Bristol Yoga Studio,
January 13, 2013
“Divine is my Partner.”
There were an even dozen of us in last Sunday’s 3 hour Ashtanga
Workshop offered by art yogi, Michael Rich at the Bristol Yoga Studio.
Thank you Michael for your gentle clear-eyed words, knowing guidance
and sense of humor. And for letting us out just in time for the Pats game.
The following are some enlightened excerpts from his one hour talk that apply to all forms of yoga not just Ashtanga. After the talk we practiced for two hours.
Yoga is 95% practice and 5% theory. In other words, by DOING it, you can “get it”.
Commit to practice often - with quality. It doesn’t matter if what you do doesn’t look like the pose. The spirit of the practice arises through moving, bending and breathing.
But caution is advised to not over do, over stretch or try too hard. If your breath is strained or forced - you are moving too fast. Listen to your body (more than your teacher) and proceed with caution. Yoga is something that heals us - not hurts us.
“Use effort where necessary, and relax when possible.”
Yoga is about moving with grace. A dance with the body connected through the breath. A way of preparing to receive the divine from above. Courting grace - making
divine your dance partner. Trying to recognize a version of God within ourselves and everyone else and surrendering to that supreme being.
Yoga helps us be in the present moment, to calm down and let go of external information. In the words of Beryl Birch Bender: It is
“the constant effort to stay firmly grounded in the present moment.” If you are trying to stand in a Tree pose you can’t really think about anything else. You begin “to concentrate more and more on less and less.” When you leave class you should feel better than when you came in and feel liberated!
Some of the most beneficial exploration in yoga is invisible - including ujjayi breath and the internal locks known as bandhas which hold energy in the body creating a life force. There are three bandhas. (“What is essential is invisible to the eye.” Saint Exupery)
A weekend Inroductory Ashtanga Workshop will be held April 12-14 by David Swenson open to all levels at Kripalu. (www.kripalu.org) Swenson is the author of Ashtanga Yoga: The Practice Manual. (www.ashtanga.net)
David Williams is Michael’s favorite Ashtanga teacher. (Swenson was taught by Williams)
Michael Rich’s regular Bristol Yoga Studio class is held on Thursday nights from 6 - 7:30p and will be starting at 6:30p from January 24 on.
Michael Rich is a Professor of Art and Visual Arts Program Coordinator at
Roger William University in Bristol RI. His art yogi blog site can be found at: http://artyogi.blogspot.com
and his Painting website is: http://www.michael-rich.com
Written by Lindsay Green for Preserve Bristol