“I’m bundled up and you look like you’re headed to the beach.” ~Michael Gannon
I intentionally waited until some time had passed before writing a blog about my time with the Gannon.. I wanted the euphoric Gannon-glow to subside after so much yoga, so I could process and distinguish between that which was yoga bliss-induced and that which was truth. So here ya go..down the rabbit hole slowly, slowly through the Possum Kingdom – otherwise known as my week with Michael Gannon.
I had the luxury of hosting Michael Gannon at CBY, as well as in my home. It was his first time in Texas (aside from airport connections)..so I made sure he could experience some Texas, as our yoga community experienced some Gannon. And in true Houston style, the airport is never an easy venture. I drive through passenger pick-up, and just as I spot him on the commercial car side..they wave me through, so I have to make the rounds.. so I try to pull into the commercial car lane and they make me back up and go through regular car lane — good thing Susie, the Mini Cooper, can maneuver in spectacular fashion.. So I pull up, hop out of the car to grab him..and I hear a whistle from across the way. Micheal is already at Susie, and I’m right outside baggage claim. If it wasn’t real life, it would be sketch comedy. 🙂
He led some amazing workshops, which was expected..but I have to admit that I had heard horror stories of “the Gannon” that put me on guard with what to actually expect as a guest in my home. Not to fear, my home brought forth feelings of cozy, childhood nostalgia – not in a weird, floral sofa and plastic flowers way..but a sense of pleasant comfort and welcoming memories. Though there were definitely brief moments of me thinking “um, really?” *sigh*, there was always an underlying kindness and compassion that you can feel in his adjustments, in his tone when he’s teaching, or in his presence when we were just chillin. He’s certainly no worse than I’ve been at times in my life. It would not be untrue that parts of me even identified with his particular, so-called “diva” nature… but the infamous “diva” rarely made an appearance this trip (at least there was nothing that seemed out of the ordinary or unreasonable.. outside of phrasing things in certain ways that could’ve been phrased in other ways.. but again, as a person who has particular tendencies myself..there was nothing I couldn’t accept with more than a *sigh* or a thought of “oh good..I’m not the only one”). Sometimes people cultivate a reputation because of things we’ve done in the past..but if yoga teaches us nothing, it teaches us that lives change, people change, everything changes. Who we were a year or 10 years ago isn’t always the person we are today..or the person we’ll be tomorrow. He’s definitely an energy I can be at peace around.
“Just the place for a Snark! I have said it twice:
That alone should encourage the crew.” ~Lewis Carroll
“slowly, slowly goes the practice” ~Michael Gannon
What is he like to practice with? I think everyone perceives a practice slightly different, as we are all different.. and no matter that it’s a single instructor, leading a single class, it’s a different class for everyone present. For me.. as we were working deep into locust (with arms overhead) during the back bending session, I hear a distant “oh, that’s fu*king hard” coming from the direction of his mat. His strong (not aggressive) adjustments, such as pressing my feet down in Setu Bandhasana (full bridge), or gently tapping my shin coaxing my forehead forward in Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana (standing half-lotus), are not to be taken lightly. And during the hip opening practice he asks, “who’s loving this?” — nobody but me pipes up and he says “I knew it, you’ve got this smile that says ‘I could stay here all day.’ Who does that annoy?” to an uproar of laughter. Perhaps that doesn’t speak to what he’s like to practice with for everyone..but those are just a small selection of the bits I’ll keep with me. A wonderfully pleasant experience all around!
As we traveled deeper down the rabbit hole, along the Texas highways around Houston to gangsta rap, Paul Simon, and the Beatles..one song remained ever present at the top of his request list. I give you, The Toadies.. Possum Kingdom.
I’ll have fond memories of his declaration for karaoke in the Mini after heading out for a “long neck” at a Texas dive bar, picking up pizza at midnight, his new found love for Liz Lovely cookies, having Mocha talk on Skype with Ikal, and the Toadies on repeat..repeat..repeat. I can hardly wait for his return in the future — for more amazing yoga, random laughter, lazy afternoons, emancipated avians and hobbitses.
So, from the Frosting Cottage – as Michael would say – Shanti Out!