Taking public yoga classes

At some point this summer when I was still working full time the shuttle bus schedule changed. With the change I wouldn’t be able to make my regular 5:45 and 6 p.m. yoga classes that I liked to regularly take during the week.

I was talking to a friend at work about the new schedule and how some days I was going to need to take BART if I wanted to make it to my favorite yoga classes in the evenings.

My friend said something to the effect of why would I need to take yoga classes anymore since I am a yoga teacher.

Recently while waiting to teach an evening yoga class I was chatting it up with a student. I said something about the yoga studio down the street from my house where I take classes.

She said, you take yoga classes?

Yup, I do.

For many reasons I take public yoga classes about four times (sometimes more) a week. (I also have a regular home yoga practice 4-5 times a week.)

Here are the reasons I still take yoga classes (since becoming a yoga teacher):

I sweated a lot in a Bikram yoga class

Let me say that I realize this post may cause dislike, disagreement, possibly anger … But this is my opinion and my feelings on hot yoga. And you are allowed to disagree.

I don’t believe Bikram yoga (hot yoga) is real yoga.

After experiencing it I will say it is some form of exercise? … yoga poses where you are in a super hot room and sweat like crazy.

If you like doing it I am not saying you shouldn’t do it. I’m just saying … it ain’t real yoga.

Over the past year or so I believe I have become a self-proclaimed yoga snob. In terms of the type of yoga classes I take, the teachers I study under and even the way I am trying to develop my skills as a teacher.

When I first started taking yoga in 2007 it was solely for exercise. And there is nothing wrong with that.

About four years ago I started taking yoga at a yoga studio. I found different styles of yoga and different teachers I enjoyed studying under. And I found styles of yoga and teachers I didn’t enjoy.

My normal practice consisted of Hatha Yoga and Vinyasa Yoga.

Once I … Continue reading

Being a gym yoga teacher sub

At the end of October I will be taking over yoga classes at a gym in Alameda where the regular teacher will be going on maternity leave.

She recently went on vacation, which gave me an opportunity to be the yoga sub for four classes at Alameda Athletic Club.

I taught a Thursday evening, a Sunday late morning, a Tuesday evening and another Thursday evening while the regular teacher was on vacation.

My first class I felt a little unprepared for things that were out of my control. But I reminded myself to breathe and it would be OK. I felt the class went well and the students were responsive.

Sunday late morning I had about 10 students. I had time to chat with a few of them before class and after class as well.

Two students who were there for my first class came back on Sunday. My Sunday students were very receptive and complimented me. Many told me that they really enjoyed the class. Some told me they planned to tell the front desk and general manager about me.

Someone else said I was one of the best teachers they have ever had. I’m flattered. They were impressed with … Continue reading

Be flexible with your inflexibility

Over my winter break from work I was able to “teach” yoga to three friends to work on my teaching skills and give them a “free” class.

Every practice was different and in different locations (gym, my house and a hotel room). Thanks again to my friends for giving me the opportunity to work on my teaching skills. Hope the “class” was beneficial for all of you as well.

When I worked with my three friends the main thing I heard was, I am not flexible.

I told my dear friends that your body is your body and it does what it can. I also told them that flexibility is not always a good thing. Being flexible or overly flexible can be a liability in yoga or any type of exercise or activity.

I also reminded them that it is safer for your body to be less flexible than more flexible. There is a smaller chance you will hurt yourself as your body just can’t over do it.

When you know you have an injury, an issue, are over flexible or under flexible, etc. you make modifications, adjustments or utilize props to help you get into the best yoga pose for … Continue reading

Establishing roots, structure

Doing a yoga teacher training and teaching yoga changes your relationship with yoga.

~Vickie Russell Bell, last night in class

Last night was my first night of yoga teacher training class.

I was excited, nervous, overwhelmed, tired and ready to learn.

One of my regular and favorite yoga teachers, Vickie, taught class last night.

The first Thursday night class was three hours of introduction to standing poses.

Just taking regular classes from Vickie has already provided me with a lot of knowledge about yoga and the body. But I know really focusing on alignment and knowing more will make me a better yogini and a good teacher.

Class consisted of talking along with instruction with a good amount of good questions, some note taking along with a lot of actual standing poses.

Alignment was a big focus last night. It’s important. And I don’t think I spend enough time really thinking about the placement of my body while in a pose.

Alignment is something that some of my teachers (like Vickie and Baxter) focus on. Not all my teachers focus on it as much. And I definitely need more of that.

I took a yoga … Continue reading

Aligning the spine in yoga

I attended the 6 p.m. yoga class, which Baxter normally teaches. I forgot he is in Costa Rica this week for a yoga retreat.

Dominick was the sub. I like Dominick’s teaching style and he is funny. But his class starts at 4:30 on Mondays and Wednesdays. So I can rarely go. But I do enjoy when he subs one of my regular classes.

Today Dominick focused on the spine and back.

Focusing on the back/spine/alignment is always good for me. I have bad posture, kyphosis, weak back muscles, not the strongest core, low back pain and a strong lower back arch.

Dominick talked to us about the natural alignment of our spines. He had us hold full forward bend. And then half way up with blocks under our hands to help us really focus on keeping the back straight.

We also focused on hinging at the waist instead of rolling the back down. This also helps keep the back straight and engaged.

Every pose we performed today we focused on the alignment of the back and our breathing through the front and then down the back. We held the poses much longer while focusing on alignment … Continue reading