What I remember from a Mysore class with Tim Miller

We made it down to Encinitas today for Tim Miller’s Mysore glass. (A good day to go, too, I think: Thursday — Guru day.)

Here’s what I recall, which is different from “what I learned.” We can hope that comes:

An incredibly strange, but effective, Adho Mukha Svanasana adjustment from Holly Gastil. Can I describe it? She walked around behind me, and I was expecting the usual pull teachers will give. But instead she reached into the crease in my hips and pulled up and back. Provided a certain lightness to the otherwise very heavy dog.

Tim Miller

Tim’s usual pull on my arm in Utthita Trikonasana, but it seemed to focus on my shoulder more than I recall from in the past.

A firm, but friendly, Utthita Hasta Padangustasana adjustment by Tim. “Not straight,” he informed me as he looked at my leg, and then lifted, and lifted (and it felt like a few more lifteds, but probably that was in my head). But left side? “Impressive,” he said as my leg came out straighter than its partner. But by the time we were done? “Not so impressive,” I was told.

A great, focused on the arms and shoulders, Prasarita Padottanasana by Holly. All in the upper body, less so in the legs and hamstrings. Really nicely targeted. It’s one other teachers should learn if they can.

Serious effort from Tim to get my back straight in Marichyasana C. He pushed me much, much further than I’ve ever gone. We will see how things feel tomorrow. I also know that my focus on my breadth for 2012 will live and die by how well I learn to breath in those deep, deep twists. (Right now? Some improvement needed.)

The dreaded Baddha Konasana adjustment from Tim. I think my issues in that pose are all quads and hamstrings — in other words getting my legs straight and perpendicular to my body. Knees on ground? Not a big problem — but legs are too bent still. And he finished with the “there, there” pat that’s always nice.

A surprise adjustment: Urdhva Mukha Pashimottanasana. Tim informed me that one knee was in Carlsbad, the other in Encinitas. So together they came as he smushed me. Note: I think having one knee in Carlsbad and the other in Encinitas is better than having one elbow in McCloud and the other in Mt. Shasta city, as he told me at least once during Sarvangasana. (Google map McCloud to see how far it is from Mt. Shasta.)

Those are specifics. What do I really recall, though?

The effort. It’s impossible not to bring your “A Game” to Tim’s, at least when it isn’t an every day event. (I shudder at the idea of practicing there every day. Would I last three weeks?) It does seem like everyone is bringing it, though.

Holly and Tim’s constant movement and presence in the room. At one point, Holly ran nearly the length of the room to get to someone — I assume, as it was out of my sight line. And with Tim, you always have a sense of where he is and that he’s approaching. I don’t mean that in any way that discounts from a focused dristi. Tim’s just… in your awareness. And then he’s suddenly right there, you maybe can see his feet as your bent over and you know he is studying what’s not right with your pose. (I always imagine he’s sadly shaking his head at what he sees in mine.)

The humor. Tim’s is a serious, hard-working shala, but there’s always light moments. Today, a woman at the far end of the shala said something along the lines of: “I’m not responsible for what comes out of my mouth…” and I think she finished with “in backbends,” it might have been. But the whole room knew what she meant, even if everyone didn’t hear every word. Tim’s room is that kind of place.

But the best part of the day? Lunch with our friends from our Shasta trip and meeting new Ashtangis who joined us. It was a great reminder that the Confluence is going to be wonderful for all the students as well as the five teachers. And we’re just more than two months away.

Posted by Steve


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Two Ashtangis write about their practice and their teachers.

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