Saturday, July 11, 2009

Minneapolis Day 1: I-35 & Chandra Krama

Hey der!

Google Maps now has the terrific function of tracing out your route from A to B and allowing a drag function, so you can simply click and drag the route in any direction, choosing to use this or that main road. It's very convenient. Here is a request for Google: not so much with the click and drag; rather, make with the "avoid construction delays" functi
on. I-35 turned from an Interstate into a parking lot for a few hours on the way up. All mantras failed. We were steamed.

Even so, we strolled into the first session with Matthew Sweeney, on his Chandra Krama (roughly "Moon Sequence" or "Lunar Action"), no more than 15 minutes late. Original sequences are, in part, what he does. He is an extremely advanced Ashtanga practitioner, but has also constructed and published some of his own sequences. This one is intended to counter the hot, strengthening, yang (rhymes with "strong") as
pects of Ashtanga with a cooling, opening, yin sequence.

The Yoga House is on the second floor of a two-story building on a swanky, suburban stretch of Caribou Coffees, Sprong! shoe stores, and cafes. The practice space is very nice. Maybe a little bigger than the shala, with a boutique and a couple of changing rooms.

The Chandra Krama session was very straightforward. Matthew—high-energy, goofy, Aussie—led the class through it, step by step, usually doing the postures along with us. No Ashtanga-style counting. You can make out something of the sequence in this image. While it IS less demanding than any Ashtanga sequence, it's still not exactly easy. Michelle at The Yoga House keeps it nice a toasty in the studio and we were sweating buckets. Other than Matthew, E was the only man (*sigh*) out of about 20 students.
Inevitably, when leading an unfamiliar group, any sequence goes more slowly, so we did an abbreviated version, with some of the harder postures omitted. We have already been practicing this sequence 2-4x a month for about six months. We have arranged to practice it under Matthew's direction while here as the beginning of the process to receive his blessing to teach it. Neat-o.

We have since finished two more sessions (jumping back/through and backbending) and can say that the Chandra session was pretty mild and not all that interesting, relatively speaking. Far better were the three-plus hours each on jumping and backbending. We were asked not to take video and to minimize pictures, so there won't be much illustration in these posts. Oh well.

So, we weren't able to take any pics of Matthew. Instead, we tried a Google search, but came up with several "Matthew Sweeneys". Can you identify the yoga teacher out of this bunch?


patrick said...

I was there a year ago for Matthew's Sunday classes (Intro to 2nd and Inversions) plus the Mysore days. Good to see a review. Last year also, there were more guys (three of us, I think). Are you hanging out for the morning practice week?

E and K said...

Yes, we are staying for Mysore. It's clear in the workshops that Matthew takes the Mysore approach even farther then they do in Mysore: he has mentioned giving specific versions of jumping/vinyasa and backbending (he showed five or six gradients of difficulty for each) to students in the Mysore format. Really looking forward to it.

Jen said...

The last time I used google maps to get to Mpls it directed me to use the bridge that had collapsed 6 months prior!

Z said...

Well... This is the guy that wrote The Evil Book, so I have to go with the guy in the upper left. He looks shady to me. *lol*

Have a great time! I'm not sure if I'll be able to survive Saturday class after you guy get back.

Ann said...

I'm guessing it's the hot one!