Thursday, November 21, 2013

Yoga Teacher Training: Week 11


As we near the end of our training, it's time to learn about the business of yoga. On Tuesday we talked about the difference between community and industry, what makes a good yoga teacher and whether to get liability insurance. What most appeals to me is to be part of a community rather than a money-motivated business. Of course, you have to make a living, but when your energy is tied up in solely making money, you aren't really serving others. The intention shouldn't be to become a local celebrity or get rich. A parallel I see in yoga teaching and being a journalist is the desire to help others. If I can help just one person feel better after a class then I will be content.


Saturday was a blur. We started our session with our last naturopathic medicine lecture. We talked about finding natural skin and hair-care products that don’t use dangerous chemicals. We also talked about natural remedies for common ailments, reducing our use of plastic, being aware of where and how our products and food are made, and so much more. The takeaway:  become a more knowledgeable consumer.

We then took part in a backbend and heart-opener workshop. Heart openers are so important to me  right now because I so often have tight shoulders and slump forward. Literally opening the heart can energetically open it and give me more confidence. And confidence has been my intention in every yoga class lately and throughout this training program. Earlier that week I did some reading about the benefits of backbends and heart openers and came across this helpful info on the Yoga 411 blog: "When you come into a heart opener the focus should be the front part of the body. Instead of bending the back, open the heart center. Instead of dropping the head back, focus on a long neck. Allow the front part of the hips and thighs to find length and a bit of stretch."
After the workshop we got hands-on practice in adjusting each other. The gate pose adjustment had my obliques sore for days.  The other adjustments felt heavenly, especially savasana. And while it was a little intimidating to adjust my teacher, who better to give me feedback on my hand pressure and movements?


I can’t think of a more blissful way to start our day than a massage-therapy session in which we adjusted each other in savasana and had adjustments done on us by the therapist, all using fragrant oils. I didn’t want it to end. We also massaged each other and did some partner poses, like Warrior B while holding each other’s forearms. Following that was a workshop on yogic breathing. We practiced the three-part breath that's good for centering, ujjayi breathing, Skull Shining Breath, Nadi Shodhana (Alternate Nostile Breathing) and Sitali breath. Then it was show time. The final two hours were dedicated to two 45-minutes yoga classes taught in groups of three or four. I was assigned the cool down/savasana portion of class, which I had yet to do. I had planned to do 15 minutes of class but then a fourth member was added to our team, so it was trimmed to 11. I went over my allotted time by a lot. It was a valuable lesson in being mindful of time. What I perceived to be three minutes of time after I was given a heads-up was actually eight. Yikes! Our teacher exclaimed how impressed she was with all of us, and I felt better about how I did, even though I did forget to walk around the room more and I didn’t adjust anyone in Pigeon on the right side. I also tried to change a song and instead shut the entire sound off, so a team member came over to fix it while I kept teaching. Even after trimming parts of my sequence down the time was over, so I’ll have to work on that a lot more between now and Nov. 30. Finding my voice has been a slow process.