Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Preaching to the Choir

I had a great time in Portland, Oregon this weekend at The Bhaktishop. Lisa Mae, the owner of The Bhakitshop invited me to teach almost a year ago. I figured she wanted me to come and teach asana but she suggested a weekend for teachers on sequencing instead. I love to teach sequencing and Lisa did my online programs and so I took the materials from my two webinars, created a new handout (155 pages!) and we spent the weekend diving into the topic of sequencing which always dovetails into lots of other topics on yoga practice, teaching, etc. It was a really wonderful weekend.

One thing I enjoyed so very much was being in the good company of a roomful of experienced teachers from a variety of styles and systems. Because there was such a depth of experience in the room we were able to have a very collegial and professional discusssion about teaching yoga that was full of nuance, honesty, humor and the collective passion for the subject of yoga and the craft of teaching. Like in so many areas, the Porland yoga community is diverse and talented and yet not often in the same room together- physically and, at times, metaphysically. I talked a lot about how we have an opportunity as yoga teachers to come together as colleagues and as students of a great art or we can compete, tear each other down and otherwise sink to the lowest common denominator of human drives. 

Obviously, this kind of event allowed me to preach to the choir which is my favorite way to teach, for those of you who know me. I am not one to convert the masses. I know plenty of people who love that work but me, well, I am always interested in speaking to people once they have been converted. And if teaching yoga for 15 years has taught me anything it is that those of us in the choir need the sermon also. It is big work to teach yoga. It is full of great times that provide an amazing affirmation of our gifts and contributions. It is also a big ass-kicking where we get to confront our unresolved issues like scarcity, competition, fear of rejection and every little pocket of ineffective communication patterns that live inside of us. So, yes, those of us involved in the affirming ass-kicking that it is to teach yoga need a good pep talk now and then. For sure.

Having a chance to “provide the sermon” for a room of teachers is a true delight and a great honor and the time in Portland was a real highlight of the last few months for me. I felt very free  to speak directly about all the analytical stuff I love about sequencing and also to share honestly about the context in which all those details exist. And the group got on the ride and went with me so it was great in all regards.

I taught one asana class all weekend- a very mixed level class with an age range of 25-72. Here is the sequence we worked with. Enjoy.

1 minute timings:

lunge surya namaskar

back arch
back arch
utkasana - X3

classic gomukhasana, legs only
classic gomukhasana, legs and arms together
virasana- 5 minutes
baddha konasana- 5 minutes
uppavista konasana- 5 minutes

Supta Padangusthasana- 4 stages

prasarita paddottanasana, 2 stages
malasana to uttanasana
maricyasana 1

setu bandhaX3
chatush padasanaX3
urdhva danurasana X5

SPG, hands clasped around back of leg
adho mukha sukhasana- alternate which shin is in front

Seated ujayi


Today I head out to Paulden, Arizona for a few days at Lee’s ashram there. Tonight we have a kali puja and Thursday begins his mahasamadhi celebration. I’ll be off the grid and in the throes of the festivities there and will check back in to internet life on Monday. 

Have a great weekend. 


Lisa Mae said...

Thanks Christina. The choir here is always willing to hear your sermons. See in 2013 for that week-long workshop you mentioned? Let's talk! love and respect,
Lisa Mae

Dottie said...

I would love to have a yoga teachers' gathering in Austin for some preaching and mutual support around the joys and ass kicking of teaching yoga. Does this sort of gathering exist already? I wonder if others would be interested and what it would take to carry it off? If is definitely something I would be willing to put some time into. Always love your blog!

Dottie Wagner

Christina Sell said...

Thanks, Lisa! I am very excited (already) for my return and for cooking up another unique program for you folks. What fun.

Dottie, that is a lot of what is happening down in the intensives in San Marcos. They are often gatherings of very seasoned yoga teachers looking for a place to connect with other sincere practitioners in a collegial and down-to-earth setting. And keep your eyes open, me and gioconda are cooking up some advanced level programs in 2013 as well.