Saturday, September 21, 2013

Q&A, meeting blog readers: Further dispatches from Lino's workshop

Ha! I can't believe I am actually writing my second post in one day, after going for weeks where I would write once a week (or less). But it's been a great day here in Bozeman, Ashtanga-wise, so I thought I should write all this down somewhere before the mood leaves me.

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.


  1. How funny!! I was literally reading you last entry when you added this one. Great to connect with you Nobel! Idaho Ashtangis unite!

    1. Great to connect with you too! See you in the morning :-)

  2. About time you started posting again Noble, I've missed you. Is Lino's new book floating around and have you managed to have a butchers at it. I'm curious if it's pretty much the same as his first one i'e. mostly just the vinyasa's of the first and second series ( but now with the same for Advanced A and B) or if there's much else in it. Will you get to practice full vinyasa on this workshop?

    Trying to think what I'd want to ask Lino...

    Bit weird when somebody knows you through the blog no, I tend to feel a little awkward (very English) it's nice ( when they like it) but I'm never sure if the person who writes the blog is me or 'blog me'. Either way it feels a little like somebody has just said "Oh hi grimmly, I looked through your window the other day, you had just stepped out of the shower, just wanted to say hello"

    Thanks for the link to Sarah's blog, I'd seen it before some time back but for some reason never got around to putting it on my own blog list, some nice posts there.

    Nice looking bottle of Pouilly-Fuisse there, hope you didn't suffer through the following mornings practice too much.

    1. I had a sneak peek at Lino's new book yesterday; borrowed it briefly from somebody at the workshop. There's definitely more stuff in it. It's much thicker than the first one. This one has a Q&A section at the beginning, where Lino talks about his experiences with the practice and Guruji. It also has a more detailed breakdown of the asanas, in addition to the vinyasas.

      I didn't do full vinyasa. All the practice is self practice (aka Mysore style), and Lino does not insist that people do full vinyasa, so I just did half vinyasa :-) And no, practice this morning did not seem to be affected by the Pouilly-Fuisse. I mean, it wasn't the lightest practice I've ever had, but it didn't feel heavy either.

      I understand that feeling of weirdness of somebody knowing you through the blog, especially because blogging seems to be more suited to introverted people; the blog then becomes a space where an ordinarily introverted person airs his opinions and views. At least, this is my opinion.

      But on the other hand, I also like to think that I am slowly getting to the point where my online and offline personalities are starting to integrate with each other, so there is now less of a disconnect between the "real me" and "blog me."

  3. Yay! The return of the prodigal blogger, hahaha. Very vindicating to hear that even the yogis with the floatiest vinyasas enjoy their Chardonnay. You and your fellow blogger are also sporting awesome T shirts. Those are my comments, I'm deep thinker like that :). I would love to hear some Italian accented Guruji lore. Going to go check the book in the meantime. I'm glad you too the time to share with us fellow introverts.

    1. I somehow think that there is a connection somewhere between wearing awesome T-shirts and being able to float. Maybe Chardonnay helps too, I don't know :-)

      Lino's Italian-accented Guruji-ese is awesome! Wish you were there to hear it. There's just no way to reproduce it. I bought myself a copy of the book just before I left the workshop yesterday. Read a few pages before bed last night. It's awesome...

  4. No problem at all; I figured that was what you were saying :-)

  5. Hi!
    I'm a beginner yogi from Estonia and thinking about starting practicing 6 days a week and blogging about it. I've been struggling weather to blog in English or in my native language (Estonian). I think your blog and this entry specially might have convinced me to blog in English. Thanks for the inspiration.

    PS I've also practiced with Lino, so I know exactly what your talking about with the gestures and facial expressions. He's a great teacher and inspiration.