Still Learning

It surprised me. I thought I knew Downward Facing Dog. After all, it’s routine, it’s done during most Hatha classes. But I didn’t know it like I thought I did. My head alignment wasn’t right. My back was slouching. I didn’t even realize it.

The joy of attending yoga class never ceases to amaze me. I always feel better when I leave, both physically and mentally. I often run across a pose I am unfamiliar with or an old favorite is taught in a different way. Or maybe I am just in a different place at the time. It is almost magical. There is no routine class experience.

This weekend it was Warrior III. I love this balancing pose and I usually am able to get parallel with the floor and sustain the pose for a few minutes. This time we did it with our extended leg behind us and the foot on the wall. It felt like a very different pose. A totally new experience.

We also did floating side plank. Yes, I need to practice this one. Fun, but harder to balance!

I hope that’s what I’m providing my own students, a non-routine practice. A magical experience. A surprise! Most of all, learning opportunities.

Congratulations to Me!

I couldn’t help myself. I wanted a present for graduating from Yoga Teacher Training. So I bought myself one!IMG_2859by Polly Beyer

It was hanging in our yoga studio and I had been admiring it for weeks. Sometimes it takes me awhile to step out and take action. Like spending money on something definitely not a necessity. Like a pretty picture. Like Yoga Teacher Training.

That was a big decision. Spending money on me. Would there be a payback?

I hung up the picture today in my office and it is worth it. I will think of my accomplishment every time I look at it. I also started logging my finances as a yoga teacher. I know it will take a long time before I recoup the actual monetary cost. I want to track it so one day I can say I broke even. Of course ultimately I’d like to show an income. But I already realize that’s not so important. I do have a full time job so financially I’m fine. But I am already benefiting from my training in multiple ways.

I’m putting what I learned into practice and it is starting to make more and more sense each day. I’ve been teaching twice a week. Although the student numbers are low, I am gaining so much valuable experience. Not only as a teacher, but also as a yogi practitioner. I’ve also shared more and more with my elementary students. We even got in the paper. Yoga in schools, imagine that!

So congratulations to me! Yes, I graduated, yes, I’m learning and yes, I’m having the time of my life!

 

Graduation!

Yoga CertificateIt happened. I finished Yoga Teacher Training! Eleven months of spending one weekend a month working towards a goal. The last three months it has really been a lot more than that. There were practice classes and community service projects. Creating sequences and lots and lots of practice. That’s when it started to hit how much work it was and would continue to be if I was to be the best teacher I could be.

In the classes I attend, the teachers make it look so effortless. It really is poetic to participate in their classes. I am tying to get my yoga on, but I’m also noticing how awesome their skills are and wishing I could remember the sequence till I get to pen and paper. At least I do remember how I feel. And isn’t that the point?IMG_6693

My son was in town and able to attend the ceremony. Now I have proof in the family that I made it. We celebrated at Sonic. Nothing like a corn dog to put things in perspective!

I’m Teaching!

I survived my practice teaching. It was questionable at first. So much time and effort went into my first class. Thank goodness I had the Christmas break to work on it. But then I taught seven more classes within a month and half without the two weeks to plan each class. That’s when I really had to hustle. And that’s when I learned the most.

I started out trying to decide what kind of class I wanted to teach based on who was signed up. I’ve been sticking to moderately gentle and chair classes mostly. Class sizes have ranged from seven to two people.

I even made it through the Community Class which is part of my training program. Seven total strangers and the owner of the studio. Scary! I had a good sequence, but I started rushing at one point. I got nervous. But I survived and people were very kind.

That’s what’s been so amazing, the comments that students share. They are so happy to be part of class and really feel the benefits. I think I sometimes take for granted how great yoga is. I’ve been doing it a long time and I still love it, but maybe I need to remember that first-time-at-yoga-class feeling more often. It is really special when you give yourself over to the class and let the magic happen!

My first class is tomorrow!

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Where does the time go? I started Yoga Teacher Training at the end of May and now I will be graduating in March, just two short months away. I was starting to get a little scared about all that I didn’t know yet. But I’ve been working on my sequence for weeks and practicing it and fine-tuning it, and thinking about it. I think I’m finally ready!

Even with all the training up to this point, I still didn’t realize how hard it would be to put it all together or how time consuming. I know it will get better the more I do it. Even with a sequence from one of the many books I finally started buying, I still have to delete, add, modify to make it work for the group I will be teaching. Maybe I just haven’t found the perfect book yet. Or maybe I never will unless I write it myself after years of practice.

I am expecting six students for a 45minute class. They will be a group of very tired teachers who deserve to be spoiled. Most have been to some yoga before, but I don’t think any are regular practitioners. And that’s just fine. I’m hoping they will learn to love yoga as much as I do. I’m hoping they’ll grow to love me as a yoga teacher as much as I love my teachers.

My outfit is already packed. My props are waiting. My sequence is polished and perfectly timed. Now I can meditate on the gratitude I feel for my students who are placing their trust in me to share an amazing yoga experience with them.

Flow and Sweat…

Yes indeed, that’s what I did at yesterday’s class. It was only 107 degrees outside. Of course we were inside, probalby in 72 degrees, but before class was over I felt like it was 80 degrees! We were moving nonstop and my body was pumping out sweat to match.

It was so a great Vinyasa Flow class. I really needed that movement. My body says thank you!

Community of Yoga

I love my yoga friends! It is so amazing that just going to the studio has helped me develop a whole new set of friends. A group of like minded people from all different backgrounds with different professions and family situations.

Yes, we all love yoga and our studio. But we also are developing a great love for each other. The kind of friendship where we can count on each other. Not just to chat with, but to help out in a difficult situation. No matter how difficult.