Monday, July 13, 2009

Minneapolis Day 3-4

What a wonderful weekend of workshops. Over the course of three days, we attended five "yog-er" (Australian for "yoga") workshops with Matthew Sweeney at Yoga House (wiping away the sweat and crashing into bed). Most of the information covered in the workshops can also be found in one of two books either Ashtanga Yoga As It Is, or his newest book Vinyasa Krama (hefty in price but valuable info). But the experience is much better in person if you have the chance, i.e. there are no diagrams of Matthew Sweeney flexing his psoas muscles in the books. You have to pay extra for that.

Two of the workshops were led classes working through Sweeney's Moon Series and Lion Series. Both, in their own way, interesting compliments to an Ashtanga practice, however, not riveting as workshop topics. The remaining three were a progressive looks at jumping, back bending and inversions. Now this was something. Each class included partner activities to feel the required actions for a super-yogi asana. Great for personal practice or Mysore style but difficult to work into a regular class setting.

Today was our first Mysore day. We have (somewhat painfully) opted to put aside the "Ashtang-er" (Australian for "Ashtanga") and learn in detail the Moon sequence. This is a published sequence, but when taught in person, slightly different. This way Matthew says, he knows who he has taught. Today the first half, tomorrow the second. It's difficult to keep your eyes on your own mat. At the same time you are moving and breathing slowing, Matthew is handing out helpful advise to those Primary/Intermediate Series folks.

Matthew's style is somewhat different compared to other teachers we have seen. Kino was extremely reverent, dedicated to a purely traditional practice. Matthew on the other hand is constantly goofing on Mysore, Richard Freeman and Sharath. High energy is an understatement especially in the afternoon, a bit "wild eyed." Though he regularly practices and enjoys traditional Ashtanger practice, he also seems to have a "keep it interesting" approach to practice, offering up some days to take it easy and variations in sequences.

Three days left, two of which are definitely Moon Sequence practice days. On a lighter note, Michelle (Yoga House owner) has invited everyone (via email) to a pool party on Wednesday (it's like 80 degrees here, brrrrrr) and then breakfast after practice on Thursday, both "with Matthew" (implied: "!!!!!"). It must be interesting trying to keep "someone" busy all day who was already on the computer, checking his email (or something) at the end of Mysore practice (which he is teaching) because he is "bored."

***This photo is really only interesting because we are being tickled.


Jen said...

Gotta love a tickle monster! Sounds like a great week.

Emilene said...

That guy sounds like he is freaking awesome. Seriously, that's hilarious. You couldn't by chance get him to come to your shala, eh?