The very first Iyengar yoga teacher that I ever heard of was Manouso Manos. I learned his name and began to hear very peripheral anecdotes about him and his teaching from Christina Sell soon after I met her. She had studied with him for a number of years at that point- ahem, that point being sometime in 2000- and to the best of my knowledge has made a regular effort to study with him on and off since then. So, we are talking a relatively long span of time.
This weekend, in Milwaukee, I took my first ever workshop with Manouso and I am just gonna say, that waiting almost 20 years to learn from one of my teacher's teachers is one of the stupidest things I have ever done. Sure, I had a bunch of reasons why- all stupid- but in the end it either boils down to fear or laziness, both rather pathetic excuses.
Anyhow, I am not sure what to say about the weekend at this point other than that the very first thing that he said when he began on Friday night was, in a loud and rather barky voice: You think you're scared!?! You can't begin to imagine how terrified I am!
And, well, what can I say? He is familiar to me. In the sense that I am more deeply connected, through Christina, to his lineage of teaching than I had any idea of(refer above). Also, and increasingly more profound to me as the years move along, familiar to me in that way of someone who is speaking and acting from such a strong foundation of connection to self that they become simultaneously so fundamentally human and at once other worldly.
Over the weekend, just about half of our time was spent in the fundamentals of Pranayama. Some of the little gems from that time are offered here:
~ Asana is about health. Pranayama is about longevity.
~ When we come to Asana practice, all of our strengths are revealed and over time our weaknesses reveal themselves. In Pranayama, it is the opposite.
~ We can take a still, or make an image of a Posture. Pranayama cannot be caged like that.
~ In the beginning of a marriage, you hold onto each others hand tightly out of fear of loosing the other; after many years, it has become only the subtlest touch or influence that is needed to indicate direction or draw the other back in. So light. Gentle. Clear. That is the energy of the seasoned practitioner in pranayama practice.
There is so much more to say. And I am eager to explore what I have begun to learn over the weekend. My body is tired, my mind is calm, and my heart is soft.
Other parts of the weekend were equally delightful. Maple swam in her second meet of the season and did wonderfully. Both kids spent quality time with their gran while Chris was on the road and I was in Milwaukee. I was fortunate enough to spend quite a bit of leisure time with my sister in her home city. Last night we cozied up on her couch and watched Moonlight, which I have wanted to see ever since I listened to an interview with the director Barry Jenkins on Code Switch several months back. It was so much more than I had hoped and it feels just right to have watched it with my sis over the Pride weekend.
I am feeling the love this weekend for sure. As Teresa from the movie said with such authority and grace: In this house, it's all Love, all Pride.