Tim Miller reflects on the Confluence, plus a report from his Monday Mysore

There’s little more to do than send you over to the latest Tuesdays with Timji and get out of the way.

Maybe by now you’ve already read it, and see the wonderful and caring words Tim Miller offers about the Ashtanga Yoga Confluence and his fellow teachers. Here’s the final bit:

I just had a nice visit with Nancy, who is leaving for Miami tomorrow. David and Richard left yesterday morning and Eddie flew the redeye home on Sunday night. When I was driving Eddie to the airport we were sharing our experience of the Confluence. We agreed that Guruji was represented with great love, respect, and gratitude, and that he would have been pleased with it all. That, after all, was our primary intention.

Beyond just the Confluence, I think that sentiment — which was so clear to see among all the teachers and everyone there as students — is really the key thing to remember as we fuss through the Vanity Fair article and anything else that reflects on the business side of yoga and Ashtanga. (Not that the business side is unimportant; external prana is money, after all.)

We should be thinking: Are we pleasing Guruji? That seems like a pretty good guiding principle.

I’m also reminded of something that Jörgen Christiansson told Bobbie: ”You are not doing the practice. Guruji is,” and he pointed out, “Practice without attachment to results.”

Another side to the same coin. And all of it about putting aside our ego.

Speaking of putting aside your ego, I got a nice taste of that at Tim’s Monday Mysore class. Bobbie and I managed our Confluence weekend schedule so we could stop at Tim’s on our way back up to Los Angeles.

It was packed. More than 50 students. A lot of heat, a lot of focus, and a lot of Tim moving carefully through the room.

I got a few adjustments, the first being in Utthita Trikonasana, which he followed with a smile and a “Good morning.” (He’d really wrenched on me, as he’d promised to do during the weekend.)

And then came backbends. I worked on them, thinking about Richard Freeman’s cobra hoodie. All going OK.

And then it came time for drop backs, and I kind of milled about, teasing a few to see if Tim would come over. (What was I thinking, of course he would.)

Down, up, down, up… and then… he tells me to reach to the floor.

It all gets kind of fuzzy here. I’m pretty sure the first time I panicked. But he had me try again. And… down… down… down (oh, my lower back!) … and hands on the floor. A few seconds… and up I come.

For the first time. All the way down, all the way back up.

“Again,” Tim says. Or something to that effect.

Down, up, down, up… all the way down… and then…


Yes, I couldn’t make it, and Tim wisely went the way of discretion and we both tipped to the side. Much noise, no hurt. (Bobbie said it was like what she’d heard David Swenson tell a student during the weekend: “Fall like a tree.”)

Full drop backs are clearly not yet a part of my usual, daily practice. But Tim, in his incredible way, showed me what is around the corner, what’s possible ahead…. what’s to come.

Posted by Steve

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Two Ashtangis write about their practice and their teachers.

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