Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Stopped over in Santa Fe...

I'm up in Santa Fe for about 10 days, finishing up my yoga teacher training with Tias Little. This is the first session they've held at the new studio that they built behind their house. It is a pleasant little space, in the desert outside town. There are no guest facilities out here, so we all commute into town to stay at the Sage Inn. I feel that this breaks up the feeling of peace that usually accompanies spiritual retreats, and I wish we could've stayed at Upaya Zen Center again, with its remote feel and clothing-optional sauna. Don't miss Upaya food at all, which always messes with my digestion. My stomach is funky anyway, air moves howling through my belly during lectures.

The days begin somewhat late, with meditation followed by a 3 hour yoga practice. After the first few days, I feel like someone has taken a crowbar and yanked open my stiff shoulders and closed clavicles. I have a migrane that lasts for three days, and I'm not sleeping well; could be altitude, could be grief trauma being systematically wrenched from my body.

In the afternoons, we all eat lunch in the sun. Afterward, we listen to Tias give talks in front of the moon window, clusters of birds occasionally bisecting the flawless sky behind his head. Inevitably, we'll do another hour or two of asana in the midst of it. This training is billed as "The Subtle Body," delving into psychology, spiritual states, and the parasympathetic nervous system. The most amazing thing about Tias is how he goes into areas well beyond yoga, covering things I'd learned in my vastly different training in India and Vermont. One amazing teacher.

As usual there was good company. The caretaker of the Shaker Museum in New York state. A young woman currently training at Tara Mandala in southern Colorado. An alumnus of Upaya. Plus writers, yoga teachers, body workers. On the final night, as we eat curry and drink wine around a campfire, a comet passes by, so huge and bright and flaming that I momentarily think a plane is crashing down into Santa Fe. We've been blessed.

I go down to my mom's place for a couple days, then am back in town for the weekend. Richard Rosen is doing a workshop on pranayama. I'm a big Tias fan, of course, but Richard is one of the best teachers I've ever seen, weaving history (both Indian and American), sanskrit lessons, anatomical knowledge, jokes, film references, and song lyrics into the mix. This is technically a 12 hour weekend of breathing, but we do our share of asana as well.

On Friday, Halloween, as I go over to get a slice of pizza during a dinner break, I'm held up by a passing train, packed with costumed kids and adults, the former waving, the hands of the latter too busy holding onto long-stemmed glasses. The train blasts its air-horn, filling my body with sound which resonates through my core, hollowed out by an afternoon of deep breathing. The sky above mimics my revved-up brain, first the color of brushfire, later a duller grey like a fogbank rolling in.

The next night, Gino drives up from Albuquerque. We spend far too much time trying to find REI, driving round and around a train station built for trains which don't yet exist. This town is constantly evolving, and a short walk proves that little is where it used to be. Some things hardly change at all. As Gino and I have pints and food up on the Ore House balcony, a couple guys we knew from high school turn up, suddenly and surprisingly. The talk turns to old parties and girlfriends, mixed martial arts bouts and elk hunting. Worlds are definitely colliding here, an atmospheric book end to the comet of a few nights before. Later Gino and I tear ourselves away for coffee at Borders. He's long quit his position as regional manager for the chain, thought the staff doesn't know that. We sit laughing at a staff in frenzy, rushing about to straighten shelves. They'll sweat a few days, waiting for a memo that'll never arrive.

Sunday, the last day, I do 5 hours pranayama and asana with Richard, plus another couple hours in a Tias class packed with 58 people, many of them the being this town's wealthy "painted ladies." By the time I get in the car for the drive up toward Boulder, I'm spent...

On the turntable: Death Cab for Cutie, "Narrow Stairs"

On the nighttable: Barbara Kingsolver, "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle"

1 comment:

dana said...

oh, sounds great...and i am not joking!
enjoy for me, too.