To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
So I’m done yet another day of Yoga Teacher Training! This is day one of this weekend, and then there’s only one more weekend of the course before our final evaluation weekend – eeek! It’s going by so fast!
Today was a long day – since class has been extended an extra hour and shortened lunch and breaks due to trying to make up a cancelled class due to snow a few weeks ago.
Today we started with our Sadhana practice as normal (the way we start every in-class teacher training) doing the pranayama practice, and then one of the teachers led us through a half hour asana class.
Then we work shopped a couple more of the ‘advanced’ postures – shoulder stand, plow and fish. I could do fish, but I’ve never been able to do shoulderstand before when I’ve tried in the past (i couldn’t get my pelvis up in the air to grab hold of it with my hands to support my back) – so I had originally not bothered to try, and instead was going to practice legs up with wall with another student who also coulnd’t do shoulderstand (which I did for a bit – along with using the wall to help me into a supported shoulder stand, keeping my feet on the wall), and then I thought i’d give it another try and…miraculously, somehow, I did it! I’m so proud of myself! I didn’t attempt plow though (mainly because my low back is kind of niggling me the last few days and I didn’t want to aggravate it) – I didn’t want to rush things. But then I did fish again (which I find slightly uncomfortable – mainly in the throat. I tried to breathe into it though.
And then we partnerned up and taught those poses to each other – the girl I taught can do shoulderstand, plow and fish with ease because she is super flexible and athletic so she can do all the poses with ease. And then she guided me through shoulderstand again (which I struggled getting into the second time around but got there eventually!), and then fish.
After that we broke for lunch – where I frantically ate food and then rushed out to top up my bus pass and grab a Starbucks. And when we came back, from 1pm until about 4:20 we did yoga. 3 hours of yoga! the 16 students in the class randomly chose a slip of paper on which was written 3 poses, that we had to go up to the front of the class and teach to everyone else – and get feedback on from the teachers.
I ended up chosing paper #1, so I was the very first to go up to the front of the class and teach – and because of that, I got three relatively easy poses – siddhasana – a seated cross legged pose, a lateral side stretch and then crossed legs twist. We each had 7 minutes to teach our 3 poses. Even though I forgot to give the contraindications of my twist, I think I did really well – and I felt really confident and not nervous AT ALL, in the slightest! which was nice (and which i found quite bizarre!) .And I got good feedback from the teachers- they said my confidence really came across and I had good projection. One of the teachers sitting at the back of the class said she could hear me. And then I asked one of the students at the very back of the class if they could hear me, and they said they could -and that’s when the evaluating teachers said that I lit up and became less serious with a smile there when I was asking whether the students at the back could hear me – and that I needed to bring that into what i’d done – though the teachers gave that feed back to pretty much most of us after I finished – that we all seemed to lighten up and soften once we’d done our teaching, and became more natural and more of our personality shone through. So it’s just something to remember when we teach – and to remember for our final practicum – to lighten up and smile and remind others to smile and not be so serious – though they (the teachers) do understand we’re still learning and trying to get across the mechanics of the poses and everything and there’s a lot to think about. Overall I thought I did really well and I reall surprised myself at how at ease I felt sitting at the front of the class in the ‘seat of the teacher’ and I think it came across to the program teachers!
And then everyone else took turns to teach their three poses. We all learned a LOT – and the teachers reminded all of us to take time to cue properly (building poses from the ground up, good foundation) and also making sure to take time to demonstrate ‘complicated’ poses like Downward Facing Dog (which one student rushed through) and to be careful with our words and be clear and concise so as not to confuse people. Another reminder was to offer contraindications BEFORE bringing people into the pose (which is common sense!) – and also to remember to offer modifications. Another reminder was to move around the room when people changed directions on their mats (like facing the sides of their mats, or facing the backs – for the teacher to move and keep eye contact so that could see when people were strugglig by their faces – which you can’t do well if you stay at the front of the class!).
I asked the teachers if we could get a copy of the sequence and they said definitely. It was a really complete sequence – with lots of Tadasana’s and forward folds!
After that we had a really brief tea break, and then when we came back we learned some more history and philosophy of yoga – and got a whole bunch of hand outs about the Yoa Sutras, about the different historical periods of yoga, about meditation and the mind, about Sanskrit and how to pronounce the letters and also how to write them.
One of the things I wrote down was about Donna Eden – the mother of energy medicine and the teacher mentionedthere’s a daily energy routine on YouTube, since I’m interested in the power of energy and enery healing.
And we ended the class with chanting some mantras (Gayatri and the Food Prayer and a few others) and then did some Kirtan – which is signing – as with hymns. According to Wikipedia, Kirtan is: Kirtan (Sanskrit: कीर्तन; IAST: Kīrtana; meaning “narrating, reciting, telling, describing” of an idea or story). It also refers to a genre of religious performance arts, connoting a musical form of narration or shared recitation, particularly of spiritual or religious ideas.
So with the help of a harmonium or pump organ that the teacher played while we sung (following along with words written down for us thankfully!) the chants/songs.
And tomorrow we’re possibly doing more teaching practice? (though hopefully not 3 hours worth!). But we’re definitely going to be doing some more anatomy – and going over what will be on the anatomy final exam which is the next time we have class – in 2 weeks! eek!