The Guru of the Guru
Last week when I taught my Friday morning class, I continued to teach for the upcoming Kapha season. I incorporate Ayurveda into my class every week, giving suggestions about how to balance yourself with Dinacharya (daily routines) and Ritucharya (seasonal routines).
Since we are coming into Kapha season, I am teaching more active asanas (poses) which include inversions. Inversions are great for this time of year because the lymph system drains and replenishes during and after the inversion.
The inversion I included this week was Salamba Sarvangasana, also known as shoulder stand. I went back to a wonderful book by Donald Moyer, Yoga, Awakening the Inner Body to check out the different options for different body types in the set up of Salamba Sarvangasana.
I taught this a few months back just after I had read this as part of a class assignment and I swear I now have the most comfortable shoulder stand I have EVER had! If you love the details of the poses that come in the Iyengar tradition, you will truly love this book.
Donald’s book goes on to explain how there are different setup options based on the slope (or non-slope) of your shoulders as well as the curve in your neck. There is nothing really vanilla about yoga, just like there is nothing really vanilla about the human body. Once you find the perfect set up for you, the pose is effortless and you feel like you can stay there forever!
My teacher, Sandy Carmellini, did the majority of her teacher training under Donald Moyer at the Yoga Room in Berkeley. I never had the pleasure of taking a class with Donald Moyer, since by the time I got around to thinking about one of his classes, they were always completely booked up in advance. But I did reap the benefits of Donald Moyer’s teaching because he passed his teachings to my teacher, Sandy Carmellini.
Whenever I attend Sandy’s class, and I’ve been Sandy’s student even before she graduated from the The Yoga Room in Berkeley, I always love the way she teaches. I wonder sometimes if Sandy worries that her students may find her boring or stale like I worry that my students will think that same thing of me. But I’ve never ever felt that way while being Sandy’s student.
I was recently listening to one of the Ayurveda lectures for the course work I am doing and the teacher introduced himself and then began talking about his Guru. He said you must always honor those who have taught you and it is our Dharma to pass the teachings on to others.
So that’s really what this particular blog is about. Although Sandy would never think she is a Guru, she is my Guru. I am honored by her patience and love and even more patience when I see her teach. I love to observe how she is helping others in her class when they can’t get into a particular pose (okay-that actually happens to me a lot!). I also love the way she comes up with her sequences to come to a particular pose. I don’t always do the same sequence that Sandy does, but I can tell you I always incorporate something into my class that I have learned from Sandy.
So here is my thank you to my Guru, Sandy Carmellini, whose Guru is Donald Moyer and also H.S. Arun and their Guru was B.K.S. Iyengar. Such a small world when you think about it and such wonderful people to pass along the things they have learned.
In love and light, Namaste.