Saturday, December 10, 2011

Finished Anusara Teacher Training-- My final project-- tears

I just finished Anusara Teacher Training with Adam Ballenger. Wow happy it is done. These past few weeks I felt very stressed and overwhelmed. I talked to a friend about how I put so much pressure on myself, she reminded me that teaching is a refining practice. That no one expects me to teach the perfect Anusara class, so I should give myself a break. Our final project for TT was to plan a 90 minute class, with a apex pose, a principle of emphasis (P.O.E), and a heart quality. It was a different experience for me. Normally I come up with the class planing the day of or day before I teach. Inspired by my own practice, something I have learned, an experience I had.. So it was different to be planning a class for two months.

At the beginning of the teacher training we talked about our strengths as a teacher. Adam encouraged us to teach from our strength another quality. For example some of my strengths are that I am fun, fiery, and playful. It is easier for me to teach these kinds of classes. Adam said it would be really powerful if I can learn to teach a more serious, or grounded kind of class from my strengths. Not that I would let go of my strengths I don't know if I could let go of my playful attitude if I tried. But Adams point was it would make me a more powerful teachers. I thought hard about this as I planned my final project.

I decided on kindness for my heat quality. Working from the personal to the universal, in the beginning of class I said that it takes effort for me to be kind to myself. that it is much easier for me to be self criticizing, judgemental and rude to myself. However in my experience when I put effort into being my friend rather then being my enemy my life feels lie it goes more smoothly, I am a happier person, and I interact with others in a more meaningful way. I game an example of looking in a mirror, saying "do you look at your reflection like an enemy or a best friend. I would never say some of the things I say to myself that I would say to my friend."

My principle of emphasis was shins in thighs out. The effort to be kind to yourself is shins in. The outer shin muscle tends to be a lot weaker then the inner shin muscles so we used our awareness and effort to engage what I was calling "our kindness muscle" which are really the peroneus longus and peroneus brevis muscles. (These muscles pull the foot outward when we spread our fourth and fitht toes.) The first poses I taught was all about getting the students to experience this action, of shins in.  After that was established I started to teach them how with the resistance of shins in they can broaden their thighs out. Just like we only get the expansion and self softening when we put effort in being to being kind to our self. When I am my worst enemy I experience a contraction and a hardening of myself, when I am kind to myself I experience a softening and an expansion.

In one of the many pages of notes I created thinking up this class I had written in big letters. HOME RUN! Where am I going to nail the link of kindness to S.I.T.O? Most of the class my link was emotional but I also wanted to make a literal link of the theme to the heart quality. Adam loves the literal links. My home run was: I pointed out that doing S.I.T.O is a very therapeutic and kind thing you can do for your knees, hips, and low back. (My critique in the end was to link it more, explaining why it is therapeutic. When you draw the shins in and widen the thighs you are aligning the knees in such a great way and you are training your body to be able to hold that alignment. This therapeutic alignment also creates space in the hips and low back that rarely gets the chance to move and often becomes fussed (non movement possible) with age).

The apex pose was parvrita ardha chandrasana chapasana. We moved through some Surya Namaskars while squeezing a block between the shins. Did some lunges. We moved to the wall to get our quads really open, Did splits up the wall and splits on the floor with the foot pushing into the baseboard. We got the hips, legs, shoulders way open.

I had planned planned planned (my main mistake thinking I could be perfect). As the final teacher training approached the more nervous I became. When it was my turn to teach I felt myself freeze up. I have been teaching yoga for five years and have built up some confidence as my role of the yoga teacher. But teaching to a group of teachers and teaching to my main teacher, Adam, was hard for me. As I taught I could feel part of myself go into auto pilot. One of my main auto pilot modes it teaching commentaries instead of actions:
  •  arms circle out around and up vs. reach your arms out around and up
  • hands frame the foot vs. place your hands so they frame your foot
  • feet move back as you lower down chataranga vs. step your feet back, bend your elbows and lower down
After I taught the class and got feedback. I did good at: giving the students ways to measure if they were doing the action, clever sequence, fun attitude... Main things to refine were: linking the theme to the principle of emphasis, giving action commands instead of commentaries... Listening to the feedback was great. I love hearing what I am doing good and what I need to work on. While Adam was talking instead of saying "you talked about how it takes effort for you to be kind to you self" he was saying "you talked about how sometimes you are not kind to yourself". Its the same thing but hearing someone else say it that way was hard. It was a vulnerable topic for me to teach, and although I taught it to myself many times, and practiced with my husband. After I got the reviews I felt this wave of emotion hit me.

After the training I went home and sobbed my eyes out. I think this was a combination of things: how vulnerable my topic was, how much effort I put into it, and how I compare myself to others. After one of the other teacher trainees taught their class Adam got excited saying "wow you are so great. I could easily inspire you, Like inspiring you wouldn't be a problem. That was great" so I got it in my head that I really wanted Adam to say that to me. I also think the tears were just a result of a long journey coming to an end, I started the immersions with Adam 2 years ago and I have grown so much as a result of these training. It was a great experience. Adam is such an outstanding teaching I have learned so much from him and am excited to continue to learn from him.

I have all the requirements now to be inspired I just need a  Certified Teacher to sign off on my class. I was getting my confidence up to ask Adam. Now I think I will wait.

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