This blog is the tenth in a series that invites you to experience the Yellow Barn’s 10-day Yoga of Transformation, guided by Gary (Anandasagar) Majchrzak, a nationally renowned yoga teacher and instructor.
By Polly Meyer
Today was the tenth and final day of our Ten-Day Transformation Yoga at the Yellow Barn. It was honestly one of the hardest things I ever put myself through, and it required being more disciplined than I ever thought myself capable of possessing. It was hard for all of us who participated. The instructor, Gary Anandasgar, promised that we would get out of this practice what we put into it. If we did the work, we would be transformed on many different levels. The man delivered on his promises.
The yoga Gary brought us through opened our minds and bodies, removing some of the binds that blocked our potential. The 10-day practice made us confront our limits in order to transcend them. It gave us a deeper self-understanding that brought newness and interest to the way we perceived things. The poses and pranayamas involved constant honing and refining which gave us a glimpse of our true essence. We were our own sculptors, bringing out the true form in the stone as we carefully and mindfully chipped away the unwanted and unneeded rock and grit. It gave us vitality and a sense of grace and well-being. Personally, I began to trust more in my higher self.
Our bodies developed a greater flexibility. Gary constantly reminded us that the essence of our poses was not to attain how they looked in books, but to be aware of how we worked with our limits. It wasn’t important how far we got into a pose, but how we approached the yogic process. We were instructed not to view the pose as an end to be achieved, but to view it as a tool to explore and open our bodies. Ironically, instead of using the body to assume the pose, we used our pose to open our bodies. Progress and opening came more naturally at the end than it did in the early days of our Transformation Yoga. I learned to play the edge of pain – in fact, I think we all did. Finding that place in the pose where we weren’t afraid, but near where the fear comes in when the pose becomes intense. We would hold the pose, deepen our breath, trust the intelligence of our bodies, and wait for the relaxation to come and open us.
We discovered the balance between control and surrender, between pushing and relaxing, channeling our energy and letting it go. Before this Yoga Transformation class, it was my tendency to push in yoga. Now I learned the importance of letting go, relaxing, and enjoying the surrender. It gave me room to focus on the way I moved, held my body, what I was thinking, and how I focused. The essence of this class was to transform. So we focused our attention – attention to our breath, our body’s messages, where to focus our energy, and even to the quality of our attention. These were essential to what we achieved as a group in our last class together. Our breath got us out of our minds and into our bodies, bringing a grace and sensuality to poses that would have been impossible if our minds were in control. On this last day we remained in each pose for 27 minutes. My mind is still boggled by it.
The pranayamas generated an uncommon energy within us. We captured it, changed it, created more of it, and moved it through our bodies. We had great energy, yet we were very focused and calm. This in itself is noteworthy.
And I don’t know how to explain this really, but I feel like this yoga unhooked me from a few things I was holding onto emotionally. I’m not talking about a release, but an un-hook. Its like the process of confronting and nudging my body’s limits and blocks opened my mind. The transformation not only moved me from some things I didn’t like about myself, but also from pleasures and habits I was attached to – like sleeping in late. I am struck by how much I enjoy watching the night turn into day. I don’t think I’ll continue to get up before dawn, but I have no desire at all to sleep in as late as I was accustomed to.
This last day of our Transformation Yoga made me savor each pose, each pranayama, each soul in the room, each candle lit, each tingling sensation, each shared experience, each empowering moment. I already feel the absence of its presence, knowing that we won’t meet in this sacred space tomorrow at dawn. The Yellow Barn is truly one of the very best Yoga Centers in the Twin Cities. And it was an honor to travel on this remarkable journey with the courageous souls in this small class. Through Gary’s teachings, it gave me a deeper awareness of my own participation in the evolutionary process of myself.