Moving beyond the scripted yoga class

Moving beyond the scripted yoga class

I’m constantly trying to figure out how to explain my yoga classes, what I offer, how I teach and what to expect as a student. Here is the Clift Note version…I am an adaptive movement specialist. I ask, I watch, I learn, I adapt, I teach. Pretty much in that order every time I roll out my mat. Yes even when I am a student of someone else’s class. As a student I ask myself “how are you feeling right now”, “do you need to push, soften or slow down”, “did you leave your ego at home”, “why are you here”. Then I observe myself in my practice, am I struggling or being lazy. Is my attention elsewhere or am I being competitive. Then I do my best to put myself in a state of learning which entails complete absorption in my practice so that I can give my full attention to hearing the teachers cues. I learn by repetition, adaptation and modification in order to find comfort, ease and efficient alignment. Through my own practice I learn how to teach others. I fully believe in yoga as transformation, defined as a thorough and/or dramatic change in form or appearance. When a student finds proper form and alignment in a posture and feels the transformation in their practice it is something worth celebrating. I cannot adequately describe it but I see it enough to stay motivated and inspired to continue teaching. When I teach I focus on asking questions about my students, whether new to yoga (beginners course) or attending to advance their practice (workshop), I ask what they...
YOGA in college, a winning combination

YOGA in college, a winning combination

Boy was I full of myself a few weeks ago when I learned my Continuing Education 8 week Yoga course had SOLD OUT. I was a little worried earlier in the Summer when I discovered my course had mysteriously been left off the printed college brochure mailed to some 3-4 thousand people. Filling the class was almost 100% on my shoulders and I was kind of nervous about getting enough people. When I learned it had sold out I was ecstatic. My plan was to contact everyone prior to the first day to introduce myself and answer any questions they might have. I wasn’t able to get the class roster or contact info due to a change in management at the college. Then I heard from a few people who hadn’t received confirmation they were even in the class. Hmmm? Have you ever noticed how the Universe knocks you down a peg or two when you think maybe just maybe you have something figured out? I was so excited at the prospect of having more than a handful of people in class when the reality of Adult Education made its appearance. Its called NO SHOWS and attrition, both of which are much more likely to happen when the instructor doesn’t have access to students contact information. My enthusiasm and self confidence were shattered a bit at 9:30am when I looked at the clock in bewilderment to see only 8 of the 17 people registered physically in the room. Someone kindly pointed out the clock was 4 minutes fast. Oh hallelujah there is still time, but I have to admit...
Contemplation’s from my Mat: Barre Burn OH MY!

Contemplation’s from my Mat: Barre Burn OH MY!

Last week I decided to give Barre Burn and Barre Strong a try at Studio Barre and Lounge in Black Diamond. I had volunteered to teach a Barre Strong class for the owner of SBL while she was on vacation and I wanted to make sure I was prepared. When I started teaching at Studio Barre almost a year ago I gave the barre classes a try and surprisingly really liked them. I thought going to Barre would be like revisiting aerobics of yesterday, and I would be frustrated trying to figure out the choreography of the class. Not even close, while it moved at a good pace, it was easy to pick up the movements. Maybe all the yoga I’ve done has made me love everything, who knows, who cares, I liked it. Fast forward to a few weeks ago and my preparation for teaching my first Barre Strong class. I attended Shay’s (owner of SBL) class to observe and take notes. Oh it looked like fun and very physically strenuous, but I began to doubt my ability to lead this type of class, after all I pretty much only do yoga and some walking these days. I’ll admit I’ve kind of gone a bit Kapha (slow, sluggish) and finding myself enjoying more restorative less physical activity. My nature is to be more Pitta (hot and fiery) so the Kapha energy has been a nice change of pace, but I feared maybe I wasn’t up to the task of leading Barre Strong. Come Tuesday, it was time to participate in my first Barre Burn class (aka HIIT). It...
Contemplation’s from my mat: HOT Sweaty Mess

Contemplation’s from my mat: HOT Sweaty Mess

Hearing instructions to sustain my ujjayi breathing as sweat burns my eyes and my core temperature hovers near spontaneous combustion, I think to myself “not bloody likely”. Attempting to clasp my hands behind my back in humble warrior is like trying to catch a wet fish without a towel (those Pike Place boys use towels, I’ve seem them).

Beginners to Advanced: Master the Fundamentals First

Beginners to Advanced: Master the Fundamentals First

I adhered to the Patthabi Jois mantra of “practice and all is coming”, but all was not coming. My practice was like the definition of crazy, doing the same thing over and over the same way and expecting a different result. I practiced on my own and attended classes and workshops for almost 4 years with only minimal progress in my ability.

It may be time to try private yoga

It may be time to try private yoga

Have you been sidelined by an injury? Perhaps you aren’t sure how to get started after a sedentary stretch of time. Group fitness classes whether yoga, Crossfit or aerobics can be a little scary and intimidating, especially if you’ve had previous battles with joint pain. In the words of Gray Cook (PT extraordinaire) “move well, before moving often”. Repetitive join articulation can be damaging when movement dysfunction is present. Hey, most of us have some sort of movement dysfunction. I had the dreaded “text neck” before texting was even a thing. Back then it was called forward head tilt and it was a real pain in the neck. My teaching style is often criticized by people who just want to work out. I often hear “that was very workshop-py”. Uh, yeah, you got a problem with that? (is what my dialogue bubble is saying). The more pleasant words out of my mouth are “it’s difficult for me to lead a class if I see dysfunction that could possibly lead to future injury.” I am annoyingly observant and while it might not make for a very fun large group class it’s very effective when working one-on-one with people. Getting people to activate appropriate muscles and the nervous system is an exploration in movement. If one thing doesn’t work an experienced teacher will have a slew of other things to try until coordination and timing is achieved in creating more functional movement patterns. I can be relentless in my goal to help people move better and I love what I do. I help people get out of pain and discomfort, but...