The great thing about frustration is that it can motivate you to clarify and improve. Like Imentioned in the previous post I was a bit frustrated- not by the students but by my answer that I felt fell a bit short of great and useful. So the frustration spurred me to get very clear at explaining the components of teaching Anusara Yoga and applying those components to different levels and populations and then demonstrating experientially what I meant.
Manouso Manos, a Senior Iyengar Teacher (they really do have a Senior Teacher designation, unlike Anusara Yoga who has only "Self-proclaimed Senior Teachers" but many of you know this rant already and if you do not know it, it isn't pretty, let me tell you...) once told the group that he and a handful of his peers once asked Mr. Iyengar to teach them as though they were beginners. BKS evidently replied that that was impossible, he could only teach them as they were- he teaches to what is in front of him. He then told the teachers to go out into the street and get him some raw beginners. Then he taught those people right off the street to demonstrate exactly how he would teach Iyengar Yoga to a raw beginner. (And of course, he hit it out of the park.)
So trying to tell and show experienced students how I would teach beginners without beginners there is a bit false but I think it went really well in general. But now I am ahead of myself. First we had a talk about YOGA IS LIKE BAKING. Anusara Yoga is baking a cake. Level One teacher training is making a pound cake. Your certification video is a pound cake with chocolate chips. Teaching Pregnant Ladies is a german chocolate cake. Teaching Seniors is a yellow cake with chocolate frosting. Teaching Beginners is devil's food cake. Now it is all cake and therefore, it all has to have the essential ingredients in a certain proportion- some kind of fat, a sweetener, flour and a leavening agent and so on. At a certain point, not enough flour and you have cookies, which is another kind of yoga all together. (Still yummy. Still sweet. Still worthwhile. Still enjoyable.) Leave out the sweetener and you have crackers. (Still yummy, still nourishing. etc. but a different kind of yoga because we are making cake.)
So TT can teach trainees how what the necessary ingredients are for pound cake, we can help trainees assemble the ingredients, we can give folks a chance to practice creaming the butter and sugar together or sifting the flour, salt, sugar and baking soda together and we can even discuss optimal batter consistency and so on. But in TT we do not even put the pound cake in the oven!
The cool thing is that all of the "Principles of Baking a Pound Cake" can be applied to "making a pound cake with chocolate chips" and "Making a chocolate cake" and so on. That application process is really something that is the fun of teaching Anusara Yoga. I can give suggestions, I can certainly share what I have learned but what we most want as teacher trainers is to give you the ingredients, the principles and the permission to confidently and humbly go forth and make cake. If we make it too narrow in terms of "What is Anusara Yoga" we would limit your creative potential and expression and even the growth of the method. If there are not guidelines and it is too wide open people will be out there calling cookies cake and confusing people.
So- it has to be cake to be Anusara Yoga. And even though you might be making a certification video kind of cake never discount that chocolate cake can also be damn fine eating. I think there is more that I covered but mostly we worked with the art of humbly making a cake.
I walked everybody through the "mind of Christina Sell when planning a class" using the Class Planning Worksheet I developed as our guide. I took the same theme (HUMILITY), the same UPA (KIDNEY LOOP), the same set of poses (Basic standing poses) with a few additions and exceptions and taught two sample classes. One class was geared to Carrot Cake- an experienced yoga student who does not know Anusara Yoga. The other one geared to chocolate cake- the new yoga student who is new to yoga and also new to Ansuara Yoga. Then we compared and contrasted the difference.
The permutations are endless but the point is that as long as you are making cake it is Anusara Yoga. The type of cake is going to depend on who is actually in front of you, where you are teaching, etc. and so forth. And regardless you need the same basic ingredients, cake baking skills, an oven, a timer (!!) and so on.
We ended the class with a class planing exercise and some practice teaching. This group has some really great teachers and really awesome wisdom among it. No train wrecks. Lots of progress. Great confidence. Great humility. More later.