on the mat: Kathryn Budig’s Aim True and Backbends Workshops

Congrats to Destiny (entry 248), the winner of my Date Night at the ZOOvies giveaway! Keep up on the happenings at the Cleveland Zoological Society at their website, on Facebook and on Twitter.

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Nervous energy built up as I quietly sat in the Cleveland School of Dance on Friday night, awaiting the beginning of Kathryn Budig‘s Aim True three hour workshop hosted by Evolution Yoga. She was in Cleveland for a three day stay featuring four workshops. I was signed up for the Friday night and Sunday back bending sessions.

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But on Friday night, something was telling me I was in the right place at the right time. That feeling inside was nervousness from knowing you’re on the verge of something BIG.

Kathryn got right into the hard work by sharing the quote that inspired her Aim True philosophy.  It starts with:

“Artemis, make my aim true. Give me goals to seek and the constant determination to achieve them.” 

Upon the release of those last words, my head popped up from my notebook. It felt like Kathryn had read my blog post from earlier this month.  Talk about a personal moment of “you are exactly where you are supposed to be”.

About an hour in, she encouraged us to stop to consider 1) what Aim True meant to us and 2) “what makes you uniquely you?”

My “Aim True” came down to two words: reckless courageI started to embrace this phrase after a nasty string of random occurrences in the month of March as a way to fight through moments of paralyzing anxiety.  It’s about time I get it tattooed on my body because there’s already a few post-it notes with those words scattered around my living and working spaces.

My answer to the second question didn’t flow out of me initially, but I eventually remembered my ability to make things approachable in order to help make people feel comfortable.  And when KB asked for people to consider sharing their thoughts, I found my hand raised and then strength to share my answers – in a very spur of the moment, haphazard, verbally clumsily way. It was an honest assessment: I felt drawn towards my inspiration phrase of choice, I knew of my strengths, but still feel at a loss on how to combine them… or to come over the fear of really tackling that idea. Another a huge theme for her lesson: If I’m being fearful, I’m not choosing love.”

The last question asked before we got moving was what pose were we most afraid of in our asana practice and why. My answer centered around inversions due to 1) not wanting to re-injure my shoulder, 2) my lack of confidence in my upper body strength and 3) a serious fear of falling and smacking my face on the ground. But I did my best to stay in a thought process of “my shoulder is strong” instead of “I’m afraid of hurting myself again” for the 90 minute asana portion of the workshop. And I even found myself upside down a few times. What you believe, you create – right?!

Even after practicing Friday night then Saturday at Nishkama, I was ready to spend two and a half hours on Sunday focusing on my favorite part of the asana practice: backbends.

KB dropback series

Making dropbacks look like a piece of pie.

It was my goal to absorb as much as I possibly could, which started immediately as Kathryn led us through a warm up to open up the body – especially focusing on the shoulders. Then, we were ready to start working through some of my favorite poses: camel, king dancer, dropbacks, wheel and so on. In between each, I did my best to capture tips and tricks in my notebook – any session that feels like a yoga teacher training is a-okay in my book.  And to have her say I had “great discipline” in my wheel alignment might have made my decade.

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LONG STORY SHORT:  On Saturday morning, I found this YogaGlo post which included this quote:  “The hallmark of a good educator is the ability to describe complex phenomenon in a simple, accessible way without diluting its essence.” That quote from is now scribbled in my notebook in between my notes from KB’s two workshops that I attended. It’s placement there is spot on as it’s exactly how I feel about the experience with this teacher.

Kathryn’s teaching is clear, honest, usually humorous and reliable. I felt safe and open during those fun five and a half hours I spent learning from her. If you see she’s coming to a town near you, I highly encourage you check out one of her workshops. It will be an experience you won’t forget – I know I won’t.

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