Anusara immersion in Chiang Mai with Jonas Westring

(India-delayed post — this took place in Feb 2013…)

“Those Anusara people really know their shit.” So said one of my favorite yoga teachers in Oakland a few weeks into her Anusara YTT.

That has definitely been my experience, and in February I was fortunate enough to stumble into an Anusara immersion just outside Chiang Mai that was taught by long-time Anusara instructor Jonas Westring. It was the third and final week-long session in the series, and most of the other students were already yoga teachers. Way above my level…

Jonas headstanding, with Tyler from http://www.yogashalasac.com

Jonas headstanding, with Tyler from http://www.yogashalasac.com

Fortunately for me, there were only 10 of us in the group, so there was a lot of much-needed individual attention from Jonas and his teaching assistant, Daphne. They were both great. The focus on alignment (shins in, loops, spirals, etc.) was incredibly helpful, and my body did things previously considered impossible, like palms flat on the ground in forward fold, unsupported headstand (briefly), and something that vaguely resembled Hanuman/splits. As I was to discover, this alignment work was the perfect prep for yoga teacher training in India.

Practice, practice...

Practice, practice…

Unfortunately for yoga, the Anusara community is devolving. It turns out that the founder is human and couldn’t live up to his own lofty guiding principles, so now many teachers don’t want to be associated with the brand name. Anusara people, please reconsider! You have a good thing going.

Luckily, Jonas and other Anusara teachers are still out there. His 2014 immersion series & teacher training starts Jan 21. Check out his website to see where in the world he will be next: http://shantaya.org

The immersion also included meditation, philosophy, and anatomy, as well as a physical therapy session with James Pehler. Highly recommended if you need a PT in Chiang Mai (or New Jersey in the off season.) I had a session with him after the immersion to work on a sore elbow and deltoid, ended up with more freedom on the right side of my body than I’ve felt since a high school tennis injury many many years ago, wish I’d done that sooner. (Update: five months later, still feels great, the old tennis injury is gone and my mobility is much better than the ‘normal’ left side. Amazing.) His work is based on KMI, Kinesis Myofacial Integration. Contact James at: arjuna023(at)gmail.com

Baxter

Baxter

The Anusara retreat was about 40 minutes from Chiang Mai’s old city at Kaomai Lanna Resort, a restored tobacco plantation. It was pretty lux, with comfortable beds (in Thailand!), great yoga space, a nice pool, and a very good restaurant. http://www.kaomailanna.com

Yoga studio and pool

Yoga studio and pool

~ end ~

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