I’m a yoga teacher, not a doctor

In my teacher training, we were reminded that students would ask us all kinds of questions, including us being asked to diagnose something in a student’s body.

I love talking with my students before, during and after class.

Most classes I teach a student tells me it was exactly what they needed. Usually someone tells me they feel so much better after class.

Since I go with themes someone will tell me they are in the service industry and the feet sequence was helpful or they hurt their back earlier in the week and the low back practice made them feel better or the neck sequence felt so good for their strained neck.

Sometimes I have people telling me about an issue in their body that may or may not have anything to do with the sequence I just taught and they want advice.

I can give them advice on poses they can try to help with the issue(s) in the body or poses they might want to avoid. But that’s all I can do. I am a yoga teacher, not a doctor.

But if I don’t know I am honest about that. If it’s something I think I can do … Continue reading

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):

Yoga practice for low back pain

In the last all-day Saturday yoga teacher training there was a huge focus on standing poses. The second half we worked on chanting, which meant a lot of sitting.

The next day my low back hurt.

Standing and sitting are both hard on my lower back.

Normally on Sundays I attend a rather active Vinyasa yoga class.  I decided for that day that practice was not appropriate for my body.

I did a little research on yoga for back pain. Baxter, who is one of my yoga teachers and the director and a teacher of my yoga teacher training, specializes in back care. He writes for the Yoga Journal blog. You can find one of his back care posts right here.

Baxter also has a blog where he writes with others called Yoga for Healthy Aging. I decided to search that blog and came upon a sequence Baxter put together for low back care.

I decided to go with a gentle approach for my back care home practice:

Do you trust yourself?

Tonight in yoga the theme was trust.

There are poses in yoga I don’t trust myself in. Like headstand and handstand.

Years ago one of my yoga teachers told me she thought I was ready to try one of them. And I just didn’t feel ready. And years later I still don’t.

I don’t feel like my arms are strong enough. My core could use some work on being stronger. I don’t trust (there’s that word) my funky shoulder. And frankly, those poses scare me.

(And I have been practicing yoga for about five years.)

Tonight the whole class was a preparation for crane pose, Bakasana.

I trust myself in in this pose. I am OK falling over or not being able to get both of my legs off the floor. But the part I struggle with is really holding my core strong and up.

It is easy to forget that the core and its strength is just as if not more important than the strength of the arms.

Vickie prepared us all class for crane pose. Once we were ready she broke down the pose and had us slowly work into it.

Breaking down a challenging … Continue reading

Calm practice on and off yoga mat

Last Wednesday I missed yoga as I had to stay at work late and then come home and do more work. I was bitter and pissy about it.

I have a lot of high priority projects at work right now. Things are a little tense and stressful.

I am trying to take my yoga practice off the mat and practice patience at work. Sometimes I do well at it other times not so much.

Tonight in yoga class Baxter had us to set an intention. This is one of my favorite things about practicing yoga.

Sometimes I focus my intention on someone I care about who needs some positive energy sent their way. Other times I set an intention for myself or my practice.

Lately my intentions have been focused on me. Tonight I set my intention for a calm practice, which can also be taken off the mat in my life right now.

Two different yoga teachers in recent months have mentioned my calm practice to me. One teacher whose class is a lighter lunchtime flow class said to me one day as she was helping me adjust into the pose that it appeared that I was … Continue reading