May 8, 2010

Revealing the Secrets of Vinyasa. ~ Cyndi Lee

elephant journal likes: Shambhala Mountain Center Workshop with Cyndi Lee in Colorado, May 28-May 31

Via longtime friend and ally to elephant, yoga teacher Cyndi Lee:

Have you ever wondered about vinyasa?  I mean, what is it really about?  Because you know it’s not just about moving with the flow, breathing in and out, getting sweaty and cool yoga music.  There is more to it than that, but what?  You can feel that there is something else going on underneath, inside and in between all that.  (“In between”…there’s your first hint…)

Looking at the layers of practice and study is what Buddhists call Outer, Inner and Secret Teachings (there is even a level called Self-Secret).  We are going to unpack these layers of OM yoga vinyasa during my upcoming workshop at Shambhala Mountain Center called OM yoga: Revealing the Secrets of Vinyasa.

We will thoroughly explore the active, juicy outer layer—rockin’ yoga classes  blended with smart alignment, linking breath with movement while attending to quality, texture and length; and of course, the traditional definition of vinyasa, “to place in a special way,” a.k.a. logical, creative, fun, surprising and inspiring sequencing—the kind of sequencing that makes it possible for you to do things you couldn’t do before.

How does that happen?  Well, it ‘s a bit of a secret, but it has to do with harmonizing several attributes: ambition with effort, aspiration with attention and  view with focus.  This is the beginning of Inner Teachings and to me, where it really starts to get interesting.  You will be invited to open up to your own inner layer of experience while moving, meditating, walking to the stupa or doing some homework alone and maybe in groups, because interdependence is a major aspect of the inner secret.  Some of what we will do is called deconstructing—when you break things down, what is left?

The secret part.  If you’re anything like me, you are dying to know the secrets! But for now, you have to wait to learn those secrets because these things must go in order.  You wouldn’t expect to do a headstand on the first day of yoga class, right? So we will roll out the secrets of vinyasa, bit by bit, May 28-May 31.

We will have morning and afternoon classes on Saturday and Sunday, with an opening Friday night class and a closing Monday morning class.  We will have time for active and restorative work, meditation, discussion and questions.  You don’t have to be an advanced yogi at all. Some yoga experience is recommended. Email me at [email protected] with questions.

In the meantime, here’s your first homework. Contemplate these questions:

What is vinyasa?  (Hint:  it’s not about asana)

What isn’t vinyasa?

Is it possible to rest in between attachment and aversion, while moving in space?

Can your asana practice become a flow that neither leads nor follows?  Why would it matter?

Is there a cooler place to go for this than big mountains with a big stupa?  No.  You are very welcome to stay for a while and join me and David Nichtern for Yoga Body Buddha Mind, May 31-June 2.


Yoga Body Buddha Mind

taught by Cyndi Lee and David Nichtern

Meditation, like yoga, is a process of familiarization—of getting to know your own mind and body—warts and all!  David will introduce shamatha, traditional Buddhist mindfulness meditation, as a path toward making friends with ourselves, creating a gap between stimuli and response and leading to more options for a rich, joyful and beneficial life.  Cyndi will help you tuck this work into a fun, powerful asana class that will create sweat at the same time as it inspires you to become more aware of sensation, more curious about your experience and a more active participant in your own life. That’s the first session, called Making Friends with Yourself.

The next two sessions are Dynamic Equilibrium and Obstacle as Path.  Each session will begin with a dharma talk given by David, meditation practice and discussion.  In the second part of each session Cyndi will lead you through a yoga class that embeds the dharma theme into action.  Can we be friendly toward ourselves in downward dog?  How can “not too tight, not too loose” help us in Tree Pose or with our kids or in business?  Is it possible for our hips to feel like gateways rather than padlocks?

In the final session, David will introduce maitri practice.  We are like sponges—when we get squeezed whatever we have practiced comes out, so why not practice lovingkindness?  Cyndi will integrate the compassion-building practice of maitri into a  a backbending asana class. Don’t worry—our assignment is not to do the fanciest bow pose but to explore the potential for unconditional friendliness, even when we are upside down and inside out.

Cyndi Lee, MFA, is the Founder and Creative Director of OM yoga Center. She is a longtime Tibetan Buddhist practitioner, studying with Gelek Rimpoche since 1990, as well as training in the Shambhala meditation tradition. She created the OM yoga method, integrating vinyasa or flowing form with precise alignment and the meditative elements of mindfulness and compassion. Cyndi has taught OM yoga teacher trainings and retreats worldwide. She is the author of Yoga Body Buddha Mind.

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