Last week I spent the weekend with 4 of my best yogi friends at the Toronto yoga conference. I completed 14 hours of yoga in three days with some of the best yoga teachers on the planet.
I spent most of the weekend with certified Anusara yoga teachers Todd Norian and Anne Green. Todd and Anne are a husband and wife team from Massachusetts who always remind me that the joy is in the journey. When we’re too focused on “getting somewhere” (both in yoga and in life), we miss the fun along the way.
Todd and Anne led us through inversions which “turned our world upside down” as we sought to stay calm inside. We practiced staying still in the eye of the storm and trusting Grace to support us.
We also faced our fears with dropbacks into urdhva dhanurasana (wheel pose). My favorite statement of the weekend came from Anne who exclaimed that “fear is just a surprise party”. When we overcome our fears, there is a celebration on the other side.
On Saturday afternoon I practiced with Seane Corn, a world renowned vinyasa yoga teacher from New Jersey. Seane has big hair and a big spirit to match. She has a unique way of ripping emotions out of your body before the asana practice even begins.
I could listen to Seane talk all day. She discussed the deep connection between our minds and bodies and how our thoughts impact our tissue. She reminded us that our bodies are always “talking to us”, communicating our truth, and mirroring our thoughts.
Seane also spoke about how tension is repressed emotion in the body, which explains why most people (including me) experience spontaneous bursts of emotion during yoga practice. Yoga releases tension, which then releases emotion and brings our suppressed feelings to the surface. The trick is to “stay in the sensation” and let the energy of the emotion move through the body without judgment.
On Sunday afternoon I took the subway up to Kula yoga studio on Bloor Street to study with another beloved Anusara yoga teacher, Elena Brower. I’d never met Elena in person before but I’ve been doing her Anusara classes on Yogaglo since the fall.
I was so excited to study with Elena that I almost burst a lung on the subway. When I got there, she recognized me from one of my Youtube videos and I gave her a big hug.
Elena’s message during our yoga practice was simple: “tell the truth”. It was a great reflection of her personality, which is authentic and sincere.
The apex pose in Elena’s class was eka pada koundinyasana, which I couldn’t get until the following day during class where I spontaneously popped up into the pose out of nowhere. Yoga is funny like that – all of a sudden you find yourself doing something you couldn’t do the day before.
Overall I had a sensational time at the conference and I’m looking forward to planning my next yoga adventure. Kripalu, anyone??