JAG Fitness US West Coast Tour, October 2010
I don’t remember how I heard about the HTKA seminar in New Jersey, but I just liked that these guys had this seminar called “How To Kick Ass” and it was one of those moments when i just had a feeling that there was something about this that i needed; so I signed up for it without even knowing who either of these guys were. As it turns out, one was a pitching coach and the other was a wrestling coach. And they both have very successful businesses and wanted to share how they got them that way. The guys created a fraternity of about 30 like minded guys ready to bust balls to make their business a rocking success. And the room was filled with testosterone. In fact, after the seminar, I had to get back to teach class in Manhattan, but all the guys had a bonfire on the beach and partied like fraternity brothers. The seminar was filled with great ideas for reaching more people, turning more potential leads into clients and retaining clients for longer. And now, two weeks after the seminar, we’ve developed this email support group to keep each other motivated and help to follow through on the great ideas. It was a brilliant seminar and will be a lot to digest. I have the materials with me, but as I write this, I’ve been on the road since the seminar and I’m focused on the stuff I’m teaching on my tour and I’m looking forward to shifting my business around when I get back home.
In Santa Monica I stayed at the hostel, in a six-bed dorm. I had a nice sized locker that I could lock all of my belongings in. (I only travel with a carry-on and a back pack that zips on and off it.) The Glenn Black seminar was a mind-altering experience. His approach is so different than anyone I’ve ever seen. He’s so confident in his esoteric ways that he can almost get you to believe that yoga makes no sense. I loved how the Glenn Black seminar was the perfect blend of my work with Yoga Tune Up® and Body Tuning with Shmuel Tatz. The sense I get from Glenn is that he’s asking us to be aware of ourselves and what we’re doing. It’s all about body mechanics and movements. It doesn’t have to kick your ass to get you in shape, you just have to do it right. There is a finesse to this thing we call fitness. I’m so excited to be blending this work with the work of Nia and mentors such as Scott Sonnon and Pavel to create my new programs. What I learned about myself with Glenn was that my back was weak and I didn’t tend to use it enough. He also showed me some cool ways to open my hip joint so I can sit more easily. Keep reading for an interesting development on that comment about my back.
While I was staying at the hostel I was advertising on Craig’s List for private Yoga Therapy sessions, combining a private Yoga Tune Up® session and a Body Tuning session. I got two clients out of it and in both cases it was a great experience, leaving them much more at ease in their bodies and relaxed. Both were men and both could reach down and touch their toes with no problems after our session. I'm so excited to be developing this new technique.
My friend Aaron, who I’ve known for at least twenty years but hadn’t seen in about fifteen, happened to do hair extensions at a salon around the corner from the hostel I was staying at. So I went in to say hi and it was just like old times right away. We were laughing and telling stories and being just like we were in our twenties. He invited me to come and stay with him for a few days, since I didn’t have to be in Santa Barbara until the weekend. He lives in Korea Town in Los Angeles, so I took the bus there. We hung out and watched movies and cooked food and hung out just like we used to. At one point we took the bus to USC and had lunch in the cafeteria there while he looked at proofs from a hair photo shoot. I didn’t expect to spend four days hanging out like that, without a care in the world and just laugh at everything. It reminded me about love and laughter and just relaxing and not giving a shit for a while. It’s really healthy. It’s refreshing and uplifting. After leaving Los Angeles, I felt very energized, and ready for my first big teaching event of the tour.
In Santa Barbara, I was hosted and produced by Ken Gilbert. I’d heard of him for ten years and met him briefly at a large Nia event at Nia Headquarters. Here was this other man who taught Nia! Not only that, but he was also into theater! And on top of that, he lived in Santa Barbara, where I was born and raised. And we clicked, big time. As I suspected we would. He gave me lots of good bits of wisdom regarding Nia and about being a teacher. I admire his angle on the work, which is about moving with awareness. But what he gives is truly more than awareness. What Ken was able to give me, in a single class and a private session was able to give me acute awareness but he also helped me find the tools and adjustments I needed to make to find and maintain integrity in my torso.
