If you’ve been practicing yoga for a while, you know your stuff. You know when the teacher is setting you up for bridge pose. You know when savasana is coming. You prepare. You predict. You settle in.
Sometimes, it’s hard to forget what it’s like to be a beginner, to be completely led by the teacher, to learn new things and move outside what you are comfortable with.
I was talking with a student after class the other day about what it’s like to come back to class after a few days (or weeks) off from practice. You can absolutely feel the physical challenge of it, but there’s more to it.
When you’ve stepped back, you’re able to come to the mat with a fresh perspective, you may have unlearned a few things. And, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Habits can be great. Habits can also hinder you.
How can you approach your yoga practice as a beginner, as someone who hasn’t picked up the habits of a practice yet?
What will you (re)learn?
learn to unwind in restorative yoga poses
Saturday, February 25th 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Only 8 spots available! Sign up NOW!
What to expect: gentle yoga practice to warm up; resting in restorative yoga poses with support of props; learning breathing and relaxation techniques
Bonus: take-home handout with pose guide and readings!!
What to bring: layered clothing; blankets (2 or more if possible); pillows; eye pillows
anything else you think will help you relax!!
visit Yoga to Go Studio to sign up
or, call 314-894-2700
Lately, I’ve been teaching some classes a bit differently. The class isn’t simply a flow of asanas for an hour. It’s like I’m teaching the postures the way I learned and practiced them during my teacher training.
We move through many poses as a typical class does. And, at some points, we stop and talk about things. I explain what we’re trying to accomplish and feel in a pose that day (as it corresponds with the rest of the class). Then, I let the class explore that pose. I offer instruction to get them to the other side in their own time…free time to play with a pose…
I’m getting positive feedback from these classes! People like the explanations and time to spend on their postures, with themselves.
I think it’s taught me and my students a great lesson: We are each our own best teacher.
When you start pulling upon what you’ve learned on your journey to date and can apply that to your current practice, you’ve made a great progression. You’re becoming a teacher!
I want to approach my teaching as if I’m teaching other teachers. We are, after all, the only teacher we will consistently have over this lifetime, and the only one truly invested in our learning and growth.
I meant to share this before the New Year, but alas I’m a bit late…
In my classes last week, I tried to stress the idea of not only focusing on adding things to your life in the New Year. We tend to bombard ourselves with to-dos and goals each January, and I encouraged my students to approach this new start in a different way.
Instead of striving to do more, think about what you can leave behind. What can you do less of?
This notion can be applied to a yoga practice or real life.
In life and yoga, I know I can do without the complaining. What do I have to complain about, really?! Nothing…that’s what!
So, what are you going to leave in 2011?
For nearly a year, I drove from my parents’ suburban home into the city every Saturday to attend Global Yoga Center‘s 200-Hour Yoga Teacher Training. For five hours, I was surrounded by people who were on a similar path to me. We shared a passion for yoga. Though some didn’t set out to become teachers, it was more about deepening their own practice, we all taught each other how yoga manifests in individuals. I miss this time of my life dearly. It was a transformative experience that I will never forget.
In particular, I miss…
…dedicating 5 hours a week to my practice
…being exposed to different styles and teachers
…the yoga space we used for our training (Namaskar Yoga)
…listening to “This American Life” while I drove into the city
…my yoga friends, who I wish I kept in better touch with
…approaching life as a student
…learning alignment of asana and practicing it
…studying yogic texts and writing about them
As I write this list, I realize that, with the exception of a few things, I can recreate this training for myself with a bit of time and determination. I can dedicate more time to my personal practice, try new teachers and styles, experience life as an opportunity to learn (THIS article is inspiration for that) and read more about the path of yoga.
Have you attended a teacher training or workshop that you would like to return to?
What are your favorite things about practice and what are your goals in your yoga practice?
Here are a couple blog posts I’ve enjoyed lately:
How to Get Your Yoga Groove Back by Y is for Yogini
Go On, Have A Laugh by Beeyond Yoga
The following is a gentle, basic yoga practice perfect for any time of day. Please consult your doctor before beginning any fitness routine and honor yourself: if you find yourself in pain, gently come out of the pose. Namaste.