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The Timji Report–Lessons from the Mysore Room

December 22, 2011

Hanuman's not in the logo for nothing!

I’m on my break between terms, so I took advantage of the extra time to drive south and roll out my rug at Tim Miller’s Ashtanga Yoga Center for morning Mysore practice.

Tim’s there early for his pranayama circle, but after bobbing and weaving on the 105 to the 405 to the 5, I slid quietly through the doors a little after 7 a.m. I was stiff, sore and hungry, but I forgot it all as soon as the sun came through the windows of the shala and I was greeted with a big smile and a hug from Timji.

As always, no Mysore practice happens at Tim’s without learning. I thought I’d pass a few things along.

–Pranayama in a full Mysore practice room is sustaining and musical. Since Tim teaches pranayama, his students are dedicated to their ujjayi. It’s like an Ashtanga fugue in there.

–I know nothing about utthita trikonasana, parvrtta trikonasana, and utthita parsvatanasana. I’ve been doing them for fifteen years, and they’re still a mystery to me. Tim puts a hand here, a foot there, opens up my stance, and the mystery begins all over again.

–The range of noises you can make when adjusting should not be limited to actual words. This is from my perspective as a teacher, of course; but I was once again amused, humbled, and encouraged by Tim’s little expressions. They’re hard to describe: hisses, chuckles, snorts, grunts, humphs, what have you. All very quiet, all just for you at this moment. They’re awesome.

–The lesson I always learn when I practice with Tim: There’s what you can do, and what you thought you could do, and these are not the same thing. I’ve had trouble binding in marichyasana D on the left since the knee surgery. Tim showed me that’s not true anymore.

–There is an astounding amount of precision among the students as Tim moves (constantly) around the room. Precision, but also practice. As I walked out (after another hug, of course), it suddenly struck me that we don’t call what we do in a Mysore room a “class.” We call it “practice,” every day, embracing the incomplete self.

Thanks to Tim, and to his wonderful assistant  Atsuro Chiba.

Posted by Bobbie

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