Celebrating the Kula – A report of the Austrian Kula Gathering
By Letizzia Wastavino
Certified Anusara® Yoga Teacher
Last October 12th, the Austrian Kula celebrated our second gathering. It was a whole day dedicated to our students and to our teachers. Anusara has been growing quite rapidly here in Austria since I moved here 6 years ago.
Let me introduce myself. I am Letizzia Wastavino. I have been actively involved in developing our school as Anusara School of Hatha Yoga’s Country Coordinator for Austria, and since 2016 I have been a member of the Board of Directors. I am a Chilean living in Klosterneuburg, just 10 km north of Vienna. I moved here after spending years in the USA and in Canada, where I fell in love with Anusara and completed my trainings. I came to Austria as an Anusara Inspired teacher and I was welcomed with open arms by the small but sweet Austrian Kula. In a couple of weeks after my arrival I was already teaching in the Anusara affiliated studios in Vienna. At that time, there was no Certified Teacher here in Austria, but there were at least 7 Inspired Teachers.
Now we are 5 Certified Teachers, 6 Inspired Teachers and 13 Elements Teachers. There are teacher trainings being offered both by our own Austrian teachers as well as German teachers, so we can only expect those numbers to keep increasing.
Last year following the “I Am Anusara” events, we celebrated our first Anusara Kula gathering at Yogazentrum, the studio own by Certified Anusara teacher Birgit Pöltl. Our gathering was received with much success, as we all felt the vibration of being connected to the same heart and the same passion. It felt like a friends’ reunion, or like a family meeting, because even though we do not live too far away from each other, we do not get to meet each other very often. So right then we decided to keep the vibration rolling. I asked who would like to help me to host the second gathering. The positive response was how we got to gather this year in Linz, at the beautiful Anusara studio owned by Anja Hackl, our first Austrian Certified Anusara teacher.
Anja did such a great job! She hosted the teachers and the students who came from many different parts of Austria. There were students from Linz, Salzburg, Tirol and even from the neighboring Passau in Germany. There were 6 volunteer teachers, so we thought the best idea was to pair up and co-teach 3 classes. In my opinion, this was a beautiful way to grow as teachers. Two classes were paired between Certified and Elements teachers, and all four of those teachers learned a great deal. First of all, the Certified teachers learned how to work together, and how to mentor or guide the Elements teachers into finding their own unique voice. Secondly, the Elements teachers learned “to refine the language” as Sarah Herzog, Anusara Elements teacher from Graz, explained, “They all realized that although everyone teaches the same Anusara Style, there are big differences in teaching and language expression”.
Manfred Steinmayr, an Anusara Elements teacher from Dietach shared, “It is good that differences and varieties can also exist”.
Anja and Manfred co-taught a beautiful class dedicated to the Beginner’s Mind, in which through standing and twisting poses we could connect and find the stability needed to keep learning and growing.
Then we had a lunch break, and some of the teachers got to introduce themselves. I got to answer a few questions about the Elements/Inspired and Certification process, as well as share information about the functioning of our school.
Then Sarah and I co-taught a class inviting us all to “Open to the Teacher Inside”. Finally, we concluded with an inspiring Pranayama, Meditation and Philosophy class taught by two Certified Anusara Teachers, Eva Ananya and Carsten Scholian, placing the “cherry on the top” of a wonderful day.
Our first objective was to meet and get together as a Kula. Meeting face to face after such a long time of talking by email or phone was a very enriching experience. At the conclusion of our gathering, we left feeling more connected. We are already working on next year’s gathering. We created ways to keep working together, supporting each other, and we are working on our own Anusara Austrian website.
We shared our projects, our ideas as well as our questions and worries. There was an agreement among us on the need to work on our school marketing plans, because we all feel that our students come to our classes or teacher trainings because of the teachers and not because of the name Anusara. We experienced that too in our gathering, since the majority of the students came because they knew Anja and not because of Anusara.
Nevertheless we keep working to spread our method and the beautiful world of Anusara with its magical, life-affirming philosophy that helps to give meaning and purpose to our lives and to our world – a world that gets more complicated with each passing day. We keep growing our vibrating kula, and we keep sharing Anusara’s exquisite knowledge of anatomy and biomechanics. We keep sharing what we love and teaching Anusara from our hearts to everyone who wants to experience it.