Yin Teacher Training Vancouver 2010 -Day 5

Eureka! I think I’ve re-discovered my knees! Literally. As I was exploring their soreness this morning I realized they aren’t actually pointing forward when I’m standing with my feet parallel to one another. They slightly point inwards. I wish I had my camera to take pictures to show you. And since Moksha usually guides a class asking us to bring our toes together and heels about an inch apart this further brings my knee caps in making them ‘pigeon knees’. I can see how this could cause continuous stress on them.

As I went to Moksha class tonight I tried the reverse. Bringing my heels together and big toes about an inch apart bringing my knees to point straight. I can’t believe I hadn’t noticed this before. In defense it is a subtle rotation but still another example of why tuning into your own body is extremely important in yoga. And in some postures I am realizing it can be extremely important for teachers to ask students what they are feeling before adjusting them and not just assume we know what is best. This is a huge part of what I’ve been learning with Yin Yoga.

Everyday Bernie, our teacher, encourages us to ask a student first what they are feeling, to check in with them, that since every body is different we can feel different stretches for the same posture. That getting everyone to adjust the same way is like treating everyone with the same pill. And generally there are certain pills given for certain conditions but people are examined before being prescribed pills. We make sure we are being prescribed the right pill for our ailment and body type (age, weight, allergies) and usually the first question we are ask is what are we feeling.

As I was exploring this new theory, in downward dog, of subtly bringing my heels closer together rather than my toes in Moksha class the teacher noticed and she adjusted them by turning them the other way. Knowing I was going to try something different I should have talked to her about this before class but it also did show me that as teachers we can tend to assume we know someone’s body and what is right for them and it is an area to be very mindful about. It’s so tricky though. In class the other day a Moksha teacher made an adjustment in a pose by bringing my shoulders down and it was a great adjustment to make and made me feel better!

I’m thinking experience will give me greater insight into this and I can now better see the value of having smaller classes and doing one on one yoga classes with students.

Bonne nuit! I get to sleep in an extra hour and a half tomorrow morning. My body has reached its exhaustion point today so it is extra rest I am greatly looking forward to.

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Day 14 -Moksha Teacher Training

I had a chance to catch up with my parents tonight. Yey! They let me know they were following my blog, so cool! Thanks for reading maman et papa! If they came from the blogging generation I often wonder what they would have written about as they raised 4 kids, as they worked hard at their jobs, as they somehow juggled it all together. So while we were catching up, my mom asked how I was doing with this whole no caffeine, wine or nicotine thing.

“In this type of environment it’s actually kinda easy” I replied.  Easier than I would have anticipated. Not that I wouldn’t enjoy a glass of wine right about now, but overall the sense of being detached from tools that enhance my performance in the rat race is pretty cool. Not being on the road so much, but rather having my activities and amenities closer to one another also helps. Being surrounded in a new environment with no association to these performance enhancers (to have energy on command, to fall asleep, to deal with stress) must have something to do with it too. And really the whole napping thing helps immensely, I can’t stress this enough. If, and when, I own a business there will be a resting area for employees. It will most likely not be in a separate room but rather an area part of the staff room with pillows and blankets and yoga mats to lie on.

Yesterday and today we’ve been learning a lot about hands on adjustments. Whoa! Much tricker than I thought. Usually when I’ve been adjusted in postures it seemed so intuitive for teachers (and adjusters), they seems to pull it off so gracefully. However there is much to think about:

– Are my hands approaching them creepy style?

– Is this their sacrum I am feeling? Or correct hip bone I’m pressing on?

– Am I adjusting with enough pressure? With too much pressure?

These are about 20% of the things we need to be thinking about. Mix that in with paying attention to a whole class you are instructing and suddenly you are thinking about 5 things at once. Of course it gets easier with time but at first it’s just a little hard and proven to be a little entertaining at times. On this note I have a story to share.

Our excercise was to practice teaching a group of 6 while one person was focusing on practicing adjustments on the students. So there we are in warrior 2 pose. This is a pose where our hips can be something important to look at if we are to adjust them. So let’s call the womyn adjusting: Sally. And the womyn doing the warrior pose: Becky.

Sally kneels down and starts looking closely at Becky’s hips and our teacher comes around the corner and asks her what she is looking at, she replies “her hips”. Then the teacher asks where her head and eye level were? Sally looks straight forward and suddenly realizes she was directly leveled in front of Becky’s crotch with her head only a few inches away. She bursted out laughing. I stood behind the whole time and also didn’t realize it until the teacher pointed it out. We apparently don’t automatically think about these things yet, but hopefully we will very quickly as it could make for a purdy uncomfortable situation.

Kneeling is Deena, one of our extremely knowledgeable teacher's, teaching us the how to's and ethics behind adjustments. She is recreating the above adjustment story with one of the students in Warrior 2 pose 🙂

That’s all she wrote.

I leave you with a quote:

Even after all this time, the sun never says to the earth, “you own me”.   Look what happens with a heart like that.           It lights up the sky.

(I don’t know the origin of this quote, sorry, one of our teacher ended class with it yesterday, loved it)