First impressions of the Anusara yoga workshop at Thrive

Photo of four yoga teachers
Desiree Rumbaugh
Anusara Yoga teacher

I wanted to sketch out some ideas about the Desiree Rumbaugh workshop at Thrive Yoga this weekend. You would think that 13 hours of yoga spread over three days would generate a lot of grist for the mill, but there’s been little opportunity to clarify my mind. Friday night after the first two-hour session, I was involved in family affairs (my mother-in-law arrived from New York City and daughter spent the night on her way to Philadelphia for the weekend.) until late.

Last night, I went straight home and ate anything to give me some quick energy. I thought about doing something useful, but I was too tired to write anything about the workshop. In the end, I went to bed. The next morning, I dragged myself out of bed, served myself a bagel and a cup of coffee and made it to the studio by 8:45. I wondered if I had made the right decision: my hips, thighs and calves were all stiff and felt like dead weight. I felt flat and a bit burned out. But once the yoga started moving my limbs, my energy got better. By the end of the last session (Yoga Therapy), all I could think of was to get more fuel into my system.

Photo of four yoga teachers
Kathy Donnelly, Desiree Rumbaugh, Suzie Hurley and Susan Bowen welcome
all the Anusara aficianados to the first night of the workshop.

First finding: all-day yoga workshops make it hard to get adequate meals. I did not want to overeat at breakfast and lunch for fear that it would interfere with the yoga. But all the energy consumed during the sessions means that a late dinner just makes you want to go to bed. If I had taken just one session a day, it would not have made much of a difference, but double sessions are grueling.

Second finding: Anusara yoga has a strong foothold in the DC area. Desiree drew workshop participants from as far away as New York, Pennsylvania and even California, but many current Anusara teachers from the DC area (and their students) renewed their relationship with Desiree. Lots of hugs and kisses before and after each class: Willow Street Yoga, the Yoga Center of Columbia , Inner Reaches Yoga, and probably a few others, were all present. Friday night and Saturday morning, not another mat could have fit into the expanded room (maybe 70 in all). The other sessions still had slots available, but there were a lot of new faces. That’s pretty good, considering that the workshop fell in the middle of summer. Thrive’s owner, Susan Bowen, says that Desiree will be back soon.

Desiree Rumbaugh demonstrates cobra pose
Desiree demonstrated how to get deeply into cobra pose.

Third Finding: Desiree Rumbaugh is an exceptional teacher, and it’s easy to see why she’s gained such a great reputation. She has a knack for driving home the Anusara message of proper alignment, joyful attitude and balanced action in asana after asana, spotting the necessary adjustments to more fully manifest the pose in her students, and enthusiastic narrative that intertwines her own self-discovery and healing through yoga and the principles of Anusara philosophy. She’s really able to break pose down into pieces that can easily be digested and enacted. And it’s the details that make the difference in the asana.

These “findings” are the low hanging fruit that I can easily pick before going to bed. More considered remarks will come later, with at least one good night of sleep and a day without yoga under my belt. Plus, I’ve got photographs of the sessions.