Raw, adjective: 4. painfully open, as a sore or wound.


Day 2: Wanderlust Festival

Taking a quick breather here over the lunch hour after a blisteringly sunny morning on the mat.

(This pic was taken during Janet Stone's class yesterday afternoon. I'm hiding in the back there, tired, quiet, grounded. Can you find me, Where's Waldo-style?)

Today I'm practicing with three teachers I've been hungry to learn more about. Rod Stryker started the day off with bandha talk. The asana was simple and the focus was on building that energy container, really learning how to channel prana. It was a perfect way to ease back into my body and my breath after yesterday's six hours on the mat. I'm intrigued by Rod. Must learn more.

Then it was a hop and a skip over to the Anusara Pavilion to finally take a master class with John Friend. Really stoked to experience him firsthand after having read (and heard) so much about him. Didn't disappoint. It was 90 minutes' of diving straight into backbends, which was interesting in and of itself; usually we spend that first hour just building the kind of heat and flexibility to finally move into deep backbends, rather than kicking things off right away with a little Eka Pada and a lotta Dwi Pada. My low back is a little raw now, but the class was worth it for people-watching alone; lots of famous faces there trying to soak up some "inner brightness" and "melting" and "spiraling" and all of that other Anusara lingo that's still relatively new to my ears. Not to mention the sun beaming down on my back there in Down Dog.

Sat and soaked up a little Garth Stevenson bass down in the Kula Village -- fantastic -- and then caught a quick Speakeasy talk by Maty Ezraty, which focused on balancing the "business" of yoga with spirituality. Given my interest in commodification and my, erm, lack of interest in anything entrepreneurial, it was instructive. Running a yoga studio is no easy undertaking.

Now a moment in the shade before heading out to rock it with Vinnie Marino, vinyasa-style. Can't wait. And then, MC Yogi tonight.

Ten thousand notes being scribbled in my little blue notebook as I pop out of Down Dog now and then to keep a record in the midst of these various moving meditations. The rational Type-A academic in me is loving this "being a student" thing. I'm finding myself gravitating toward the back row in most classes, eager to blend in, to observe, to take it all in -- not just the teachers themselves, but the students as well, the way they breathe, the way they move, the ways they react when they think no one's looking.

It's a great opportunity to practice that most basic of yogic skills: just paying attention.

Much more to detail re: Seane Corn (remarkable -- I'd like to be her, truly), Jonny Kest (sing-a-long to Sweet Caroline while in Utkatasana, naturally), Janet Stone (to the accompaniment of killer live music, and a body humbled by tired quads and confused hamstrings), and so much more. It will come.

For now, must get back out in the sun. So rare (and fantastic) for this SF girl to savor a July day sans fog or cold. Tahoe, you rock my asana off.

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