Sunday was a great day, sometimes I feel a little silly about how starry eyed I get for famous yogis or writers... but I guess this is just the grown up version of that girl who used to get starry eyed for musicians and movie stars. Maybe some people are just born with this tendency.
Anyway, I took a slow drive down to Denver for a day of yoga and inspiration with MC Yogi and his wife Amanda Giacomini (aka 10,000 Buddha's). I had heard MC Yogi on the Rock Your Bliss Podcast and so I had picked up his new book Spiritual Graffiti and signed up for this workshop. I feel like a newbie when it comes to MC Yogi... but now his wife is another story. Somehow Amanda's Instagram was one of the first yoga accounts I ever started following. And that summer that I volunteered (and bailed) on Wanderlust Festival, I had met her briefly in a tent where she was selling some of her goods. I always remembered how even though I felt like a fish out of water that day at the festival, meeting her was one moment where I really felt seen.
So, the workshop went like this: MC Yogi read some from his book and then guided us through a flow class. I really liked his flow, he made it so much fun. In certain poses we would snap our fingers along with the music, or clap our hands. It kind of felt like dancing. He also really had great words... for instance when we were laying on our back and hugging our knees into our chest he said something about "swaying gently back and forth like a stone on the bottom of the river bed." There were also ways that he incorporated what I imagine to be his political values, by using words like, "borderless". I LOVED IT! And during Savasana he said, "Loosen the knots in your heart."
Some of his music was so great, and he made it even better by always saying, "I know one person is going to sing this part," which of course always opened up the floor to all of the 60+ yogis there to start singing out loud, everything from "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" to "Don't worry about a thing... cause every little thing is gonna be alright" to "Country Roads". And of course as any famous yogi does at a big gathering, he had us all put our arms across our fellow yogis backs during tree pose so we could feel the support, and perfectly timed we sang, "I get by with a little help from my friends." Corny? Yes. But a good reminder? Always.
I spent the time in between sessions talking with the woman on the mat next to me. She had long grey hair and she was a kick ass yogi... every pose she had a more advanced version that she whipped out of her trick bag. She was the kind of person that you want to be when your get older. Natural and graceful. It was nice practicing next to her.
Now... for Amanda! She has the most gentle voice, and she gave a presentation about her project 10,000 Buddha's. She talked of how when she went to India she explored these caves that had been carved and painted and in one of the caves there was a mural of all of these tiny buddha's. That image stuck with her and she wanted to see it again so she painted it her own self, and she felt so zen doing it that she told herself she would paint 10,000 of them. She said that as she has worked on paintings she has listened to Bodhisattva stories (stories of the Buddha's past lives in which he normally appears as an animal) and yoga teachings. She told us of a wall that she was commissioned to paint in DC and how monks came and blessed the wall, it was beautiful. She talked about making signs for the first Women's March in DC last year.
Then she led us through yin, beautiful words sprinkled throughout the practice: dedication, perseverance, organically, and anchor yourself. She told us two Bodhisattva stories. She would start the story with "Once Upon a Time, a long, long, long time ago in India..." The first story the Buddha appeared as an ox, and there was this rowdy monkey vying for the ox's attention. The monkey exhausted itself doing obnoxious things and acts and saying the craziest things just trying to make the ox respond. Finally, the monkey just asks, "Why? Why are you ignoring me? How are you able to stay so calm? So patient? So focused?"
I remember laying on my mat and thinking, "Oh my God... I have been the monkey!" I have done so many things for a particular person's attention. I have literally exhausted myself. And then I felt sad for the monkey, for myself. I must really want to be loved.
Anyway, she also told a story about perception and how we perceive things without having all the information and how that can be a slippery slope that leads to war. I loved this one and also thought it was applicable to an area of my life. I've been feeling at odds with just about every person that I work with. I wonder what they think of me, I wonder what their motives were; and then it leads me to act hostile and then it just perpetuates my thoughts further because then in my mind I've given them more ammunition to judge me.
Enough of that, back to Amanda. I really thought about her as a teacher--- and what style I would have. My heart keeps calling for yin, and I loved how she incorporated stories. It was really restorative. I'd like to be that kind of presence for people in their lives. I'd like to hold that kind of space for people- a peaceful, wise, nourishing vibe. I'd like to transition away from this woman who seems like she's just grasping at straws, a person always in a frenzied state. I want steadfast compassion. To be love.
Is that possible? Is this something that I can grow into? What is my 10,000 Buddha's? She asked us that question. What are you that passionate about?
Who are some of your soul's teachers? Do you have people in your life that you aspire to be like? Are there people that set your soul more on fire than others? Who are they?