Samavesha Mexico!It’s hard to imagine being in 80 degree sunny Mexico last week and in a snow storm today. I had the privilege of being both a student and a teacher at the Anusara School of Hatha Yoga’s gathering called, Samavesha, last week.
Over two hundred people convened on the lovely town of Tepoztlán an hour or so outside of Mexico City. The town is famous for the remains of El Tepozteco temple built on top of the nearby Tepozteco Mountain. The event was held at Hotel Buena Vibra or hotel of good vibes. And it certainly was just that. Set against the backdrop of the mountain, the hotel was filled with lush gardens of greenery, flowering vines and bushes, Buddha statues, meditation areas, hot tubs and bird song. Every view was exquisite. There were three yoga studios and we had three choices of classes or workshops to attend for each time slot. There were workshops on assisting, teaching with themes, anatomy and functional movement as well as classes for all levels and focus.
We hiked up to the ancient Aztec pyramid at the top of the mountain – a hot, intense hour long vertical climb accompanied by much panting, water drinking and rests to slow the heart rate.
Carolos Pomeda, a dear old friend and esteemed scholar, taught on Paramarthasara, an 11th century text which offers a summary of Kashmir Shaivism in 105 verses. This is the Tantric philosophy of inclusivity that underpins Anusara yoga. Each class and offering was bilingual. English speaking teachers had their classes translated into Spanish. Spanish speaking teachers had their classes translated into English. We could all understand one another and grow and learn from each other.
I reconnected with many dear old friends and teachers and met and made many new ones. It struck me how important the feeling of being part of a community is to me: the sense of knowing I have place. Kula, or community is an integral part of yoga and a particular focus for Anusara and for us at Shree.
Saturday morning was a highlight. At 9:00 am I taught 55 of my peers a yoga class focused on Rahasya, or the secret. My friend and fellow Anusara teacher, Adolfo, translated my class into Spanish: word for word with great skill. He also did a few spectacular demonstrations. I was very nervous about teaching this class. I have never taught at the Anusara gatherings. Teaching my peers felt different from teaching my students. I prepared the class with more care than I’ve ever prepared a class before. I practiced it several times at Shree and asked for feedback. I was told that the class was technically great, but I wasn’t being myself. I was so stuck to the notes I’d prepared, scared I’d forget something or do a poor job. Feeling the support of the Anusara community, I let go of my notes, stepped into the seat of the teacher, into just being myself and, in my opinion, nailed it! I felt really good about it. It was so hard to let go, and so worthwhile.
Anusara Yoga experienced a shake-up in 2012. Now that we are a teacher led school, we are thriving and growing, alive and well. The Anusara methodology, philosophy and science remain current and applicable. They and the community are the bedrock of my own yoga practice, teaching, and what I bring to Shree.
It was a wonderful five days and now I am happy to be back and look forward to continuing to share Anusara yoga with you all.