On Saturday from 11AM to 1PM, as part of the Ashtanga Yoga Immersion, I will be leading a short practice of the standing sequence followed by a introductory talk on the Patanjali Invocation. The talk will cover word definitions and my thoughts on the context of the words used. Everyone in the Near East Yoga community is welcome to attend the practice starting at 11AM or the following talk, starting at Noon.
There are two follow up sessions on April 28th and May 12th. Both talks will follow the same time and format of a light practice and an introductory talk on the structure of Patanjali Yoga Sutra specifically Ashtanga Yoga and ideas on how to make use of those ideas. Again, you are all welcome to attend.
Kathy Cooper is returning to Near East Yoga May 9th through May 20th. She will be offering Mysore classes to the in-house community (outside the community are welcome) plus a weekend workshop May 18th 19th and 20th. Here is how the two workshops will work. For those of you unfamiliar with Kathy Cooper please read my article about her at the end of the email.
The Mysore classes with Kathy are provided by donation, in addition to your regular monthly fee or punch card.
We did this in past and it worked great. Kathy receives all the proceeds of this workshop.
A suitable amount is between $50 and $75 dollars (cash please). Everyone is encouraged to practice with Kathy as often as you can.
Kathy is a Master Teacher in the Ashtanga lineage.
If you can’t afford the donation you are still encouraged to practice with Kathy. She accepts smiles and enthusiasm.
An RSVP for the sessions you choose to attend is required.
In the event that classes fill up I can add other times.
Kathy’s Mysore Schedule-
(No Potluck. Due to Richard Freeman’s workshop on Sunday there wont be a potluck to welcome Kathy
Stay tuned for details about a possible meal together while she’s here)
May 9th Wednesday 530-730PM
May 10th Thursday 8-10AM
May 11th Friday 9-11AM
May 12th Saturday 9-11AM (Immersion Dharma Talk with Casey after)
May 13th Mothers Day 9-11AM Regular Mysore w Casey
May 14th Monday 530-730PM
May 15th Tuesday 8-10AM
May 16th Wednesday 530-730PM
May 17th Thursday 8-10AM
The follow up workshop is 3 parts and costs $90 dollars, taken in sections the cost is $60 for Saturday or Sunday.
Friday May 18th Dharma Talk- Kathy’s Experience and Wisdom- a Life of Yoga Practice 6-8PM, No Cost. Bring Friends.
Saturday May 19th Led primary 9-11AM and Noon to 130PM, Talk on Mula Bandha and Ujayi Breathing.
Sunday May 20th, 2-4PM How give and receive adjustments- A Posture Clinic for Teachers and Students
Thanks for your support. Don’t forget the 10 year anniversary party is Friday June 29th. Location and details TBA. Please read my article on Kathy.
Kathy Cooper- The Yogi, Teacher and Friend
I first heard of Kathy Cooper in 2008 from my good friend Jacob Handwerker. Jacob had the opportunity to work with Kathy for a 3 month “season” in Sri Lanka (where he had visited a year prior under a different teacher) and raved about her. Kathy had taken up the roll teaching ashtanga yoga at that center at the behest of Anthony (Gary) Lopadata, one of Tim Millers initial teachers. The prior teacher, Anthony “Prem” Carlissi had moved his teaching to Bali and Kathy comfortably took over his role without having much international teaching experience. Since then Kathy (with Jacob making a yearly appearance) has built up a solid Ashtanga Yoga destination with many people making it their first choice of schools. This is not easy to do when India is the first stop on the way to a grueling, round the clock trip, to southwest Sri Lanka. Knowing Kathy as I do now I can see why people are willing forgo yoga in India and make the trek to be with her.
At that time I was going through the turmoil of not having a direct teacher. For as important as I think it is to practice and learn what the practice has to offer, alone, some of what was coming up was beyond my ability to understand or move through. Much of the confusion was simply a disconnect between practitioner and lineage. I had been in India in 2007 but returned in worse shape than when I had left. It was not a matter of knowing the practice but rather what to do with what came up from doing it. If the yoga practice goes on for years and years, that which can be known at 2 years is quite different at 10 years. I was not interested in a peer teacher, informed by the same decade of work, frustration and revelation. I needed a guide with a lifetime of perspective.
