Training with Donna Farhi, Sarah Powers, Surya Little and Carrie Owerko: Yoga in 2020
I was supposed to be in Albuquerque in mid-June for a 5-day training at my lovely yoga grounds High Desert Yoga with Donna Farhi. Due to Covid, that live training was cancelled a few months back, so it turned into a virtual training, which was quite frankly, more wonderful than I could have imagined.
As I was prepping for my online training, I decided to look up the schedules of a few other yoginis who I adore, and surprisingly to me, they were offering live trainings too. That’s how I was able to study with Donna Farhi, Surya Little, Sarah Powers, and Carrie Owerko, back-to-back, during two weeks of time, all without leaving Fort Worth.
Oh, gosh. These days have been such a fun break from Covid, from the worries in our country, from everything else going on.
Donna Farhi: Softness + Breath
Donna has been teaching yoga since 1982, to date more than 39 years. She lives in New Zealand, and only comes to the states once a year, teaching either in Albuquerque, or Austin. Her books Teaching Yoga and The Breathing Book should be required reading for yoga teachers. She’s phenomenal.
Donna’s teachings focus on needing more softness and awareness of breath in yoga. In stopping the militant, structured, set sequences and learning to listen. My god, I can’t agree more. She’s a thoughtful, well-spoken, true mentor, and I hope with all my heart that more yogis learn from her.
Sarah Powers: Stillness + Strength
Sarah Powers has been teaching yoga since 1987, to date more than 33 years. She offers week- and two-week long trainings all over the world, and due to the length and cost, I’ve never been able to study with her. Her book Insight Yoga was very helpful for me when I started teaching yin in 2016. She has a beautiful offering of yin and yang, with plenty of Buddhist and Chinese Medicine teachings weaved in.
Sarah’s teachings focus on going within, on holding steady, on leaning into discomfort yet never going past our edges. I love yin yoga, and truly love the combination of it with yang-style classes. It’s challenging and softening, all at once.
Surya Little: Women’s Health
Surya Little is married to Tias, who many of my trainings are with. In 2017 I was lucky enough to study with them both in person for a week in Santa Fe. I had studied with Tias for a few years every time he came to Dallas, but my visit to their studio Prajna in Santa Fe was my first time to meet Surya, and I wanted more, but she doesn’t travel teach, at least not to Texas. Now, thanks to Covid, I was able to take her women’s health workshop at my own home.
Surya’s teachings focus on woman’s bodies and woman’s health. She brings decades of experience in nutrition, Ayurvedic wisdom, and yoga into her offerings. If only I knew her as a teenager. If only these teachings were given to every girl, every woman, during all phases of life. Her teachings are a gift.
Carrie Owerko: Discipline + Play
Carrie Owerko has a background in dance and yoga. I’ve been intrigued by her offerings for so long, as she applies the principles of dance and movement, and a lot of play, to her classes. I love doing the same, and I wanted to see how another teacher pulled this off. This was a fun workshop, I’m glad I took it, and I can see why her students love learning from her so much: she’s a little ball of joy.
Carrie’s teachings are focused on discipline and play. She’s incredibly charismatic, incredibly flexible, and teaches the art of combining silliness with yoga. I will admit her class was the most unique to me. I wanted to love it, and I liked her a lot, however I don’t see myself adding her teachings into my daily practice, at least not now. Maybe in the years to come.
What an amazing time, in so many ways. It’s hard to write those words with all the pain in our world. And yet, to have these opportunities, to be able to change how we take in knowledge, that’s truly incredible.
No, it’s not the same as studying in person. However, it’s much less distracting – for me, at least. There’s no other smells, sounds, awkward conversations. Just yoga. Just awareness. Just the teacher. I can hit pause whenever I need to, I don’t have to take a day off from work (which I get is needed at times), and I can learn whenever I want: if I can’t sleep, if I wake up early, if I want to learn for a few minutes on a mid-day break.
And the cost. Donna in New Zealand. Sarah (currently) in London. Surya in Santa Fe. Carrie in NYC. No way could I pull off studying with them all in one year, let alone two weeks, pre-Covid.
Donna and Carrie (and hopefully Sarah and Surya too) will be continuing to offer virtual trainings, hopefully from here on out. I encourage you to give them a try.
More to come in the weeks ahead as these teachings continue to sit in.
4 Yoginis….and Cauliflower Wings for 4!!! This is a quick and fun, easy app, for days when friends can come over (when will that be???) and for those wanting a healthy version of this guilty appetizer.