YJ Entry #30: Sunday, October 5th 4:30 p.m. ~ Austin
Who would have thought a nearly 100 year-old song about the banana shortage in New York City could serve as an inspiring theme for an Anusara Yoga class, but such was the case at the Yoga Journal Conference in Estes Park last week. At 8 a.m. on a crisp Colorado morning, Desirée Rumbaugh engaged a curious group of participants that included both experienced Anusara Yoga practitioners and some newbies alike.
Some had come simply for the title alone: “It was cute and piqued my curiosity,” said one woman who had no idea that INVERSIONS were in store for her, this despite what the course catalog had stated. (Note to self: Always read the fine print.)
Take the stress out of your inversions, and turn your world upside down by aligning with Nature. Come and experience a whole new world of possibilities that Anusara Yoga’s Loops and Spirals can bring to your practice. Mostly asana.
I smiled. “So, you’re new to Anusara Yoga?” I whispered. “She’s referring to the banana shape the back can arc into during handstands and such.”
“You don’t want that?” she queried.
“Yes, we have NO bananas!”
It is our way.
* * * * *
An Inspired Theme
I love to see how Anusara Yoga teachers weave a theme ~ how they can take almost anything, look for the chit ananda, and turn it into an inspirational prompt for a class. Desiree began the class talking about the origins of the song ~ the banana shortage in the 1920’s and how stores took to placing the upbeat message in the window over the depressing “No Bananas” gloom and doom: “Yes, we have no bananas!”
What is the deal with handstands and Anusara Yoga anyway? Desiree said that handstands teach you to trust in the back body more than any other pose. Then she tied the old banana song to Anusara Yoga. “Bananas are about shortage. When we have a banana back, we have a shortage of trust in ourselves.”
And the choir sang, “Hallelujah!”
* * * * *
Straightening it Out
The keys to getting out of your own personal banana-sphere is two-fold:
- Strong work in the legs ~ muscular energy, hugging into mid-line;
- Strong abdominal action ~ to draw the ribs back and keep the work (and pain) out of the lower back.
With the intensity of a personal trainer, Dez led us through some serious core work. (You might say she helped us firm our inner banana.) As we moaned and groaned our way through the series of exercises, I longed for the promised inversions. Why is it important that we do this work? Because when we go upside down, when things become more challenging, when we get tired, we forget our alignment and collapse into our default mode with all its sway backed glory.
And this is the message behind why we practice simple poses like urdhva hastasana with strong straight arms or utkatasana with tailbone scooped. We want our default to BE proper alignment.
Final point: When all else fails, never underestimate the value of a catchy workshop title!
Yes, we have no bananas!