Continuing to reinvent myself

At the end of my yoga teacher training in May 2014 we did an exercise in class where we pretended like we were all getting together a year later for a reunion.

We talked about what we did. The idea was if we said it as if it did actually happen it would make it more real. We were advised to write a letter to ourselves to read in a year, which I did.

I wrote to myself on May 9, 2014 with instructions on the envelope that I could open the letter on May 8, 2015 or later. I opened that letter May 8, 2015.

I read the letter a year later (and wrote about it here) and wrote myself a second letter to be read on May 8, 2016 or later.

I opened that letter last year and posted about it on May 9, 2016.

I stated intentions in my third letter (with some edits) to the following:

My Triangle continues to transform

Over the past three years I have been observing Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose) in my body.

To the left you can see the variations and changes over the past three years.

When I applied for Piedmont’s Yoga Teacher Training in May/June 2013 an optional part of the application was to include a picture of myself in Triangle Pose.

Once in the teacher training our long-term anatomy project was to pick three yoga

poses that we were able to do but found challenging.

My three poses were Utthita Trikonasa (pictured); Dolphin; and Ananda Balasana (Happy Baby).

The top middle photo is the first photo I submitted for my long-term anatomy project.

We took the first set of photos of our three poses and did a write-up on the poses.

Over several months we explored our three poses and learned about our bodies in the poses in terms of alignment and feeling, whether emotional and/or physical.

There is a vast improvement between the first and second pose. I learned to eliminate hyperextension in the front leg without losing strength in the pose. I found a better spot for my head and neck. And I found more extension in my side body.

(If you want to … Continue reading

It’s simple: Know yoga students’ names

I read articles regularly about yoga and about what being a good yoga teacher looks like and means. Some of the articles I agree with and some I don’t.

There are tons of articles out there. Some say what I learned in my teacher training program and other articles completely contradict what I believe to be correct and true.

One thing I recently read talked about how it is important to know your students’ names.

YES!

This was definitely discussed in my teacher training program. And the teachers’ classes I regularly attend know all of their regular students’ names and make an effort to learn new student names.

In the classes I have been subbing at Alameda Athletic Club there are, of course, the regulars. There are new people regularly and the not so quite regulars.

Last week I saw a student who I hadn’t seen in about a month. I said, Hi, Sharon.* How are you?

Sharon kinda stared at me. I got nervous that I got her name wrong. She said, You remembered my name? I said, yea, that’s part of my job.

I ran into a similar situation after I had only subbed one class and a student came … Continue reading

The belly

Yesterday in my Deep Yoga teacher training program a big focus was the belly.

There are many of us in the program who have back issues, myself included.

I have Kyphosis. The Mayo Clinic describes Kyphosis like this, Kyphosis usually refers to an exaggerated rounding — sometimes called round back or hunchback. While Kyphosis can occur at any age, it’s most common in older women where the deformity is known as a dowager’s hump.

My posture is not good and I believe I have a weak core. These along with the Kyphosis contribute to my lower back pain.

Mary, who taught us yesterday, met with anyone who wanted to talk about their back issues informally an hour before class started. It was a good conversation and gave her ideas of what to focus on for the formal class.

We learned to have a strong belly while keeping it soft. We learned how to work from our bellies instead of our backs, which is really going to help eliminate back pain.

She helped me and many others to work on standing correctly to give lift to our spine with a healthy sacrum while having an even pelvis and tailbone.

I have … Continue reading

The gift of yoga

I recently wrote a post about being frustrated with yoga. Frustrated with how I had learned things and how the more I learn I am finding more than one way to do something.

That bothered me for a few days and, of course, I wrote about it.

Soon after I started feeling better about my frustrations and discoveries and realized that this is actually a gift and I started to embrace it.

As my friend Nicole so eloquently put it: Isn’t that the gift of yoga – that we get to work through all that junk. (Junk being life, yoga poses, breathing, tough situations, daily activities, work, home life, getting to yoga class on time or at all, etc.)

I recently started practicing yoga with another teacher who is also part of the teacher training program. For years I have known about his reputation as a yoga teacher. I just hadn’t studied with him yet.

Until now.

I am seeing things so differently studying with Richard. It’s amazing.

And don’t get me wrong, my teachers are amazing and awesome and I love yoga so much because of them. But sometimes hearing a different teacher say the same thing in a … Continue reading

Becoming a better yogini by working through frustration

When I started the yoga teacher training program at Piedmont one thing that was reminded to my classmates and me by the teachers and in the paperwork we had to review and sign before the program started was that students in the program can go through many emotions.

I have felt overwhelmed at times and even anxious on how I can possibly fit all of this into my already busy and hectic life.

My most recent emotion has been frustration.

We are learning so much, some new, some old and some different. No teacher or class is the same. Teachers have different styles. Sometimes one teacher will tell you something and then you will hear the complete opposite from another teacher.

Our job as yoga students is to take that information in and decide what is best for our own bodies. I am more than OK with taking information in and then making a decision for myself and my body on any given day or practice.

But there are times when I find out I have been doing a pose “wrong.” Such as anatomically unhealthy for my body.

After class on Thursday night I felt really frustrated with how I … Continue reading