I'm exhausted! Exhilarated, but tired. My knees are starting to feel the strain of sitting on the floor all day long. I'm not a pill-popper by nature, but just to make sure I'm ready for the next day's practice, I am taking an Aleve at night to minimize any inflammation. It would kill me if I had to sit out of our two-hour practices, so better to err on the side of caution. Enough bellyaching!
We continued watching the Anatomy for Yoga DVD, which, as Dolly said, should be required for all teachers. It's kind of scary to think that it's not, because it gives you critical information about the structure and movement of the body's key joints, and how greatly these movements vary from body to body.
Our Practice Today
After covering the Sun Salutations for Power Vinyasa in our manual, we rolled out our mats and got to work. Dolly had all of us cue breathing and movement for our classmates while moving through Sun Salutations A and B ourselves. Although I stumbled a bit through my instruction, mostly because I could hardly breathe, think, move, and talk at the same time, I still felt more comfortable teaching them since I've heard them and done them so many times in Dolly's classes. Although I imagine that a class that endlessly repeats Sun Salutations would be boring, the set pattern is kind of nice to fall back on. It's certainly easier that sequencing on the fly. But I'm pretty sure that with time, the creative sequencing I've experienced in the classes I've taken will be far more interesting to me as a teacher. I know as a student, I crave creativity, switching it up, and never knowing what we're going to do that day. That's what keeps me coming back for more.
The Blindfolds are Back!
After our teaching practice, Dolly had us all put on blindfolds and in silence, at our own pace, move through the Sun Salutations ourselves for 15 minutes. It was a great exercise! It almost felt like a dance, and knowing no one else could see you, and that you couldn't watch yourself in the mirror was very liberating. Moving through without sight—especially when jumping from Downward-Facing Dog to the front of your mat—forces you to trust yourself, to really feel the postures instead of thinking your way through them. I think with a class of regular, intermediate students, this would be a valuable exercise to help them better grasp the connection between breath and movement.
After rounding out the rest of our practice, we took Savasana, and Dolly again treated us with her extra-special touch...she totally makes it feel like the icing on the cake. After relaxing well into Corpse Pose, she placed a cold, damp washcloth infused with a little lavender and eucalyptus over our closed eyes. Like yesterday's cold stone on the third eye, it cools you down and seems to push you further into relaxation.
I awoke to Dolly chanting—I've never heard her chant before, so it was really a treat. I've heard what she was chanting on one of my yoga CDs, so even though I don't know the words, the chant was familiar and she was awesome at it. I really admire the courage it takes to chant, because I know I don't have it. The closest I think I might ever get is half-singing Madonna's Shanti/Ashtangi, which I loved long before I ever loved yoga, ironically. But the beautiful thing about being a yoga teacher is you get to decide what yogic conventions to incorporate and to what degree. Expressing yoga according to your authentic personality is largely what makes or breaks a teacher's success. It seems to me that there is still room for innovative and interesting teachers even though yoga is now everywhere. I absolutely adore Dolly and her classes enlighten and challenge me, and the conventions she employs are so authentic to her that I feel right at home being in her classes, even though I don't think my personality will manifest itself in the same way. But that is what I really love about yoga—it pushes me to my limits, asks me to explore new ideas, and forces me to reevaluate who I really am. Who needs a shrink when you've got yoga?!
PS: Got back from class and The Y Catalog was in my mailbox. It's pretty cool, and the range of products is good. Just something to check out.