Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Yoga Teacher Training, Day 6, Module 3

It's official...well, after some paperwork it will be completely official...but I finally completed my 200-hour certification to become a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) with the Yoga Alliance. I really can't believe I actually did it! Crazy!

Congratulations to all my classmates in training...we did it! Woo hoo!

So today's final class was all about going over what we learned about ourselves throughout this process, what we need to let go of (we each let go by writing it down and burning the paper), and what we are committing to. Dolly also took time with each of us individually to give us her feedback on our teaching yesterday, and to share her final thoughts. As usual, it was profound, emotional, and deeply gratifying. Should anyone contemplating teacher training with Dolly Stavros / Red Stone Yoga, happen across this post, I have two words: DO IT! It's an incredible experience that will forever change your view of yourself, your yoga, and of course, your teaching.

Practice today was 90 minutes, and each of us taught for seven minutes. I am so mad because Dolly taped a segment of my teaching, but for some reason, I haven't been able to pull it off my camera. This is one of the few meaningful videos I've ever shot, and I can't retrieve it! So frustrating. Can watch it on my camera, but wanted to post it as well. But I'm afraid it is not to be. Although I am disappointed about that, I at least had another victory that was caught on film (thanks, Christina!)...my first successful attempt at Flying Splits!!! I apologize for the crotch shot, but am so glad I could see it cause when you're practicing, you never really know if you've nailed or not until you have proof. And here it is:

Christina impressed us with a crazy Locust...she has the perfect yoga body...we're all envious:

Monday, June 25, 2007

Yoga Teacher Training, Day 5, Module 3

AHHHHHHHHH! It's over with, finally!

We had to teach a full 90-minute class to another classmate today. I know my reluctance makes absolutely no sense whatsoever since I'm in yoga teacher training. It's a little silly to think that I wouldn't teach...and to not want to since this is what I signed up for is even more preposterous. So be it.

Truth is (and it's commonly known at this point, I think), I am terrified, really scared about teaching. Not that I don't think I can do it eventually. But I have horrific stage fright and nerves. I am good at sutras, talking, keeping it light, setting the scene...tunes and all that, but when it comes to stringing asanas together, I find it extraordinarily challenging. That's for two reasons:
  1. My frame of reference is Dolly. The Dolly-lama, as we were joking about today in class. She is extraordinary. There is no other way to describe her classes. She brings it all together: the sutra, the asanas, humor, sanskrit, sequencing, music, assists, attention. Anyone who has taken a class with Dolly knows exactly what I'm talking about. So in the back of my mind, I want to recreate this experience, with my own flavor and personality, of course. But she's so mind-bogglingly good, it's frightening. And she makes it look effortless, when in truth, the reason why her classes are so good is because she does put time and herself into each and every one of them. You can feel the love.

  2. My home practice isn't regular enough yet for me to be comfortable with my own sequencing. Sure, I can jump on my mat and rock it. But in the right order, to invoke the right openings? That's another thing entirely. And 90 minutes is a long time to wing it. So I need to commit to a regular home practice. I know the results will be rewarding (more about that in a second).

Overall, I was actually very pleased with my teaching today, and my student gave me good feedback. I do know teaching the kids has helped me quite a bit in this regard...the nerves haven't been as prevalent. Last night, after coming home from class, going for a walk/run with the dog, a martini, dinner, a beer, and a lovely phone conversation with an equally lovely human being, I was inspired. At midnight, I cranked up The Cult (Electric), got on my mat, and started moving and writing. The result was a pleasing sequence, I think. And even though I finished five minutes early, for me, it was a huge victory. I'm thinking, I might be able to seriously do this one day—and enjoy it. That would be so cool. I would really love to be able to report to work in yoga clothes, crank some hot music, and just flow. How cool would that be?

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Yoga Teacher Training, Day 4, Module 3

Today...partner yoga. Lots of fun! View Partner Yoga Photos

We also watched ourselves on video—Dolly taped each of us teaching a 10 minute segment of class yesterday—that was not so fun, but a great learning experience.

No time to write more, as I have procrastinated sequencing the 90-minute class I am supposed to teach tomorrow to this late date. I am completely petrified. Wish me luck...I'm going to need it!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Yoga Teacher Training, Day 3, Module 3

From today...Christina, Melody, and me playing with Scorpion...

Friday, June 22, 2007

Yoga Teacher Training, Day 2, Module 3

Although this morning started off a little nerve wracking for me, overall class was very informative and our practice rocked. So why the rough start?

Silence. And meditation.

