This was a weekend all about A’s – anatomy, Anusara, attitude, alignment and action.
We spent two afternoons with Katherine Schaefer, certified Anusara teacher, learning human anatomy and how it’s applied to asanas. Her lessons were based on her background in massage therapy, Anusara yoga principles and also having healed herself from a personal injury. I liked knowing that she had experienced all these things on her own path in yoga.
Before beginning practice, Katherine guided our group on how to chant the Anusara invocation so that we could be tuned in with the teacher, each other and the Universe. It was amazing to hear our voices all come together as we aligned our collective consciousness, or attitude. We were “opening to grace”.
Katherine talked and Dianne projected full colour images of the bones and muscles. We were’t required to know them in excruciating detail. Working the computer program was a little rough at first but then something clicked and Dianne was using it like a pro. (You can do it, Dianne!) It helped to visualize everything on the big screen while Katherine spoke, even though we had studied it ourselves in our anatomy colouring textbook.
I was fascinated to watch Katherine recognize and correct the imbalances in body mechanics for some of my classmates. They bravely offered themselves up as examples and Katherine carefully scrutinized them before offering her recommended postural adjustments. The Anusara principles of alignment were the foundation for the enhancements. I’m gonna to have to ask them how her suggestions have affected their practice!
Occasionally, Katherine had to teach while she demonstrated the asanas. It seemed so effortless for her but I know that some of the poses weren’t quite that easy. And to be able to talk while doing it…wow. I heard her say to someone that it was important not to rush into a pose. That stuck with me. Because whenever she did a demo, she still talked herself through the basics of grounding hands & feet, lengthening the side body and finally placing the shoulder blades on the back. This action, or emphasis on taking the time for proper alignment, was a real take home message for me.
We were told that we would only retain 7% of what we learned over the weekend. That’s ok with me. I was encouraged by the stories from Katherine and Dianne about how long it took them to develop this or that part of their practice. There’s lots of time to digest what I’m learning. I seem to get something new out of it every time. It just takes lots of repetition. Slow and steady, I go!