Monday, October 18, 2010

Arrived in Santa Barbara

It’s a strange experience being back in Santa Barbara after so many years away.  I was born here, went to school here and lived here for my first 27 years before leaving for Seattle.  After 8 years in Seattle and 10 in NYC, I’m coming back to learn that although the town is basically the same, a lot has changed.  
I arrived by train last night and went directly to Yoga Soup, where I’ll be teaching my Super Nia Immersion playshop on Sunday.  Ken Gilbert was just finishing a Nia class there, and afterwards he took me to his home where I’ll be staying the weekend with him and his wife, Bonnie and three cats, Lucy, Ghost and Nubbin.
I was surprised by the weather here; I expected to see the sun.  But instead it has been foggy and overcast the entire day, and from what I’ve heard, will probably stay this way all weekend. 
This morning, I took a Pilates class taught by the wonderfully gifted Ken Gilbert, and he exposed me to basically the same weakness and disconnection that was exposed by Glenn Black last weekend at the Human Movement workshop.  I love being a student and having these very capable teachers help keep me on my path of self-improvement. 
What I’m learning is that the strength in my body is allowing me to create inefficient compensation patterns. Or to put it another way, some of my strong muscles are bullying some of my orphan muscles. It will take some diligent effort and retraining to get the bullies to relax and the orphans to start working more. What’s really exciting about this work is that it will improve my posture, increase the ease with which I move through life and reduce the amount of pain and discomfort I’m susceptible to. 
Following the Pilates class, Ken and I team-taught a Nia class for his students at Yoga Soup.  Ken created a playlist blending AO and Trance Vision and since we’re both Black Belts, we just jumped right in and the class flowed so smoothly that the students suspected that we had planned it out.  Ken set the focus of X-Ray Anatomy, so we had fun dancing our bones and joints. 
After lunch we took a trip to Santa Ynez to see Ken’s theater space, Theater D.  This is the home of Drama Dogs and Daughters of Zion Aerial Dance Company. Ken and Rena hooked up some of the chains and let me play around on them.  After a bit of flailing around, I got the hang of it (no pun intended). In no time at all I was having a ball and after about an hour, with Ken and Rena’s guidance, I had created the seed of a performance. We spoke of making a more serious collaboration and they started to get me really excited about it.  (They may just pull me out of retirement to do this.) It would be a blast, I’m sure, so I’m really serious about wanting to do it if we can find the right time and figure out how I can afford to spend a whole month in Santa Barbara rehearsing and performing.
Tomorrow we’re going to Carpinteria to attend an all day Integral Anatomy course with Gil Hedley. I don’t really know what to expect, except that two of my mentors (Jill Miller and Debbie Rosas) have both spoken very highly of him and his work and I’ve seen some of his videos on YouTube. I expect to thoroughly enjoy and be inspired by his work. 
On Sunday, I’ll teach my Nia Immersion workshop at Yoga Soup.  And then, on Monday, I’ll leave for San Francisco. 

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