You can tell that I have been busy since it has been 3 weeks since my past training weekend and I finally was able to blog now. June has been crazy. I signed up for this fun summer challenge, 30 yoga classes at the studio in 40 days. I was drawn to do it since I wanted to dive deeper into my own personal practice. Training has lessened the focus on my own practice since I had been spending time on reading, homework, typing notes, creating sequences and attending workshops. So June was a great month to take a mini break (mid-year and halfway through training) and pull myself back into my own practice. I was attending on average two classes per day at the studio. It felt great to get back into it. Of course my mind was distracted during the vinyasa classes to notice transitions and poses that the teachers cued so I could remember them for later. The only classes I could really zone out were restorative yin yoga.
The training weekend was a mixed bag. We reviewed the business side of yoga. What to charge students for private yoga sessions, waivers, insurance, etc. Basically how we would become independent yoga contractors after we receive our 200-hour certificate. Of course we reviewed a set of postures as well. We even covered at a high-level how to teach a restorative yin practice. That is always my favorite since it helps the body to release the fascia which is a very over-looked area. Someone could say they have tight muscles but really it is the fascia, a spiderweb structure covering the muscles, that needs to be released. It can only be released by taking a certain posture, going into it until you get some tension and then allowing time to release it. Normally you hold the pose between 90 seconds and 5 minutes, depending on what you need. I intend to take the restorative training so I am able to teach this type of yoga. I will also be doing my own research on the connective tissues since I am fascinated by them. Last, but certainty not least, we had a yoga philosophy lesson. If you get really into yoga, you realize quickly it is not an exercise. It is a way to live. We reviewed the following = Gunas , Koshas , Ayurveda and Bandhas. I definitely also have these on a list to review more so I might have blog posts dedicated to yoga philosophy topics when I have a little more free time available. Immediately after the last training weekend I said “Things are getting serious now!” We picked groups for our 60 minute class, we have our written test in September and we are already thinking about final homework assignments including our thesis. It is only going to get busier from here on out.
During the past week I decided to take my initial 15 minute sequence I turned in for homework and write another one. Basically practice creating sequences. I wanted to make sure I could write out a couple sequences which worked before I finished my 60 minute sequence. It turned out to be a great lesson. If anyone is in teacher training currently, I would encourage playing around with writing various flows and seeing if they work. You will find that the amount of prep work to get a sequence is HUGE right now but in time it will come more naturally and less prep will be needed. I had to realize that I was still very much a beginner and new to this so my prep time is still big and I will have many many failed attempts before getting it right. I am practicing whenever possible, even if I am not feeling comfortable or ready yet.
Here is what I learned…
- Keep it simple = I know a teacher told me this but I had to live it before I understood. I first wrote out a slightly complicated sequence which I LOVED for my personal practice. I felt it flowed well and I was really proud of it. However, I was not able to teach it! As soon as I had a person in front of me, the flow was choppy and I could not remember the next cue easily. The difference is that when you are alone and practicing, you are only focused on the next posture. When you have a person in front of you, you have to focus on multiple things at once = what is the next posture, is their alignment correct, your body needs to mirror them, and your cues need to be said in the proper formula. The hard lesson was that my flows needed to use the basic postures only. I need to first master teaching those before getting fancy.
- Write out all cues ahead of time = I did not do this before but now I realize I have to, I am not ready to just have the cues pop in my head. When I am writing out my sequence, I write out exactly everything I would need to say. Inhale/Exhale, Pose Name and then multiple cues working from the placement of feet to hands. So a 15 minute sequence typed up is around 5 pages. I even included all setup cues as well. I found this to be really helpful. In practice and with time, I will not need the papers near me to teach. Right now I have about 1 or 2 cues which pop in my head but otherwise I need the paper still for more refinement cues. It was good practice to type them out and since I put so much time to prep my cues, they were better and utilized a wider action verb variety.
- Timing can only be tested out with another person = Even though my sequence was 15 minutes long with me doing it alone, when I was teaching it to someone else, it was MUCH longer. I think the only way I can really time out a sequence right now until I start to notice patterns of how long something takes, is to practice with another person and time it. Which means that I will do my best to put together and practice my 60 minutes alone but then to really time it, I will need to teach it to someone else.
So still a ton of prep to get anything accomplished but I am seeing progress. I am proud of myself for not giving up even though it is WAY harder than I thought. I am also glad that I have been keeping up with the reading and homework assignments. I would be in a much worse place if I left anything for later. Things are only going to get busier from here on out.