41 backbends

Today I turned 41.

I am the healthiest and probably the happiest I have ever been in my entire 41 years of living.

My day will be spent teaching a cycling class this morning, then some sort of yummy lunch, followed by a massage and then dinner out with Curt and friends at our favorite restaurant, Le Bistro Montage.

This week my yoga sequence is backbends. One of the first yoga classes I taught (with my friend Sandra) was a backbends sequence and we named our class: Bringing Your Heart Into Backbends. I really like that so I am going with that name this week as well.

My yoga teacher training lineage goes back to BKS Iyengar. Iyengar believed backbends were important to practice as we age. He lived to 95 and died last year. He also believed that on your birthday you practice one backbend for each year of your life.

So this morning I practiced 41 backbends. This is the first year I have practiced this tradition and plan to continue it through the years.

I had first heard of this tradition last year when Tony Briggs, a yoga teacher in the Bay Area-ish, was turning 70 and … Continue reading

Bringing Your Heart Into Backbends

DY Flier-web-version-2As a yoga teacher challenges can come up in a class you hadn’t planned for or expected.

Last night my friend Sandra and I co-taught a beginner yoga class, which is part of the Summer Series fellow Deep Yoga teacher graduates and I are involved in.

We taught a beginner backbend class, which we titled Bringing Your Heart Into Backbends.

In the Bay Area we are having a sort of heat wave. It’s no Arizona heat wave. But when you don’t have air conditioning or ceiling fans it can get pretty sweaty.

With any sort of physical activity you have to be careful with the heat. About a third of our students were true beginners. We wanted everyone to take care of themselves and be safe.

Sandra and I didn’t plan for the heat or some of the challenges some of our beginner students were going to have in class. But all of it was a great learning experience. And that was what this was about, learning and getting some teaching under our belts.

I was much less nervous this … Continue reading

It’s going to be OK

Yesterday was the very last Saturday class of my yoga teacher training. Just a few Thursdays to go and I (along with my classmates) will be certified!

Mary, who taught us yesterday, is the main meditation teacher of the program.

Mary had us all check in and listen to our heart at the beginning of class. What message was our heart giving us?

We went around the room and gave our word.

When it was my turn I said, Sorry, mine is five words … It’s going to be OK.

I was very tired yesterday. So while we were doing our backbends and heart openers I made sure to really listen to myself. I backed off when I needed to. I modified when I needed to. I didn’t go as deep into some of the poses. I listened to my heart and my body.

We did a check in near the end of class about what qualities of the heart we planned to work on through our meditation. I choose compassion, embracing difficulty and exploring challenge.

The vehicles I will use are meditation and pranayama (breathing practice). I forgot to mention in class that I am a huge advocate and lover of Restorative … Continue reading