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Ashtanga Workshop at Miami Life Center with Kino & Tim

March 01, 2012

ASHTANGA IN MIAMI - I recently had the opportunity of participating in an intimate Mysore style workshop at Miami Life Center with owners, Kino and Tim. These workshops usually fill up nearly a year in advanced so when I saw a cancellation posted on facebook two weeks prior I knew I had to jump on it. This one week intensive training included morning asana practice and afternoon educational workshops on the foundations of Yoga - Meditation, Pranayama, Chanting and the Yoga Sutras. The first thing to get used to was waking up a 6am every morning. I have to say it was quite peaceful riding my bike through the quiet streets of Miami Beach so early. We began each morning at 7am with Pranayama followed by Mysore practice. There was great energy and cohesiveness among our intimate group of 12 students. I was amazed to find out that some students had travelled from as far as Canada, Buffalo and even London to participate. Two talented Master teachers combined with beautiful 80 degree sunny days make for a perfect Yoga Retreat. All 12 students had an amazing practice. Many were Ashtanga Instructors themselves, some were working on Second Series. I, on the other hand was exploring the second half of Primary series for the first time.  During an asana workshop in the afternoon I asked Tim if there were any secrets to wiggling yourself into Supta Kurmasana, a pose where you lock your legs behind your head and fold forward. This seemed nearly impossible to me. So here I was in front of 11 other students trying to put my legs behind my head. Surprisingly, it was easier than expected with the help of Tim guiding me step by step through it. Tim has an incredible understanding of the body, proper alignment and rotations to help students get into even the most difficult postures. I still have a hard time getting into Supta Kurmasana alone, but now I know that it is possible. Kino led our first afternoon workshop on Meditation. We sat in complete stillness for 40 minutes. This might sounds easier than it is, but for those who remember their first extended meditation will understand that this is one of the most challenging yoga postures. You experience the mind-body struggling with itself until you surrender.  You want so badly to satisfy that itch that just won’t go away or move your tingling foot. By bringing your attention back to the breath you realize that the itch or discomfort will go away with time. Throughout the meditation Kino would remind you with her calming voice to remain still and that there is no possibility of injury. She is a voice of reason and encouragement, not only in mediation but every day as a teacher. Kino has a way of helping you see your potential and overcome challenging situations. On the second day I was excited about dropping back into Urdha Dhanurasna and wanted to show my husband what I could do. Just like I remember practicing with Kino, I grounded my feet firmly into the ground, pushed my pelvis forward, raised my arms above my head, bent my knees and started to arch my back coming down to the ground, falling right on my head! What went wrong? My excitement turned into a big headache! The next day, I told Kino about my experience and she asked if I tried it again after falling, which of course I didn’t.  She shared with me that she had the same experience when she was learning drop backs and that the most important thing to do is try again right away. Just like life, learning something new takes time, effort and patience. If you fall you have to get right back up and try again. What I learned is that I don’t have to show off what I can do in my practice. Instead, I will remain focused and committed, making small improvements every day. During our last afternoon workshop we discussed Yoga Philosophy. I was extremely impressed by Kino’s ability to articulate the spiritual discipline of Yoga. Kino encourages her students to start with asana and allow the spiritual texts to come to you when you are ready. She says, “When the urge to change is there you will change, don’t force. First, your body changes then the mind”. This made a lot of sense to me, especially since it took me two years to read the yoga sutras. I understand that Yoga is a lifelong discipline. There is no reason to rush it. Kino also mentioned that it is important to stay the course with one teacher or guru even when you want to quit. I asked Kino if by following one teacher she believed it was possible to inherent the flaws of that teacher. In response, she shared a story about Sharath, Pattabhi Jois’ grandson. She said that Sharath does something different with his foot during Vinyasa, which many students were copying. She spoke with Sharath and said many students are copying this movement with your foot and asked if this was correct. He responded by saying that he had a disease as a child which affected his foot, which is why he moves his foot that way. The point of this story is that you should never mindlessly follow your teacher. A Guru will shed light on the darkness and help show you the way, however it is important to tune into your own intuition. This workshop was an incredible experience. Kino and Tim complement each other perfectly. They have different styles, sharing the same values and dedication to yoga and their students. Their energy and passion is radiating throughout the studio. Miami Life Center is an amazing urban retreat center with extremely talented teachers and devoted students. If you have haven’t been to Miami Life Center yet ask about their New Student Monthly Unlimited Special for $100.     ~Yogi Dawn Miami Life Center: 736 6th Street, Miami Beach FL 33139 I 305.534.8988     

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