Practice Practice Practice

Yeah, and I’m talking about yoga teaching here. But its true anywhere.

Last weekend, I subbed a Yoga Fundamentals Class, which is a beginner’s class. However, how the regular teacher teaches it, it is more like an Iyengar workshop. Its a study on anatomy and alignment that gets deep into the details. I’ve gone to this class even after becoming a teacher because there is so much to learn. In fact, I wish everyone, teachers included, would go to this class. We can all know the basics of yoga better. And teachers need to continually hone their adjustment skills, which is done a lot in this class.

I also subbed a Yoga Flow for Beginners class a couple days ago. That was fun too. It wasn’t as much of a workshop of poses, but a basic flow. I still did a lot of instruction on proper alignment and other concepts in yoga, but it was more to learn how to flow. I showed transitions from Warrior I and II, along with other related poses. Foot position is everything in yoga. We talked about appropriate body tension and the focus of Drishti. It was an entirely different slant from what I taught in the other class.

After Fundamentals, I went on to teach Rocket Yoga directly afterward. This is a freeform Ashtanga class that includes many of the higher series of Ashtanga. We went from winding slowly down the road with guard rails to racing at top speed in blind abandon. The emphasis totally shifts from restraint to letting-it-loose! Its such an amazing transition.

Similar is true with my basic Yoga Flow class. I went from that to Hot Yoga where we cranked up the music and got a little crazy. I had a few Rocket Yogis in there so I felt obliged to give them some Rocket. It was such a fun time.

I see these levels of study and experience in all walks of life. When I do a CrossFit WOD, I try to keep all the technical aspects in tact, but that isn’t the focus. The focus is to get my heart pumping out of my skin and working to the point of exhaustion. I call it red-lining in overdrive. But there are also times to study; to break down movements; maybe to only study one portion of a movement. I’ve done dips and push-ups where I don’t bend my elbows. I just slowly move through the full range of motion in my shoulder joint. I do isometric handstand holds and planks. I may flow through something with very light weight, like overhead squats. There is time for technique and quality of work, and there is time for throwing gasoline on the fire.

With yoga, with everything, we practice. As teachers, we explore something different. Sometimes that enlightenment happens during a class. And if it works, then you’ve added something new to your routine. The same is true with our personal practice. I always flow into something different. Its such a fun way to learn.

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