Tuesday, March 25, 2008


I got up and did my morning meditation and went to Leanne's class after breakfast. She taught a very solid class, which later we got to talk about and I got a chance to give her some feedback about how to keep improving it toward the certification standards that John is outlining and getting more and more strict about.

It is kind of an intense thing, helping people prepare for certification. It is a big switching of gears in the student teacher dynamic in a lot of ways. Up to this point as a teacher one's primary role is more in the execution of asana and being an inspiring cheerleader for the student. As the teacher training/mentoring process advances, as teachers we have to get stricter and more direct about what the certified-teacher-to-be's weaknesses as a teacher are and how to strengthen them and this can be a kind of difficult transition for both parties. (I have, in fact, one friendship/student relationship that did not make it through the process. She pretty much still resents feedback she got along the way. But that is another story.)

That people love the yoga is not in question. That they are good teachers and their students love them is not in question. It is really helping people to find their voice within our form and to be the very best teacher that they can be. Every time I visit some one's class to review it, the student/teacher will always tell me, "Well, that is not how it normally is." And I get that. Chances are you are not going to teach your best class when you are being observed- especially if you are not used to being observed. But the thing is if when we are being reviewed, we are at our most brilliant, then we actually miss the opportunity to have our weaknesses highlighted and so we miss the opportunity to get clarity on how to overcome them. We have to see that the review is not only about "passing the test" it is about "learning how to improve" and so if your weaknesses do not surface, how will you get help on them?

Anyway- Leanne's class was great and she is a good student and good at working with feedback and so these musing are not meant to imply that her class was a train wreck or anything like that. It was not. Not at all. She is a good teacher. These things have just been on my mind lately as I have been reviewing so many classes and videos. And if it helps those of you who are in the process now, Desiree reviewed my class for Anusara Affiliation back in 2001 and it was from that experience that I developed my theory on "Why it is good that you do not teach your best class when being observed."

So- anyway, as a teacher of the method who has the good fortune to both teach public classes where I live and to travel to places to represent the Anusara Yoga Way and to mentor people in both scenarios, I became so aware today of how important it is to live and to teach as true to my understanding of "Our Way" as I can. Really, my ignorances will filter down the chain of the students that I teach as will my clarity. It is a good thing to keep in mind.

We started today with pranayama, mantra and meditation. Then we spent some time reviewing the new standards for Anusara-inspired status and video review. Then we spent some time working with some yoga therapy and the psoas. And then we worked on the Gita. All in all it was a day with lots of info and some good insight amongst the group.

And to top it all off, Leanne cooked another wholesome Ayurvedic meal for dinner. She went back to teach another class leaving me and her hubby, Chris, some time to visit which was great.

And now, it is time for bed.


Leanne said...

I am sure our relationship will make it through this! I was not really on my "game" so to speak but I really love how you said that if that was a bad class then it was a great place to learn from. I so get that. If everything I need work on came out in that class and I get feedback and work on those things I will only get better.
You didn't say I made the same dinner two nights in a row I noticed- you are so kind.
Oh- and I promise to never adjust you in savasana ;>)

mandy said...

Why don't we adjust in Savasana? I can think of a few reasons but you probably know the answer......

Christina Sell said...

It is not that we do not adjust in savasana. We do. In general, if you are going to adjust in savasana it should be while you are still talking and "setting the stage", so to speak. After a certain point, the student should get to just relax, let go, go inward so that they can be with themselves and not be thinking about whether someone is going to come over and touch them. That can actually be a kind of psychic stress.

Also- "adjusting" is one thing- like if someone is way off and their shoulders are turned weird or if you want to help line them up more optimally. That is great. I am in favor of that. That makes for a better savasana.

But the trend in the yoga world toward foot massages, aromatherapy scents being held over someone's face, neck massages and aura cleansing during savasana is just too much for me to endorse.

My opinion is that savasana is a time to be with yourself as a practitioner and not in relationship with someone else. Massages are nice- they really are- and people like them- they really do-- but that does not mean that they are savasana.

My point is there is a skillful way to adjust there are some things that are not adjustments at all but are unnnecssary- and at times distracting- embelishments on what is the most beautiful pose in the whole practice. Think about it- you are a corpse. Not a lot of need for adjusting once the corpse is laid out.

mandy said...

Cool, thanks Christina

Anne-Marie Schultz said...

foot massages?

Christina Sell said...

You would not believe... I think you can imagine my pain...