Our Weekly Yoga Lovin’ Blog Review
This week: Grounding Thru The Sit Bones
Photo: Brenda, with permission from Grounding Thru The Sit Bones
Brenda Plakans champions the transformative potential of community, then rolls up her
sleeves and starts teaching.
I see myself as a passionate advocate for Common Sense Yoga. Nothing flashy, nothing noisy, nothing trademarked. I’ve been practicing yoga for a couple of decades, teaching it for six years, and writing about it for five.
It suits me.
Right away you should understand that Brenda Plakans is the master of the understatement. Not ironic understatement, mind you, just the mildly plain speaking kind that makes you feel you’re sitting over a cuppa with her. And as we bet she’d say it, ixnay on the arbucks-stay. You’ll be in her kitchen, where the water boils.
Practicing what she teaches
Why do we love this blog? Because Brenda’s first concern as a teacher is to be with her students. Community is cultivated with great regard. There’s zero condescension, no patronizing, nothing but loving respect for the process of fostering community life.
If her students are having babies, she’s teaching prenatal yoga and sharing what she knows about prenatal classes in carefully executed writing. If her students and neighbors are going to the beach, she’s planning outdoor classes.
In addition to her blog posts, Brenda has links to over a dozen articles she has written advocating, in one way or another, her core philosophy of yoga: that teachers are first of all practitioners, and that they are part of the community in which they live and work.
If we build it, they will come
Simple as these fundamentals may sound, her blog champions the transformative potential of real life as the real juice of yoga, a practice she firmly believes should meet the needs of students where they are in their own lives and beliefs.
Like many of us, Brenda’s current embrace of yoga practice arrived via the untenable:
Before there was yoga there was a lot of nervous, unfocused energy. First Art History and then Costume Design. High-pressure deadlines out of my control, unpredictable personalities, excitement, drama, over-thinking (can you imagine?!?). Sequins.
You will not easily encounter any exotic language or practices when reading Grounding Thru The Sit Bones. Indeed, Brenda’s rummaging around in the often unquestioned fundamentalism governing how to talk about yoga fluffs up quite a few pillows:
Yeah, I know goddess is just a word, but words are very powerful things and we should be able to come up with something as compelling but more reasonable.
Why can’t we revel in the powers we do have: to teach, to construct, to write, to create, to nurture, etc etc. Celebrate the already existing and build on that, rather than strive for something with high-disappointment potential. I’m not saying we shouldn’t have ambition or challenge ourselves, but I just don’t understand the need for such impossible standards.
Poking around in sacred language got Brenda into hot water at one point. She responded the way that any sincere yoga practitioner would: with a public, no holding back apology. She’s way more interested in the group dynamic than she is in being right. That’s why some of the best yoga bloggers on the net exchange points of view in comments on Brenda’s posts. (Anywhere you find Linda-Sama conversing, you should all slow down and read!)
And right in the midst of Brenda’s ixnay to the oddess-gay, we do really love her no-irony, passionate earth mother description of power: to teach, to construct, to write. It’s like when Sharon Olds writes that our bodies are so far beyond our powers we could never invent them. That what we are is already mindbending, in an elegant understated way.
Community, family, and… triathlons
Grounding Thru The Sit Bones mulls over “stretchy white chicks,” New York Times articles, 80 year old teacher Nicky Plaut, and creativity itself. The wisdom turned up is of the same practical leaven as the articles on teaching without chanting and how to create a distance learning class. “Don’t take the blight fungus personally when everything turns brown and falls off over the course of two days.” Thus speaks the Bhagavad Gita via the MidWestern translation.
What is it that we admire about Grounding Thru The Sit Bones? It’s that sneaky little revolutionary quality of a woman speaking with unguarded natural authority about her own experiences.
Brenda Plakans proves it’s possible the most revolutionary thing to do is anchor yourself in the mainstream and remain unrepentant in claiming your rightful place in it even as you work at and teach an essentially unsettling and destabilizing, non-status-quo practice.
Here’s your hook up to Grounding Thru The Sit Bones. Our favorite post from earlier this year: The Power Within or Settling for Store Bought Eggs
The Magazine of Yoga is full of admiration for Grounding Thru The Sit Bones. We’re delighted to award Brenda our Real Life is Real Yoga™ Pure Prana quality rating. We highly recommend you add this down-to-earth, yoga-teacher-positive blog to your reading list.
Stateline Family YMCA
Workshops (also at the Y)
Outdoor Yoga at Riverside Park
North lawn of the Rotary Center
(at the Y, if it rains)
July 31 9:00-10:00am
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