Wednesday, June 9, 2010

my teaching experience 6/9/10

I just got back from teaching my all level class (9:15-10:30 at Flow Yoga EMC). It is a new class and it has slowly building up students. When I come to teach I normally expect 3-6 students. It is hard having a new class because it takes time to build up students and momentum, especially at a new location. It is a good reminder as a teacher to have patience and remember that I do have something to offer and even teaching one student is such a great opportunity to teach and experience the Shakti of life.

Anyways today I had a plan for what I was going to teach. I was thinking inner spiral and outer spiral of the legs. I had some clever sequences planned and some exercises to help the students experience what inner and outer spiral done appropriately should feel like. It gives more support and stability and the opportunity to experience and expand more fully. However when I got there I just had one student. When ever I have one student I throw my plan out the window and it becomes more of a private. I ask what they want to work on, or if they have any questions, or if they ever experience any pain that we could look into…

We decided to do some light stretching, more of a therapeutic practice. However as we were practicing I was aware of the inappropriate shoulder alignment in many poses. I knew this student and know that she has regularly complained of shoulder pain. So I decided to focus on keeping the shoulders plugged in to the back of the heart. Really working the rhomboid muscles, pulling the tips of the scapulas together so that the shoulder blades can assist in the opening of the heart. It was wonderful. My beautiful friend who works the front desk slowly moved into practice with us. She first practiced in the lobby and then eventually grabbed her mat and came and practiced (now two students). This was another wonderful reminder that it is a great opportunity to have smaller classes because you get a chance to really break down and teach the universal principles of alignment.

Some of the sequence:

We worked on finding the rhomboid muscles in tadasana doing a few exercises to find the scapula alignment. For example we extended the right arm toward sky and bent out right elbow then took our left hand to the right elbow like a shoulder stretch. I first asked them to pull the shoulder blade off the back body which is a nice stretch but is not shoulder integration. I find it is nice to point out what we shouldn’t do so we can feel that before moving into what we should do. I then had them pivot there torso to the right, which provides more access to squeeze the tip of the right shoulder blade toward the back of the heart. I then helped by stabilizing and securing there scapula in that position on there back as they rotated there torso back to center. WOW! Rhomboid muscles identified :)

We worked on finding the shoulder integration in our plank and chaturangas as well. As we were doing this I noticed that both ladies were collapsing in the hips and not engaging the core so we also went over inner spiral of the thighs + outer spiral (scooping the tail bone) to get the low belly engaged then we melt the heart found out shoulder integration and SLOWLY lowered down. We practiced always squeezing the tips of the shoulder blades together so the top of the shoulders would never come down below the elbows even as we transitioned to cobra (again working the shoulder blades to open and expand the heart) and then to AMS (downward dog). I got such great comments like “this required so much more awareness” and “felt so much more in control” and “strong”.

We laid on a rolled up blanket with the tips of the shoulder blades just above the blanket. Here we worked at plugging the shoulder into the hear extending the arms toward sky palms facing each other and then slowly lower the thumbs toward earth and then slowly extending the arms toward sky, keeping the shoulder integration the whole time. This was a lot of fun the muscles where shaking and I reminded them that “when the muscles shake it is the muscles jumping for joy!” They were so surprised that by lying on a blanket and lowering and lifting the arms which sounds so easy required so much focus and “heat” as one student said.

We did some bridge work and then made it to urdhva danurasana shoulder plugging exercise. Before I did this I had them sit in heros pose and take anjali mudra over there head so their forearms where facing sky and elbows were pointing to the front of the class. Here we worked at unplugging the shoulders taking the elbows forward, and then plugging the shoulders taking the shoulders tips together, elbows back, and heart expanding forward as a result of the shoulder integration. We then did this in urdhva danurasana prep with our head on the ground. Unplugging, plugging, unplugging, plugging, unplugging, plugging…

Then we did a cool down integrating the femur bones into the hamstrings and some twists, then a nice shavasana.

After class I talked to the student and said "so much for stretching" haha. She laughed and said we did plenty of stretching. She said she loved will be sore tomorrow, and she is also happy to know better alignment.

What a wonderful way to start the morning. It is great to know that I can still teach a good class spontaneously without a plan. It requires that I focus on the students and what is going on in their bodies and their minds.

I am so thankful to my students and my teachers. Now I am off to walk the dog, garden, read, and then teach another class at 5:40 at The Yoga Center and I think my father in law might be coming to his first class. FUN FUN FUN

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Intention and Testimonials

Testimonials & My Intention

My Intention It is my intention as a yoga teacher to help you bring more health and vibrancy to your body, ease and alertness to your mind...