Notes from Austin – Week 2

The weather has been sublime this week. What better way to celebrate it with lots of yoga in the park? If you’re at One Mile in the afternoons, odds are good you’ll run into me practicing or napping! Alicia taught me some adjustments that felt wonderful by the pool this week. Hopefully more outdoor training-sessions to come.

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Chilling with a friend at One Mile.

Only enhancing the last seven days of practice is the arrival of the awesome and talented Abria Joseph to 8L for a workshop this Sunday. He started by leading us in some trust-building exercises, having us form a giant circle, grasping the forearms of the people beside us, leaning back, allowing the entire group a deep shoulder stretch. One noteworthy exercise involved two people, one of whom closed his or her eyes, while the other guided the person around the room by gently pressing with three fingers into each shoulder. It was a pretty revealing sensory experience. When your sight goes, the constant input of visual data with which the universe bombards us ceases. Our other senses heighten to compensate, and the carpet beneath our feet feels slightly finer — the cars driving underneath our studio sound slightly louder. With trust in the guider, 12 or so of us, half with closed eyes, navigated around the room. It was pretty zen. Next, Abria led us in some cool acro-sequencing that allows the base to elongate, twist, and massage the flyer. As my first real foray into acroyoga, I was excited to have some detailed, thoughtful instruction on basing/flying! With the able help of Alicia and Emily as both base and flyer, we explored some nifty therapeutic applications to shoulders and upper-back, afterward paying some massage-love to the legs of the base. The underlying principle of acro is simple: give back what you get, so that everyone supports one another, and together we grow and feel awesome.

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Abria demos Folded Leaf with Emily.

Since today marks the end of week 2 of my apprenticeship, the cherry on top of an exhausting (but incredibly strengthening!) week was leading the 4 PM class in the primary standing sequence. It coincidentally aligned with a full moon — the energy in the room was palpable. Though I was a bit nervous and had a few hiccups, I could feel the words coming more naturally as the class progressed. There were a few moments of totally natural speech — I wasn’t consciously imagining the next words, or recalling a certain adjustment, but instead, they just came. It, like everything else, will get easier with practice, and more and more I want to approach these moments of fluidity.

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This picture does not do tonight’s moon justice: think double encircling rainbows, with the surrounding clouds lit up like sand dunes.

It’s been a pretty incredible week. My wounds are healing and I’m feeling my body strengthen and elongate. My practice is becoming evermore linked to the breath: the movements feel incomplete without breath. But more importantly! As of Saturday, the restroom has been repainted! Enjoy the fine green luster next time you’re in there 😉

Notes from Austin – Week 1

As I rolled out of bed this morning, abdominal muscles aching, the thought crossed my mind: Was feeling like an old man at age 22 worth it?

Last Monday marked the beginning of yoga teacher training at 8L Yoga in Chico, California. It bears little resemblance to the format of most teacher-training programs, and instead returns to a core concept that seems to be slipping from today’s world of skilled individuals: that of the master-apprentice relationship.


Padmasana against the wall.

Under the careful guidance of Brian Sweat, a man with lifelong dedication to skillful movement of the body, many yogis’ practices have tremendously improved. An athlete his whole life, Brian first became interested in yoga in 2007. Six years later, he opened 8L Yoga.

There, he leads us in a rocket sequence that accelerates throughout the week in both number of asanas and breath count. Monday and Wednesday are called Rocket I; Tuesdays and Thursdays Rocket II. Our Fridays, however, go up a notch: after a four-day long period of opening the body, on the fifth, we practice Rocket III, which is the culmination of Rocket Ashtanga. On Friday, it is not uncommon for us to go through over 100 asanas within an hour and a half. The result? A lit up central nervous system, a massive release of endorphins, and an overwhelming feeling of vibrancy. More often than not, the night’s practice concludes with Thai massage and chocolate. As you can imagine, everyone leaves feeling perceptibly better than when they arrived.

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Chocolate and omniscient 8L octopus.

Since training began, my practices have doubled from five to ten practices a week. Before and after classes, there is focused training, such as leading individuals through Surya Namaskar As and Bs (Sun Salutations) and journaling the sequence of asanas in my notebook, seen below. It’s incredibly rewarding work, and I can’t think of anything more fulfilling than leading yoga practitioners in sequence that leaves them feeling as spectacular as we do at the end of a Rocket III.


Journal with rocket sequencing.

So, as soon as the question wafted through my mind this morning, I instantly rebutted myself: Hell yeah it’s worth it.

New YEars

Come start off the New Year properly with a Rocket III Tuesday at 6:00PM. If you are new to the studio, it’s free of charge :)

Starting January 1, 2014 – All new member’s first weeks are free. After that, standard rates apply.

Free Yoga

We will be offering free yoga for our grand opening! From Sunday November 9th through Friday November 15th, all classes will be free. Check out our schedule for details on class times.

Free Yoga Nov. 9th - 15th