Saturday, April 24, 2010

Saturday Morning

We had a our first night of Teacher Training last night at Breath and Body. We started with a public class that I taught, followed by debriefing of the class, and then an anatomy class. One thing I am really psyched about about this particular training is that we are starting every day with a public asana class. What this means is that the Teacher Trainees get a chance to practice asana (which is sometimes sadly absent in Teacher Trainings) but also they get the opportunity to see how the techniques and principles they are learning in Teacher Training translate into a real-life situation.

So often in Teacher Training I am asked,"Yes, but how would you really do it in class?" or some variation on that line of questioning. I mean, let's face it, teacher training drills are not always going to match up to the classroom experience on any given day. So for this training, built into the program is an opportunity to see and be part of real-life application. This weekend the public asana classes will all center around Open To Grace themes. We worked with passive rooting, inner body brightening and moving into kidney loop yesterday to cultivate "support and confidence" (When we know grace supports us we can act with that.) Today I will play with a "Setting the Foundation" theme. And I think a foray into a front body/back body/personal/universal kind of thing is on deck for Sunday.

SO anyway, its a good group of very committed and enthusiastic folks and I think we will be able to go very deep into the art of teaching Anusara Yoga. I am focusing on the very basics of teaching the method- like learning the scales. See the thing is the standard that gets written down is a great standard but it is also important to remember that there are other ways to get the job done that are not written down but are also perfectly valid.

Here is an example of what I mean. So we say a warm up is "simple repetitive and in coordination with the breath and done primarily in the sagital plane." That is what is written down. the basic idea is to get the student up, moving with their breath, to emphasize movement more than action, breath and attitude more than technique, etc. But if done well, supta padangusthasana can be a great first pose. So can a nice long down dog. I personally have taught two classes in which John Friend was a student. In both classes I taught the first three poses as Child's pose (1 minute), Down Dog (1 minute) and uttanasana (1 minute) and he had no problem with that. I even asked him about it specifically once and he said, "That is a great way to start."

But that opening sequence is not what is written down as "the way we do it" or even as "a way we can do it." So its a tricky thing that happens anytime we write down a standard because it is impossible to write down EVERYTHING THAT CAN WORK so we write down the one thing that will always work. And when learning how to teach the method I think it is best to learn the one way that will always work, to get really good at that and then explore other creative applications and options once you have mastered the basic standard.

I also, however, want us all to be clear that what is written down is not the definitive "only way standard. What is written down is simply a very reliable way to be effective. To me these distinctions are just a mature way to look at it. So many things can work. We cannot write them all down. And the more we are writing down, the harder, not easier it is getting! But that is another story.

All right then- off to the races.


Anonymous said...


Dale said...

Mmmmmmm. Sun salutations :-).