plan to get out there again~ especially for the Laulima Farm coffee and popsicles!


Mercury’s Messed Up Weekend September 15, 2009

mercuryIt’s official. I have been accepted into the Anusara Certification process. I now have one year to complete a 30 hour written exam and submit a video that passes the certification requirements.  With 550 hours of training behind me in Anusara and almost 3 years as an Anusara Inspired teacher you think I should be ready for this, and I am in many ways, but in others it feels like the whole playing field kinda shifted. I am excited and scared all at the same time.

I had an interesting weekend where I combined my flying with my yoga. unfortunately it didn’t quite go as planned. I had a 24 hour Toronto layover and thought I could maybe get in a yoga class with some of the TO kula while there. My friend Josie Houpt mentioned that Martin Kirk was in town for a Master Class and Anatomy training so I decided that maybe I could catch a small part of that. I phoned to register and pay my money and looked forward to a fun layover. The fact that Mercury was in retrograde didn’t really phase me…then.

I woke at 5am to get ready for work and was heading out the door in full uniform when scheduling called to tell me there was an 1:40 delay. Great. That would make me possibly late for the workshop and I started to stress a little but thought “yeah- I will be fine.” I phone Toronto and made arrangements in case I was late and headed off to work. I was chatting to the agents at the airport when their radio went off. I could clearly hear the words, ” Flight cancelled”. The agents looked at me and I pulled out my phone to call scheduling. They weren’t sure what they were doing with me yet and asked me to call back. The rest of my crew walked by a few minutes later and informed me we were dead heading ( aka going as a passenger) to Toronto now.  That was strange but hey- I was just going with the flow. It ended up only 3 of us made the flight and I sat for 5 hours as a passenger but got to read more Ram Dass and watched Star Trek- which was actually really good! We got in to TO during rush hour and after a long drive to the hotel I quickly changed and had to pay a crazy amount of money to catch a taxi to the venue.

I arrived one hour late and walked into the Master class as they were doing bound parsvakonasana, to bound trikonasana to bird of paradise. Bound poses? You have got to be kidding me! 5 hours in a seat plus 1.5 hours in a cab= no hamstring mobility and stiff shoulders. So without even one down dog or sun salutation, I rolled my mat down and joined the class. I was feeling strange and out of place until the two yogis next to me smiled and said, ” Hi Leanne!” Jenn from London ON now in Toronto and her best friend Elyse. They looked so happy to see me that I just immediately felt better and all my crazy day softened away. We had a rockin’ practice and then a few of us went for dinner and had some great laughs.

We rejoined early the next morning and Martin led us through a really great anatomy workshop. I was only able to do 4 hours of training but what we did cover in that amount of time was in-depth. Martin’s passion for the mechanics of the body is clear, but what I found interesting was that his new roll of parent( Jonathon is 9 months) has made him even more fascinated with how the human form actually manifests and grows. He gave a great talk on embryonics which I loved and it all just seemed to so seamlessly fit into the metaphysics and philosophy of Anusara.

I had a quick bite with Josie and then headed back to my hotel, got changed and rode back to the airport. My colleague and I sat chatting at our gate waiting for our aircraft when they announced a gate change. Ok- no problem. Then I looked at the screen- delayed two hours and a downgrade of the aircraft. So once again the cell phones come out and once again crew scheduling is not sure if we are even leaving. Two thoughts arise ” Crap- I have a yoga workshop I am teaching tomorrow” and ” Well, if I had known I could have stayed for the second part of the workshop with Martin!“. Damn Mercury. At this point I realize I am starting to believe all this Mercury in retrograde nonsense and shoot my mind forward a week to my Japan flight: which is immediately followed by my 6 year olds hula birthday party which is immediately followed by a 3am drive to Seattle to catch a plane to Maui. Double crap.

Well the good news is we did leave finally and I got home too late to review my workshop and too tired to practice early in the morning. I did a few handstands, lunges, down dogs and then headed out the door to Newport Yoga where I arrived on time ( unbelievable after the rest of the weekend) to a lovely bunch of yogis who all learned to balance on their hands or balance better in some cases. After all the craziness it felt so wonderful to just be doing what I truly love- share yoga.

I hope that Mercury has finished messing with me…….