All Posts from June, 2010

KT is back!

June 21st, 2010 | By Tania Ketenjian in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

We missed KT while she was off in the homeland. KT is originally from England (thus her very cool accent although, according to her, she was asked in England if she was from the South in the US). KT has not been living in England for a while. Before San Francisco, KT was in Hawaii where she was doing, amongst other things, an intense teacher training. It was wonderful to have her back. One thing that Bill had said about her was that KT tells you exactly what she is thinking, she is an open book and she shares what’s on her mind. I love that, especially in a yoga class, because in so doing, she reveals her vulnerabilities and tendencies and allows us to see our own and acknowledge the ways in which we would like to grow and develop. Something that Bill did not mention, although I am sure he knows, is just how funny KT is and I was reminded of that last week. She’s always cracking a joke, be it at herself or at the wonderful absurdity of the world we live in. She makes us laugh, she offers us a chance to laugh at ourselves and she is so warm and real through the whole thing. She is not trying at all. You see KT in class through and through.

Last week in class, KT was speaking about what it was like to go back home and to know it’s not where she wanted to live. There happened to be a few other English people in the class, all of whom had made the same decision, to leave England and live in America. It brings to mind the question of how we define and create home. Is home where we were born? Is it where we feel most ourselves? Is it where we live? And how many different homes and communities do we have? Bernal Yoga is a home for many and we are so lucky to be living in a city that offers so many different experiences of home.


June 21st, 2010 | By Tania Ketenjian in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

It’s always special when Bill or Savonn come to teach class at Bernal. While all the teachers are brilliant, there’s something special about taking class from the founders. My first introduction to Bernal was through Bill. His straightforward style, paired down to asanas and instruction with a selective reference to the spiritual side of the teachings makes for a very focused class. Don’t get me wrong. I love the metaphorical associations between yoga and life, like what comes up when there is challenge, or how to breathe through a tough moment. Those help me with my day to day. But there’s a focus and calm that I love about the way Bill teaches. He has this encouraging way of letting us know, in subtle ways, be it walking through the room or offering a supportive “good” after we get into a pose, that he is there for us. And because he has been part of Bernal for so long, it’s almost like taking class from a cousin or a friend, someone that has been in your life in one way or another for a while, a wonderful familiarity.

Turns out Bill also taught Thai Massage over the weekend and some Bernal teachers took the class so we may find moments of massage over the next few weeks.

Bill also told a great story about KT, a brilliant teacher. He said that when she came to Bernal, she went to Bill and simply said, “When do I start?”, having just met him. “Have you not heard about me from Stephanie?”, she said. Needless to say, she was hired and with great pleasure. Bill said he felt honored to be teaching a class she usually teaches. As did we.

Lessons to hold

June 7th, 2010 | By Tania Ketenjian in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Bernal Yoga is full of magical wisdom. After being away for two weeks in New York, I was craving class and after Carlin’s Saturday morning class, I realized just what I was missing. KT is out of town and so Carlin, who studied under the same teacher as KT, was taking her place on Saturday. She mentioned at the beginning of class that hers can sometimes be a tough one, with poses held and flow encouraged. It also happened to be a hot day outside, a wonderful rarity in San Francisco, so we were drenched in sweat during class. And it was wonderful.

Carlin incorporates a powerful combination of asanas and insight. On this Saturday morning, two lessons particularly stayed with me. The first was about ease and the extent to which we somehow resist it in life. So often we think we are striving for ease in our lives. It’s the clutter of the mind we want to settle, challenges we want to overcome and possibly avoid, the static of the everyday we want to clear. But Carlin wondered to what extent do we seek out the challenging, how do we make things more difficult for ourselves and why. Are there ways we make things uncomfortable rather than resting in what may seem like mundane simplicity. It was a very interesting point and really got me thinking.

The other point Carlin made, and one that I have thought about before but not in the same way, was about how we react when we are in a difficult pose. If we look at that reaction in a moment of an uncomfortable asana, it may inform us about how we are in other uncomfortable moments in our lives. Do we check out (I wonder what I’ll be having for dinner), do we get frustrated and self-critical (wow, I really am not very good at headstand), or do we explore deeper (how can I open my chest more?). It’s an interesting question and a reminder, once again, that yoga is a metaphor, a tool to better understand ourselves and the way in which we think and live. Yoga is a practice of the mind, body and soul and the lessons we learn on the mat are ones we can hold with us wherever we go.

And one final thing Carlin mentioned: Our time in class is a time for us, a time where we can really listen to what is happening inside and out, a time where there are no interruptions. What a privilege.