It was puzzling at first. But based on what I learned at the Gil Hedley seminar, our fascia is contractile tissue. It’s not just muscle memory but deep fascia memory that really holds us in our long-held patterns. And fascia has a much longer and stronger memory and is not as dense with the motor nerves as the muscle. So even if the muscle is trying a different pattern, the deep fascia will still be entrained the old way. Ever since leaving Santa Barbara, I’ve been playing with engaging my core correctly. The good news is that it’s been a week now and it’s getting easier already. I’m changing my fascia, slowly.
I taught a FreeDance Playshop and Bond Girls Master Class at Yoga Soup in Santa Barbara for thirteen lovely dancing bodies. I love teaching this playshop because there’s such a palpable shift in the energy of the room as the hours go by. Santa Barbara was a lot of fun and loving energy. And of course I love Bond Girls and it was such fun doing it with them. My only complaint would be that the acoustics in the rooms were interfering with the joy of being in relationship with the music and my voice was lost in an echo of vibrations. But I could see smiling faces and dancing bodies, and I could see the Bond spirit rising above adversity and we definitely indoctrinated 13 new members into the Bond elite; licensed to kill with their sexiness. I ended the class with an hour of Power FloorPlay. I was blending traditional Nia FloorPlay with Yoga Tune Up® set to cool music. It was fun.
I flew from Santa Barbara to Portland, with an overnight layover in San Francisco. I ate one of the most delicious burritos in the Mission District and stayed on the couch of my friend, Ferdinand. The next morning I had breakfast in the Castro at the classic diner, Orphan Andy’s, before getting on BART to the airport.
In Portland, the MAX takes me right to Nia Headquarters, where I arrive, dragging all my luggage behind me, to find that Carlos wasn’t leading the Blue Belt intensive as I had read earlier on the website, but that Debbie was co-teaching with Helen Terry while Caroline Kohles and Winnalee Zeeb were training to become Blue Belt Trainers. Instead of what I was expecting, which was to be a final connection and reaching out to Carlos AyaRosas, who has been my mentor for the past fifteen years, it was something else entirely. It then became this incredibly deep learning experience. Some of the highlights of my stay in Portland were teaching the Bond Girls routine at Nia HQ and them giving me a copy of a DVD of me teaching the class for my own self-evaluation, and also Debbie giving me a note about my movement in class that was in perfect harmony with what I learned earlier from Glenn Black and Ken Gilbert. She said I didn’t engage my core enough. (I’m now unlearning a habit of using my strong arms and legs instead of my core, and consciously engaging my core for strength and support in my movement.)
A took a bus from Portland to Eugene and checked into the Whiteaker Hostel. I got a private room in a house a few blocks away from the hostel dorms. Amy Palatnick was my producer and she put together a very nice weekend Nia Immersion with the Bond Girls Master class and extended FloorPlay on Friday at the Reach Center, which was well attended with 19 Bond Girls. And on Saturday and Sunday we were at In Shape Gym. On Saturday there were 19 students for my FreeDance Playshop and we broke through some barriers and unleashed our inner spirited dancers. And on Sunday, we shook the foundations of the gym with our passionate sounding in the Kundali-Nia Silence and Sound Dance Meditation playshop. There were probably 30 people in that playshop and it was electric. Eugene was somewhere I’d never been before and I had no idea what to expect. But now I have to add it to my list of places that I love. I plan to go back and teach more playshops there when I do my JAG Fit tour, Spring 2011.
As I write this, I am on the train to Seattle, where I’m planning to teach my Bond Girls routine a few times during the week and then culminate in a Bond Girls Training Mission: Learning to Teach the Routine. I’ve been indoctrinating Bond Girls all along my trip, but this will be the first time I actually train teachers to share the magic with their students. I’m looking forward to finally pushing this baby out of the nest and leaving the routine to flourish with the Seattle Nia teachers.
After Seattle, I’ll fly back to NYC and enjoy being at home for a few days before heading up to the Berkshires where I will conclude JAG Fit Tour Fall 2010 by assisting Jill Miller in a Yoga Tune Up® weekend at Kripalu Yoga Retreat Center.