Kathy Cooper once again blessed our Portland Mysore community with her presence this May. I was lucky enough to have a clear enough schedule to join for a lecture, a women's forum, and one class. Kathy Cooper is definitely the softer side of Ashtanga yoga. I can definitely relate with this as I feel this practice is more gentle due to the ability to set your own tempo and meet yourself on the mat in a more individual way. She talked about Guruji and the much smaller Ashtanga scene in the 70's when she started practicing. The beauty of the practice for her is about the efficiency of it. You can get to your mat, move your energy around, and take that into the rest of your day.
My favorite quote from the lecture was that "Ashtanga yoga has a reputation of being serious and severe, but it's not that at all; rather it is very sincere."
Here are some other gems I took away from the experience:
*A main key to this practice is moola bhanda, by engaging it you can contain all the energy that you gather in with practice instead of it all draining out of you.
*Morning practice has the effect of connecting you to the world around you.
*Personalizing your practice is the best thing you can do to strengthen it.
*Marichiasana is about sending the energy up the shushumna nadi, you need to sit up to make that happen.
*Prasarita is about opening your back body, breathe into your kidneys.
*Sometimes the only thing holding you back is fear. This is where a teacher comes in handy. They can give you a safety net that can allow you to realize what is true.
*Lighten up. Do what you can, and come back to your practice tomorrow. This is a practice that can last a lifetime.
*Pranayama is essential past 60. Be strong enough for it.