“Who is Kathy Cooper” was the title of the 2009 and first Kathy Cooper workshop I hosted. I wrote that line partly to be cheeky but also because it was a good question. I did not know her and she was not famous (yet). At the time Kathy was well known in the Bay Area, but outside, not so much. When first I heard the list of her accomplishments I was blown away. Firstly, she had been practicing Ashtanga Yoga for over 30 years, with Guruji, Nancy Gilgoff, and David Williams to name a few ( there are many more). These folks (Kathy included) were the first Americans to make the journey to Mysore to be with Guruji in the early 70s, predating by 10 years or more, excellent, well known and revered teachers like Tim Miller and Richard Freeman. Why Kathy was not more well known was my biggest question but also the trigger for my insight to include her in our sangha.
The one accomplishment that truly inspired me and triggered the action to invite Kathy was her contiguous practice of the Ashtanga Yoga method for 30 plus years, as a woman. In a field dominated by athletic men, most of the women teachers are either unknown or have moved to other methods. Not Kathy. She has quietly stuck it out and by all appearances is just beginning to show in the field of what we are now able to call, “Master Teachers” in the Ashtanga lineage. I was thrilled to discover that a relatively unknown, female, Master Teacher existed. One who sat at the window of opportunity required to visit a small, unknown, yoga community and fill what I believed to be a gigantic gap in my personal teaching and practice, and the practices of the people I was trying to serve. I knew I could not speak with authority regarding ashtanga yoga for women nor what happens after the 15 year mark and beyond. While a yoga mechanic, or a sutra reciter and philosopher are great resources, a wise knower of “yoga over time” is hard to come by, especially when the practice is often regarded as simply a physical expression. I wanted more than that for myself so I made it my personal quest to get her in front of the Near East Yoga community.
More than anything I wanted to impress Kathy by showing her a perfect visit to Portland. In a way it was my chance to show a genuine teacher the simple power of a strong community practicing under the banner of a strong lineage. I also wanted to test my actions and accomplishments against the views of lineage holder to see if they stood up. We had only two phone conversations about her first visit, a testament to her easy going nature and acceptance of my idea for what I and Near East needed in a workshop. That year Kathy hosted 6 days of Mysore classes (not done in the traditional workshop method) and offered a follow-up workshop on the last weekend. The next year she came for a month of Mysore. Last year she came twice. My objective was to find a teacher for Near East Yoga that would be open and supportive in both places of weakness and strength. Kathy has an ability to quickly and respectfully engage any yogi where they are as they are. Within a few minutes of knowing her, and getting a quick tip that might be just the thing we need, it’s easy to let her in. So, there is no fear or anxiety of performance or qualification with her. Overall I can say that the Near East Yoga community has embraced Kathy as a guide and teacher. She knows her stuff and dispenses it deftly.
When Kathy is here she takes the time to connect with people and share her insight and wisdom in a way that truly considers the person. Each time she has visited, her kind words of encouragement that I took to heart and acted upon, have helped me grow in all the ways I needed to back when we first met. It’s that sort of relationship that she is most well suited for- the long term one that has a chance to grow and be cultivated. One that works both ways. It seems like Ashtanga Yoga has been for her, as it should be for any yogi, a vehicle to support and deliver, to the open and courageous, a most subtle and profound medicine that might be summed up as a dose of being open to life as it is, loving ourselves and loving people. I have written many lines about the virtue of Kathy Copper. When I look back on them I can see how I have changed simply by the way I choose to relate her. The sentiment is still there but I am no longer speaking about someone I only just met. Now we are friends with a solid history. I can’t say how I knew that I would be right about her before we had ever met. But I was and I love being right. And I love Kathy. In hind sight it was Kathy’s energy preceding her that informed me of her qualities. I can only claim to have been open to her and ready for a change. The rest is hers.