I'm trying to get into meditation, but it's proving to be quite a feat. This morning when we walked in the studio door, we observed a period of sacred silence. That was OK. We could still smile a hello to each other, and it didn't feel oppressive. After we all arrived, Dolly rang the tingsha, and we meditated in complete silence for 16 minutes? 20 minutes? I can't remember. It felt like an eternity. Despite the fact that it was morning and I was awake and ready to go, I couldn't quiet my mind for anything. I kept hearing the U2 song I had been listening to on the way in. I was thinking that my knee wasn't quite comfortable. I fidgeted. I thought about sex. Wondered how long we'd been meditating. Was wishing I could just hear that tingsha again already!

Eventually the tingsha did ring, and we discussed the experience. I hate sounding negative, but there was nothing positive for me about it. It's excruciating. I was telling the class that as a Greek, silence is really not possible. There's always noise, always has been noise. Someone is always yelling, complaining, laughing, watching TV, clinking dishes around or gabbing on the phone. We lead a very noisy existence. You'd think I'd appreciate the reprieve, but honestly about the only time I want semi-silence is when I'm writing. Otherwise, the silence is deafening. And maddening. And being still and silent? I've found a new way to torture a Greek.

Moving on.

Practice today was heaven again. I really enjoyed it. We did a mandala (sacred circle) style vinyasa flow, in which we turned to face different sides of the studio (creating a circle) while going through a flow of postures. I especially liked the practice not only because it was a typical sweat-inducing vinyasa class, but because we ran through poses like Warrior II, Side Angle, Triangle, Standing Splits, Half Moon, Pigeon, Sundial, and Wide-Legged Forward Folds...some of my faves. There were lots of nice twists and Chaturanga holds, which are totally my cup of tea. By the time we hit Savasana, I was drenched, whipped, and happy. THAT'S what I'm talking about. Good fun. Dolly has actually incorporated some mandala flow into her classes before, I just never knew that that's what we were doing. And that's the beauty of vinyasa yoga...it is unrestrained, and therefore the sequencing and experiences one can create are endless. It is art as yoga.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Yoga Teacher Training, Day 1, Module 3

Back in class again...really cool to see my yoga friends and Dolly. Today in class we discussed meditation, women's issues like pregnancy and menstruation (and how one's practice is affected by these states), and our greatest challenge as yoga teachers.

Practice was deep stretch for 90 minutes. It was heaven. And since I haven't practiced for a month-and-a-half, it was a great way to ease back in. I did pigeon on both sides for the first time since March, I think, and it felt incredible...knees have held up! Of course, I've iced and Alleved, and hopefully they won't be screaming at me tomorrow. I pray. If not, that's a great sign. But I've decided that I'm going to resume my regular practice with modifications as necessary. Knees, actually, just my left knee, is not as bad as it was, but not getting to 100% despite so much time off. So I'm going to just listen to my body and take it from there. But even if it begins to act up again, I've got to start a serious home practice. As Greg pointed out today, I've got to show up, even for just 15 minutes a day. Imagine if I had been working splits or Pincha Mayurasana or Mountain Climber for just 15 minutes a day for the last month. I'd be a hell of a lot further along than I am now. There's no reason why I can't show up for 15 or 20 minutes. Period.

I have to sit still? For 10 minutes? Oy vey.
So on to the real challenge of the day for me: meditation. We talked a lot about it and I've tried it before, but have never been a big fan. We sat this morning for seven minutes, and that went well for me. We sat again for 10 minutes before finishing up around 5:00pm, and it was a different experience. My back was tired, my legs were tired, and I kept falling asleep. I was more fidgety than in our morning meditation and my thoughts were way more pervasive. What I gathered from this is that if I decided to add this to my list of things to do, it has to be in the morning. In the past when I've meditated at home, it has always been for about 10 minutes in the morning. Honestly, I think that might be enough time for mindfulness for me. It centers me and I wouldn't dread committing to just 10 minutes. I don't know...we'll see how the rest of the week goes.

I know the point of yoga is really to get inside, to get to the meditation, but for a very active person like myself, the sitting is actually torture. Apparently I have a long way to go in this department. But why can't I sit and meditate when I'm old? (OK, I mean really old!) I almost feel too alive to do it now. I can't explain it. I know I'm probably breaking some cardinal school of thought by saying these things, but right now, it just doesn't speak to me. Though I don't think this is a permanent feeling. I could eventually see myself picking it up. But at this point in my life, I feel like a caged tiger that's just been returned to the wild. Not really ready to be still. Not yet.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

I REALLY Miss Yoga

Dude, this sucks. Boy, was that eloquent for an English major or what?

Still on the bench. Still no yoga. But my last module of yoga teacher training hits next week, so I'll get back to it full-on, and I can't wait. Have to modify, of course, but that's cool. I just really need yoga. Before the hedonist in me totally takes over. And I lose my splits!