On Friday, I head down to Encinitas for Tim Miller’s Second Series teacher training. Maria Zavala (also a student of Tim’s) as been working me over. Maria’s teaching has been a revelation–at once transformational and practical. By the end of practice yesterday, I was so jacked I’d forgotten my own name, totally yoga stoned. Thanks to her, I may maintain some dignity during the training. And, I got officially excited.
This will be my third training with Tim, so I have a fairly solid idea of what to expect. I thought you might like a little window into the way he runs his trainings, in case you’ve never been (you go!).
I think of Tim as the hardest working man in Ashtanga. If you read his Tuesdays With Timji post, you know he drove back from Shasta on Saturday, a long and tiring trip. Early Sunday morning, I promise you he was there for pranayama practice, and he was teaching. All during his trainings, Tim teaches his regular classes, and trainees practice in them along with Tim’s regular students. We’ll learn pranayama techniques early in the morning, then decide which classes to take, which to observe, which to assist. Most trainees go to his Mysore classes, but my guess is we’ll all be in his Sunday led Second. (Steve will be joining me for the first week, practicing with Tim, so expect more insights from him.)
So, you practice—in some cases, as in the led Second, with Tim Miller himself. Then, in the afternoon, we bust out our handy practice manual and start to break down the series, pose at a time. Volunteers demonstrate both proficiency and…difficulty, while Tim shows us the various adjustments and modifications. I’ll be volunteering to demonstrate the poses I have the most trouble with—in this way I’ll learn to deal with my blocked places, as well as how to help others.
During these demonstrations, we learn everything from anatomy to philosophy. The information is peppered with stories and jokes—and while everyone gets progressively more tired as the fortnight progresses, there’s always a warm energy in the air. We’ll spend time studying yoga philosophy, and we’ll end the day with song and story.
Some will stay for Tim’s later classes. That’s right: After teaching in the morning, then training us, Tim will teach his First Series or Intro to Second at 5:30. Those trainees who aren’t practicing then will stay and observe, or practice adjusting (on each other only!). You see why I call him the hardest working man in Ashtanga?
We start to soften slowly, and by the end, nobody wants to leave and we’re all a teary, gooey mess. After my time with Maria, I feel like I’ve already started the softening process. I am understanding for the first time why it’s called “nadi shodhana”—nerve cleansing. I’m having trouble sleeping. I feel extremely alert. I would say I’m unusually “emotional,” for lack of a better word; but it feels more like I’m recognizing emotions, as an observer. Maybe you could describe it as “increased awareness.” There’s some transformation going on, and I can’t wait for our discussions of yoga philosophy to help me understand it, and discussions with my fellow students who have more experience than I do—I’m new all over again.
But I’m most excited about listening to Tim’s wisdom about this practice. He has a gentle authority, an eye for detail, and a way of sorting the important from the trivial. Steve has described Tim as possessing “fierce love.” That’s exactly what I need right now.
I can’t promise regular updates, but I’ll do my best. See you on the other side.
Posted by Bobbie