WF Master Student Allan “L’Gaté” Ludgate
L’Gaté is a precious gem, a shining Warrior of the WF Way…recently, as part of his commitment to “Live my WF Practice Out Loud,” he took on the mission of teaching yoga out of his NYC Corporate skyscraper as an act of Service for his coworkers. L’Gaté is the epitome of a WF Athlete/Yogi…he races endurance runs by training for them in the gym. He prioritizes his family time by steadying his mind and emotions each day through EMR and Meditation. Not once has he ever blinked his Trust or Faith in the SUNRIDER Herbs, MAP Aminos, nor any esoteric or brutally hard training recipe from me. And yoga? Well, that was one of his deepest fears now transformed into Treasure…for himself, for others, for the UniVerse. Feeble ilg bows to my Beloved Master Student; L’ Gaté…oh, and stay tuned to DL to see what he and i have cooked up as our shared Sacred Pilgrimage for 2008!

story by Master Student L’Gaté of NYC
photos by coach ilg during his Private Intensives

Near the end of my 2003 tutelage under you, I referenced in my last message I came across this description of my first encounter with your Green Tara asana practice that you prescribed for me:

“Here the challenge is finding the flow for the Green Tara and Ai Imawa series. In both cases, I found the descriptions and advice in Light on Yoga and your Ai Imawa inspiring and helpful. However, while I have done most of these postures before, I don’t have immediate recognition when I see the names. Therefore, on both Ai Imawa and Green Tara, I ended up with pieces of paper arrayed all around my mat to remind me what each pose looks like. Processing that, plus trying to remember all the instructions, plus trying to remember to breathe, made for mechanistic, rather than soulful, workouts. I state this as a fact, not a concern, as I know the flow will come with practice.”

Less than five years later and I’m teaching this!?

As promised, some quick facts, thoughts, and feelings on last night’s yoga class that I taught for the first time in my life:

• Out of an office of ~100, 16 people signed up for the class and 6 showed up. Par for the course? The six who came were an interesting and beautiful mix:
1. Gail, our 60 something, tough talking receptionist, who “took some yoga classes a LONG time ago”
2. Andrew and Matt, mid-20s, completely inflexible jocks coming to their first ever yoga class
3. Julia, the 26 year old alpha female, who takes 4 spinning classes a week and one yoga class a year
4. Ope and Jen, two 23 year old yogini babes

I gave them a brief lecture on the place of hatha yoga within the broader Yoga system (used your “phys ed class of yoga” line), provided a few tips on breath and posture, then dove into the Green Tara solo practice (with full sourcing credit). Many shifts along the way:
• this was the first time I had done this practice with anyone but my kids. Was amazing to feel the breath and the chi around me
• TAF my dialog wasn’t bad. I tried to keep it simple, with one or two things to focus on during each pose. It felt ‘odd’ to be talking my way through a yoga class, and was highly disruptive to my own breath,
• Was super impressed that four out of six, including the two newbies, were able to find their balance in bakasana
• One unexpected byproduct of all that talking…I got thirsty as hell!!
• One massive failure…I never figured out how to balance practicing along with the class vs. providing individual observation and counsel. More or less completely ignored the latter – I was in my practice groove, breathing strong and giving them direction, keeping a soft eye gaze, and I never really checked on how they were doing. I TAF it was important to demonstrate the poses, given the limited yoga background of the class, but clearly need to find a way to interact more with the class
• For final relaxation, I cued up one of the most beautiful records you’ve ever heard – Bob Marley’s “Acoustic Medley” That, combined with the 49th floor view of New York harbor and the Statue of Liberty created a sublime setting for our cave in the sky
• The greatest satisfaction is that I did it. As I try to “live out loud”, I am determined to take my practice out from under a rock and share it with others. Last night was a g(o)od start

Received feedback from three of my students:
• Gail: Allan, Thank you for last night. I hope this is something that will continue and get me to go to a Yoga class on a regular basis. I need it desperately.
• Ope: Allan, Thanks for a class. I really enjoyed it and hope you can do it on a regular basis. One thing that I would suggest is to incorporate more modifications of the asana that make them both more and less challenging. I think you did this very well with the different versions of down dog. You might include more of that (e.g. side plank for a bit more of a challenge or encouraging people to use the wall or other support in poses like triangle). In any case, I thought it was a fantastic class. Thanks again!
• Andrew: Hi Allan,I wanted to drop you a quick note to provide some feedback and thank you for our Yoga class last night. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, and hope we are able to do it again. You had mentioned the possibility of a monthly class, and I would certainly enjoy it. I also know that there are others in the office who had hoped to attend last night, but could not for various reasons, so I think there is the potential to attract a wider group of aspiring Yogis. Since this was my first Yoga experience, I cannot provide much feedback on the specifics of the class other than to say that I felt very comfortable as a beginner. While there were certainly poses that I could not do fully, I thoroughly enjoyed the class and feel as though I got a lot out of it.

Final footnote: I was flipping through my Ai Imawa Book today and came across a DL I printed out from 4/21/03, in which you shared with the sangha your coaching exchange with “New Student Allan Ludgate of NYC”…In the intro you wrote, “Allan is going to be a fine Student of WF…perhaps even a Master Student one day…his Awareness is sharp and more importantly, there is a distinct sense of pacing to his insights”.

And here we are.

Head bowed and legs (painfully) crossed…
Student L’Gaté

coach’s note: like all WF Students, fans, and friends, you can converse with L’Gaté in the WF SanghaLounge; open 24 per day! we have the most incredible Tribe! THANK YOU FOR CHOOSING TO BE HERE NOW in WF!

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