What a Tim Miller workshop in Austin can teach us

Tim Miller will be traveling to Austin, Texas in about three weeks for a workshop at Castle Hill Yoga.

In just the few years I’ve been studying with Tim, I’ve seen the design and focus of his weekend workshops change, ever so slightly. If memory serves, he used to kick off with a discussion of Patanjali (maybe coupled with a Friday evening class), follow that on Saturday with a full Mysore program and then a variation on his “asana doctor,” and conclude on Sunday with a little delving into Second Series.

A more recent iteration included a focus, I think on Saturday, on the bandhas.

His Austin program appears to include more tweaks, again.

Now, perhaps Tim talks with the host shalas and figures out where the students are. I know my first workshop with Tim included very few Asthangis, so he might have gone more basic (even if they were “advanced” yoga teachers in many cases). So I don’t know if I can say there’s a progression to watch, but I think it is interesting that later this month, after doing his introduction to Second Series on Saturday (with “asana doctor” on Saturday afternoon), he’s spending Sunday on the finishing poses:

Sunday morning is Finishing Poses Clinic. The Finishing Poses of Ashtanga Yoga provide a closure to the dynamic Primary, Second and Advanced Series and prepare students for Savasana. The finishing poses calm the nervous system, cool the body and bring clarity to the mind. In addition, they help remedy a variety of physical ills, including poor digestion, constipation, asthma, ailments related to the heart and high blood pressure. During this class, students will learn about the proper execution of the finishing poses and possible adaptations or and modifications. All levels welcome.

From my experience, this is more of a focus on the finishing poses than in the past. I know Tim — like all good Ashtanga teachers, if not practitioners — values these poses highly. He’s talked about how they are especially important following a Second Series practice, which excites the system more than First. In that case, the finishing poses really do calm things down, and he talks of staying in them (shoulder stand, etc.) longer than when he’s just done First.

So, what can we take away from this workshop that, I suspect, not many of us will get to enjoy? Perhaps think about why in late November Tim might be increasing his time teaching these poses. Maybe reflect on your own relationship with the poses. (Do you race through them?) And maybe, just maybe, be prepared to hear Tim talk about them in March at the Confluence.

I do want to note that he finishes up the Austin weekend, I’m happy to report, “with a live Kirtan led by Tim.”

Posted by Steve

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Two Ashtangis write about their practice and their teachers.

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