A preview of Maty Ezraty’s upcoming Teacher Intensive at Yogaview in November
By Chris de Lizer with DeePaola Picasso
A pioneer in the yoga world, Maty Ezraty studied with Shri K. Pattabhi Jois and with Iyengar teachers Dona Holleman and Gabriella Giubilaro. In 1987, at age 23, Ezraty and partners Chuck Miller and Alan Finger opened YogaWorks in Santa Monica, Calif. She and Lisa Walford directed its teacher training program for over 16 years. Many yoga teachers who went on to international acclaim began as Ezraty’s students in the teacher training at YogaWorks. In 2005, Ezraty and her partners sold YogaWorks to an investor group, and Ezraty focused on teaching and traveling around the world to share her love and knowledge of yoga.
Local teachers Chris de Lizer and DeePaola Picasso attended Ezraty’s workshop July 12 to 28, 2013, at Pure Yoga in New York City and share their experiences with the Mysore Practice:
Unlike traditional Mysore (selfpractice), props were favored. Ezraty gave each of the 50 students a personal sequence. To prepare the shoulders, some sat in Sukhasana (Easy pose) and held a block above their head. In backbends, students used a block between the feet and a strap around the forearms. No one dropped back or came up unassisted. By the end of the two weeks, you could feel the rhythm and harmony of the Mysore room. Everyone practiced with consciousness and intention.
At the wall for standing poses, Chris de Lizer created a rooted foundation and a correct alignment. Slowing down Mysore practice was a bit tedious and frustrating at first. Ezraty reminded us that when “alignment becomes natural, the breath and the mind create a balance.” By the end, de Lizer found the practice to be a moving meditation.
The afternoon and weekend sessions focused on a sequence and a theme, using props. In each asana, Ezraty created the foundation of the pose and explained its mechanics. We partnered for hands-on adjustment. The restorative and pranayama practice with bolsters, straps, blocks and blankets was a favorite with students.
Finally, we reach Savasana, “our beginning.” Ezraty said Savasana is “probably the most important asana in the class” as we start “to work towards being able to meditate.”
The Mysore practice created an individual awareness and fostered a mindful approach to the asanas. Ezraty reminds us that the poses are “just the vehicle we are using to build attention.” She asked us, “What is vinyasa?” Although linking breath to movement is a logical answer, she said, “It is a gradual progression that is appropriate for you.” Even now during practice, de Lizer hears Ezraty’s voice: “Press down, reach up, hip bones up, buttocks down” and Ezraty’s signature phrase, “Don’t tighten your tuchis.” Other gems were “Add, don’t subtract,” “Don’t make it fancy” and “No drama.”
Take advantage of the opportunity to build attention and advance your practice with Ezraty on Nov. 15 to 17 at yogaview Lincoln Park.