What Would Franz Do?

I was “hooked” from my very first yoga class in the Fall of 1974 and since then, through practice, teaching and study, my understanding of yoga has deepened many-fold times. Now, after teaching for 30+ years, with over 70,000 attendances in my classes, it is time to move on and create space for other teachers to follow. I have thought about this for many months now and every time, the message from my body is the same… it is now time to hand over my last yoga class, Saturday’s “Capturing the Spirit of Yoga”.

Interestingly, last Saturday, my class was titled “What would Franz do?”

The dharma talk started over 6000 years ago with the birth of Krishna in Mathura, India (a place I have ventured to) and weaved its way to Franz, the manager of the retreat center in Tuscany that I visited over 20 times as part of Global Yoga Journeys. In contrast to Switzerland, in Italy, excursions rarely worked out according to plans and Franz exhibited, the flexibility, the letting-go of the plan, the being-in-the-moment, the ceasing of the moment and rescuing it from disappointment. Letting-go of the plan is like letting-go of the grip-of-thought, a message clearly advocated by Krishna in his pranksterish way. Years ago, my Tuscan guests would soon say, when confronted with a choice, “What would Franz do?” and we would all laugh.

Lately I have been asking myself “What would Franz do?” and it is clear.

I am grateful for the many students here in Columbia that chose to come to my classes over the past 16 years, for those who ventured with me on my many yoga retreats to exotic international locations, for the opportunity to create the awesome Sunrise 21 Day Yoga Adventure and for the support of the teachers at alleyCat.

I still have a whole lot more to offer as a teacher but I will spend the next segment of my time diving deeper into personal study of the mystery of yoga as well as a few other interests that have caught my imagination. Should I feel compelled to share we will let you know.

Until then, remember, do your version of the pose, draw your attention present and breathe.

Jai Bhagwan (I bow to the light within you),
Ken Sudhakar McRae

Resistance is Futile

There are three things I know about myself; I hate change, I resist change and my “story” is that change is not my friend. Simultaneously there are two things I know about the Universe; everything changes and resistance is futile.

Last week was a whopper, a butt kicker, a doosie (insert your favorite phrase here). In the midst of said week things were coming at me from all directions. My survival method kicked in, I put my head down and plowed through. Finally, on Thursday morning space opened up in my schedule and I had a moment to hit pause.  The feel of the sun on my skin and the sound of the wind chimes on the porch softened the gripping on my body and in my mind. Sitting in quiet reflection I was able to step back and become aware of why I felt so shut down mentally and emotionally. During this pause I became aware that my friend resistance was sitting next to me.
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Books on the Bedside Table

Reading has been a lifelong source of inspiration and growth for me since I was a child. Many a day of my childhood was spent in another world, reading the day away. Walter Farley’s book, The Runaway Stallion moved me so as a child that I decided to become a horse racing jockey (true story). I wrote my first book about horse racing when I was 6, cut it into small squares and bound it with yarn, proving my dedication to both horses and literature.

My time and interest for writing has come and gone through the years, but reading remains central to my growth personally and as a teacher of Yoga. One of the challenges to teaching yoga and running a studio is that my attention is divided into so many roles leaving little time for reading fiction, so yoga philosophy and spiritual texts are what fill my bedside table. When I find myself feeling stagnant and in need of inspiration in my practice or teaching, I reach for these books to distill down the central teachings of yoga or the spiritual traditions.

On My Reading Table:

Daily InspirationThe Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo is my daily companion. More often than not his writings apply deeply to some edge of exploration or growth that is taking place in my life. This is my current daily meditation and reflection read that I dive into each morning.
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