Friday, April 27, 2007

Yoga Teacher Training, Day 2, Module 2

I have to admit that every day that I show up to teacher training and am told I'm going to have to teach, I silently wish I was anywhere else in the world but in that classroom. Not because I don't love what I get from the class and from Dolly—the classes and her teachings, guidance, examples, and ideas are phenomenal. My yoga practice is forever changed (for the better, I hope) as a result of this experience. But teaching yoga is tough for me. It really is. I have to not only get over my fear of public speaking, I have to think on my feet, sequence the class in a way that accommodates and prevents injury; I have to inspire, challenge, and relax my students; cue breath, postures, and movements; be able to demo what I am teaching; watch the timing of each segment of the class; and find music that goes with the flow of the practice. It's the ultimate multi-tasking endeavor, and I thought I was the ultimate multi-tasker! 'Til yoga, that is.

But then something wonderful happens.

Because I've paid to learn this stuff, I have to stay there and get through it. And somehow I do. And then I feel an amazing sense of accomplishment, not necessarily because I aced the exam, so-to-speak, but because I completed the exam without tears, without seizing up, without complete failure. And that feels really good! Today I taught my first 60-minute class to my class partner Kelly, and although my sequence was a bit short, I got through it with no nerves, no major screw-ups, and some pretty positive feedback. Plus, Kelly is about three-to-four months pregnant, so getting the sequencing right for her situation was even more important...there's a baby in there counting on Kelly and me for a smooth, safe practice!

Day 2 Highlights
Quick highlights because even though the time stamp on this blog is early, by the time I've cooked, written, unloaded the dishwasher, written, and did ten other things while writing, it's now 10:40pm, and I've got to get to bed.
  • Pranayama (breathing) exercises—We went through several today, but my very favorite new breathing exercise is Bumblebee Breath (Bhramari). The beauty of this exercise is the wonderful vibrations it creates when you have a big group doing it. It has the same effect as an OM, yet is less intimidating. Basically, you inhale, then while exhaling, you hum. In our practice today, we did Bhramari with a class of about 20-25 people. The sound was amazing! Then at the end of the day, we sat back-to-back with our class partner and did it again, this time feeling the vibration and connection to our partners through our backs as well. Such a cool sound and feeling. I can't wait to introduce this in my own future classes.
  • In-depth assists—There are many of us in class who are afraid of assists, afraid to put our hands on people, whether it's because we don't want to hurt anyone, don't know what to do, or just don't want to touch anyone. Dolly showed us assists for many popular asanas, and we practiced each one with our partner. It helped me immeasurably. I'm really beginning to feel my fear of being in close proximity to strange bodies starting to melt away. I feel sorry for the people who assist me in practice, however. I'm such a profuse sweater...there's just nothing I can do about it. When I'm in a room that's 85 degrees, and I'm doing my seventh vinyasa with Chaturanga, and my heart is pumping, I just drip sweat. Poor Dolly comes by to assist or deepen a stretch, and I'm slicked down like a greased pig! But I digress...
  • Christina's Yama/Niyama paper—We had to write a one-page paper about the yama and niyama that is most prevalent in our lives now. Christina wrote about how years ago, she studied yoga and really wanted to teach, so she auditioned for a teaching position, and the studio owner she auditioned for told her she should consider doing something else! After that, Christina said she quit practicing yoga for two years, and hated the thought of it. Who could blame her? Eventually, she forced herself back into a class, fear, hatred, and all, and started practicing again, and is now teaching and working on her certification. I was just stunned by her paper, by the resolve it takes to be shot down while pursuing your dream, then find the strength to believe in yourself enough to keep trying. To see Christina practice...I don't know how on earth anyone could have told her she shouldn't teach because she has a beautiful practice and a lot of grace. I know nothing about Christina, outside of what she has shared in class, but I do know this: She is my hero. What she's overcome takes a hell of a lot of courage. Bravery of the big, brass kind. Good for her!

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