So after lunch today, we had our second session with Lino, which was a Q&A session combined with some pranayama towards the end. Like many other senior teachers, Lino has his fair share of amusing Guruji stories, which he told in his Italian-accented English, complete with priceless lively gestures and facial expressions. I won't try to relate any of these here, as it is impossible to do justice to them in writing; you have to be there in the moment to hear them.
In addition to his Guruji stories, Lino also fielded many questions from the workshop participants. I asked him a couple of questions myself. One question I asked was about whether I should sweep my arms out to the side when coming up into Virabhadrasana A in Surya B (see previous post for more details on this), as I am afraid of hitting the person next to me if I do so. Lino replied by saying that when one sweeps the arms out to the side, one takes in more oxygen, and the pose also has a more energizing effect when done this way. As for the possibility of hitting people, one just has to be more aware of where other people are and what they are doing, in order to prevent hitting them.
All in all, the whole Q&A session was very engaging and enlightening. I'm very sure that all who were there benefited much from Lino's experience and insights.
After the Q&A session, we had a little party in the parking lot of the building where the studio is in. There was a band playing, and lots of good food. I asked Lino if he would take a picture with me, and he agreed:
I'm guessing you know which one is Lino...
For me, one of the coolest things about going to Ashtanga workshops is meeting the readers of this blog unexpectedly. Just before the Q&A started this afternoon, I was sitting in the studio when I overheard a woman behind me talking about some woman named Sarah who lives in Scotland and who practices Ashtanga.
My ears immediately perked up. I turned around and asked, "Do you mean Sarah Durney?" She said yes, and asked me if I know Sarah. I said, "Yes, but only online: I read her blog and she reads mine, but I've yet to meet her in person." "Oh... what's your blog?", The woman asked. "Yoga in the Dragon's Den," I replied (now that I think about it, maybe I should have lied and told her I was Grimmly, just because I'm such a big fan of his blog... do you think I'll be able to pass myself off as an Englishman? :-p).
Anyway, she replied that she reads my blog. She had visited Sarah in Scotland last month. Sarah told her about my blog, and suggested that she should look out for me at Lino's workshop, since I am the only person who practices Ashtanga (so far as I know) in Pocatello, Idaho... Oh, I suppose I should tell you who this person is: It's really rude to keep referring to someone as "the woman". She is Gretchen Arguedas. She teaches Ashtanga at Sage Yoga and Wellness in Boise, Idaho. So if you ever find yourself in Boise and want to find somebody to practice with, you know where to go :-)
After the workshop, I went with a bunch of Ashtangis from Boise and Missoula to a local restaurant for dinner and drinks. Here's Gretchen and I sharing a bottle of wine:
Well, now you have proof of the fact that I am indeed a bad yogic influence :-) I basically go everywhere influencing people to drink beer and wine...
I am now cautiously optimistic that this workshop may have restored my faith in the value of blogging. I mean, isn't it really cool that people who would otherwise never know one another can be connected by a bunch of electronic signals? Well, I'll leave you with this thought. I should probably sign off now, and try to have an early night, so I can be in the best condition for self practice with Lino in the morning.