Let’s get a few things out of the way first. Get the whining over so then we can pay attention to some of the more important things. First on the list, hamstrings. My day was ruled by my hamstrings. My down dogs looked like someone hamstrug a stray mut. Second on the list of whines: shoulders. Hello pain! Too many torpedoing chaturangas will inflame the shoulder joints and cause numbness of the entire area. Anyways, important lesson learned on form and safety here. Lesson 1: don’t ever, EVER, stress your hamstrings. Seriously. Unless you’re super open, keep those knees bent! No forward bend or perfect V in down dog is worth the agony of the day after. Lesson 2: core strength, keeping the chest up and open, and the gaze forward in the transitions from chaturanga to up dog is very, very important. I had no idea how important it was until I did 90. In a row. It’s seriously important.
Thanks for bearing with me, now let’s get down to business.
Day Two brought a lot of interesting moments. I started off the day in a bit of a snark when I realized I had no idea what today was going to bring. Students at PPY are deliberately kept in the dark as to the lessons plan. T & P’s philosophy is that the past is past, the future is illusion, and all we have is the present moment. So to plan, stress, worry, and think about the future is a waste of the present moment and energy. Which I get, but it must make lesson planning awful hard. A line’s gotta be drawn somewhere, right? Otherwise there would be no teacher training. Anyways, I digress into snarkitude and that’s not very yogic.
We were greeted at the studio by J who was with us the entire day. J opened the practice with a seated meditation, that, on reflection, I think went really well. I was able to focus my mind, let my body relax, and just watch my thoughts appear and then float away like balloons. The mantra of “I inhale, I exhale” made things easier. I’m starting to see why meditation is so important, not just to teacher training, but to an emotionally healthy life. It’s also easy to see why it’s so damn hard. I like to be busy. I like having my mind engaged, actively, in some task. Even when I’m seeking “me time,” the most relaxing thing I can think of doing is either reading (engaged mind and entertainment) or watching a movie and knitting (engaged mind, hands and entertainment). Now I know all the knitters out there will argue that knitting IS meditation, and I’m not about to disagree. But there’s a big difference between sitting quietly, doing nothing with your body, than there is in being active and engaged.
I found this morning’s meditation to be such a release. Humorous, because that was the word I picked for my introduction on Day 1. It was nice to just sit, be silent, and not think. Or at least, not actively engage in my thoughts. J says that there’s no escaping yourself in meditation. All kinds of thoughts and emotions bubble up during meditation. Sometimes you have to confront what you least like about yourself. Yet meditation gives you a chance to recognize those issues and solve them yourself. That sounds so empowering to me. A little scary, a lot overwhelming, but also very powerful. I want to take more responsibility for my emotions and I think implementing a daily meditation practice will help with that … and will help with a lot of other things related to the “releasing” I want to work on.
Anyways, we meditated for 12 minutes! I felt like it flew by, which I’m hoping means I was doing something right. 🙂
The rest of the morning was working with the pose book, breaking down the Sun B’s, crescent lunge, twists, tripod and dekasana (airplane). J gave us a VERY passionate lecture about tripod and tripod headstand. Safety is a huge concern in this pose as doing it incorrectly can lead to severe neck injury. I am so scared of this pose. I have never tried it in any class. Already timid of yoga poses that involve my head, neck and balancing, this one throws everything I am fearful of into one pose. I struggle to think how I will teach it if I can’t overcome my own fear. This will become a new challenge/goal for this teacher training. Get over my fear of headstand, and, maybe, get up into it. It’s the only way I can think to teach it.
After breaking down the poses, we broke into two groups and each group was taught by a student who guided them through three As and three Bs. After three teachers we would gather as a group and give feedback. The most common feedback was to be confident, even if you messed up. Be calm and remember to breathe when the students breathed as well. Short, succinct directions are always good, and a good, strong, dynamic voice was appreciated.
I didn’t get a chance to teach today. We ran out of time and I guess I was in the last group. After such a horrible first experience, I was really looking forward to getting another shot, but it wasn’t in the cards. It’s equal parts thrilling and crushing to wait for your name, knowing you’re about to do something totally new and way outside your comfort zone, and then not hearing it called. By turn I was so relieved and disappointed.
Post-dinner the teaching and practice got very sloppy. Everyone was worn out and exhausted and J called us on it. We got the “Suck it up and Deal” talk and things went better from then on. Yoga teachers teach to people who come to the class for very specific reasons. We have no idea what those reasons are or what they have gone through to get to that class, but as teachers we have to respect that and give 100% of ourselves to that class.
After class wound down at 8, I chatted with a couple students. Made tentative plans to meet in the next few weeks to practice teaching together. I hope it works out! I’d really like to practice my cues.
Definitely bedtime here. A few phone calls to make to check in with people and then it’s me, my hamstrings and some heat pads.