This past weekend was an Ashtanga second series workshop taught by Nancy Gilgoff. Nancy is my teacher's teacher and she learned the Ashtanga practice from Pattabhi Jois in the early 1970's.
The entire weekend was a refreshing and challenging reminder of why I do yoga. Nancy has a humor and a laid back ease that dissolved any anxiety I had about being in the presence of such an elder yogini and learning the second series asanas. And up until this point I had sort of avoided going to mysore class - and well, this workshop made me go, so I got past that hurdle in the company of many others new to mysore.
Mysore is a style of yoga class (originating in Mysore, India) where the teacher is present but the practice is not lead. You simply go in, do your practice, and the teacher is there to assist you and guide you. It really is one of the best ways to learn the yoga practice. I had held some anxiety about this style of class - mostly worried I would not remember the order of the asanas. The first morning mysore class during the workshop was a refreshing and peaceful. No sound but the steady breathing of the people practicing and the morning light in the studio washed a serene calm over everyone. My body and mind remembered the sequence of poses with almost no problem and I am hooked on mysore... it makes the practice your very own.
And so thank you to Nancy and to Bobbi... for passing on the flame of yoga to many, many students.