Saturday with Joseph

Oh my goodness, where do I even begin? Let me just start by saying that spending a day with Joseph is well worth your time. He’s amazing, nice, funny, smart, and an incredible yogi.

If this man shows up in your town by all means go see him.

I sat up in the third row near the podium. I had a good spot. I had some fan access, but not too much. I also had a great view of where he would be. Then it came time for class to start, and Joseph really, really wanted someone to move their mat over to the left of the podium next to him. No one moved a muscle. Finally, after the question had been posed a good three times I just got up and moved. I have learned that in class I am usually the person who will get up and do whatever it is that needs to be done. I am happy to give other people the chance to do it first, but if no one volunteers I’ll do it.

This is how I ended up spending a great deal of time with my butt literally parked right next to Joseph. I was sooo close to him that at times he just leaned over and gave me corrections. Other times he flung his sweat on me. I am ok with all of that.

Joseph gave us an overview of the day. I have been to two other seminars (Mary Jarvis & Craig Villani). Both Mary and Craig separate the class apart from the posture seminar. So with Mary, we had a grueling three hour class and then posture clinic. With Craig it was the other way around.

That’s not how Joseph does things.

Joseph embeds posture clinic into the class. So this means you do one set of something and then talk about it. Usually he watched what we did as a class with first set and then directed his posture commentary on what he thought we could most benefit from. He also made individual corrections and helped people out who asked for it. We sat down when he was giving commentary of offering demonstrations.

This made for a longer class. The good news is that he requested the heat be lowered (not turned off but lowered), that we have the fans on during class, and that doors be propped open now and then. I guess the heat was lowered. I couldn’t tell. My mat was drenched.

Anybody want to guess how long class was? We started right on time at 10:00. At 10:45 we were headed into the second set of half-moon. Yes, you heard me. Class was over at 1:40. That’s 3 hours and 40 minutes folks.

He did give demonstrations during and after class. During class he would have students do demonstrations and talk about form and what they (or anyone of us) might want to pay attention to. He also demonstrated postures from the beginning series and talked through them. I got to demonstrate two postures. The first was Standing-Separate-Leg Stretching Pose. I got the honor of demonstrating this posture because I asked a question about it.

In my version of the pose, I start out by grabbing my heels like we’re told. But, to get my head to the floor I have to wiggle my legs apart. When I start moving my legs farther and father apart my hands start to slide towards my toes. My question: Should I not worry about getting my head to the floor so my hands can stay on my heels?

The answer: According to Joseph I am perfectly capable of keeping my hands on my heels and getting my head to the floor. It’s a matter of using my arm strength more and doing a better job of engaging my quads. I understand what he said. I don’t think I can explain it well here.

After learning how to do all this, Joseph asked me to demonstrate. Since I LOVE this posture (for real!), I had no problem. I asked the question anyways because I seriously love the pose and want it to be better. I did not, for example, ask questions during triangle. So I did it in front of him and everyone, he helped me by walking me through what he had just explained to me, and it worked! Then we all did the posture again, his advice worked again, and he gave me even more corrections. I got to do three sets of one of my favorite postures!

Later, I got to do four sets of camel when I was asked to demonstrate it (boo! Four sets of camel!). The camel demonstration is a different story. It gets it’s own post. There’s a picture that goes with it that I am waiting to get.

After class, we had about a half hour break (during which Joseph took a short break and then worked with some people individually – the guy is amazing). Then we headed back to hear Joseph’s story of how he came to yoga, and he did a demonstration followed by a Q&A. I won’t go into his story. It’s really something you should hear for yourself. I will however, leave you with a picture from his demonstration:

So, how do I plan to spend my Sunday? More Joseph! Today he is teaching the 9:00 class (standard 90 minute class), then competitors get to do a Fight Club with him. I was already exhausted last night. Today may kill me, but I’ll die happy.