Sunday, January 28, 2007

Yoga Teacher Training, Day 4, Module 1

Today we worked on Standing Postures...my favorite! As such, I volunteered to demo postures so Dolly could show us assists and modifications. It's funny—I was really dragging physically today. Despite being tired, I felt the need to volunteer as much as possible for a few reasons:

  1. To face my dislike of certain postures (Revolved Triangle) and learn techniques for improvement.
  2. To test the quality of my Standing Postures—I like many of them, because I really like twists, and my body seems to have a decent degree of twistiness (er, rotation!). By being the demo, I can hear first-hand from Dolly what I can improve and how I can deepen the posture.
  3. To face my fear of being the center of attention at the front of a room of people. Demonstrating crazy physical postures is probably the third most frightening thing I could do in front of an audience...the first being singing (since I can't sing a lick—more about that in a minute), the second being speaking.

It was a fantastic experience, demonstrating for the class. The more I put myself in the spotlight that way, the more I'm able to get over myself. I'm a pretty serious person—I'm not the type to make screwy faces for the camera or do anything to intentionally make myself look stupid, even for a second. It's just not my nature. So this is kind of the next best way for me to divorce myself from my ego and my vanity for a bit, to put myself out there (and feel OK after too!).

I was really feeling the need to be out of my comfort zone today (could this be akin to self-flagellation?), because the very thing I blogged about yesterday came to fruition today. Dolly handed out cards with different chants on them for us to practice with as a group. The Shanti/Ashtangi chant was on there, and I volunteered to chant it Madonna style! AM I OUT OF MY MIND? Sing/chant with no accompaniment whatsoever? I hardly recognize myself. Madonna bloody made me do it, because I have always loved that song! Actually, my fellow classmate Greg also inspired me to do it—he told us about how he and his buds would do what they called "Kamikaze Karaoke," (see below) and that if you can make it through that, you can make it through anything. Those poor people had to listen to me, a miserable singer, chant the first stanza:

Vunde gurunam caranaravinde
Sandarsita svatma sukhavabodhe
Nihsreyase jangalikayamane
Sansara halahala moha santyai
Hala hala

They were kind enough to say it wasn't so bad, which was cool. Regardless, again, I just have to keep putting myself out there. The sooner I stop taking myself so seriously, the sooner my nervous reaction to public speaking will dissipate.

Our Practice Today
Since we studied Standing Postures, our practice focused on these postures. We did lots of Side Angles, Revolved Side Angles, binds, Birds of Paradise, Standing Splits, Crescent Lunges, Prayer Twists, and more. It was good fun! We also did a great exercise where you practice Standing Splits against a wall, using the wall as an assist to deepen the split—I'll definitely be trying that one at home to work on developing full splits. Savasana was Legs Up the Wall, yet another posture I've never experienced. It was a very physically demanding practice, as usual, but God, just so rewarding. I love being challenged like that.

An Ancient Greek Yogi
Sidenote here. While at the studio yesterday I picked up an old issue of Yoga Journal and flipped through. My eye caught a page about the Mediterranean Diet, so I scanned the article quickly. Turns out that around 600 BCE, there was a well-known ashram in Southern Europe that people flocked to, founded by none other than Pythagoras, yes, of the Pythagorean Theorem (I obviously did not inherit THAT gene from my people—I'm numbers-challenged). Anyway, it really tripped my trigger to know that the ancient Greeks, especially Pythagoras, who was so revered, were enlightened in so many ways beyond their well-known mathematical and philosophical contributions.

What in the Hell is Kamikaze Karaoke?
According to Greg, he and his friends would hit a karaoke bar, and the guys would pick a song for someone in the group to sing. So the singer had absolutely no idea what he'd be singing until he got on stage! The only rule was that the song choice had to provide the singer with some potential for success. How fun must that have been? I bet they had an absolute blast!

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