Tias Little Workshop The Middle Way Recap

I took a workshop with Tias Little when he came to town at 8 Limbs Yoga a few weeks ago. I wanted to see him because he has a wealth of knowledge in Anatomy, he understands both the Chinese meridian system and the Indian nadi system, and he’s a scholar, having done his masters in Eastern Philosophy.

Compared to a workshop I took from him two years ago, this time around there was equal amount of time devoted to physical work in the asana and  amount of time for dharma talks and meditation. Even when we were moving, there were times when the movements were more subtle, in the sense that we were not pushing or exerting a great amount of effort. I could tell that the exercises that we were doing were influenced by his studies in cranial-sacral, rolfing, and somatics.

The theme of the workshop was The Middle Way, and Tias kept going back to that point. He talked at lengths about certain Buddhist concepts, such as Impermanence and Acknowledging the Current Moment. He admitted that he spent too much time training only in the physical aspect of yoga. “I used to believe that ‘Practice and all is coming. I don’t anymore.” (I have to say I differ with Tias slightly here, because “practice” can also mean the whole path, but I understood what he meant.)

Tias drove the point home that it’s not always rainbows and unicorns. That’s not how life goes. “You have to live in the world, this world,” he’d say, and knock on the hard-wood floor we were all sitting on. I really appreciated that he said that to a large audience. I get super uncomfortable around the “yoga speak”, you know the one, when yoga teachers start to sound like they’ve left planet Earth and talks about nothing but joy and more joy and ecstatic bliss.

Don’t get me wrong, that kind of flowery language has its place, but I think it does a disservice because it makes people think that if you do yoga, you can’t be angry, you can’t be sad, you can’t have any negative emotion, which of course, could not be further from the truth. But if I say that, I would probably not be taken as seriously as if Tias said it. He just has way more clout than I do.

I took away some practical tools from Tias to bring some symmetry to the body, too, which I have already incorporated in my own practice. If you’re thinking about doing a workshop or training with him, I’d say go for it.

This path is not just about the mat, that’s not much of a path. – Tias Little