Jamie Fink Photography

RYT-200 BLOG

Flow

REFLECTIONS

It's crazy how many things can happen in a day.

In the past 24 hours, I've watch three episodes of Mad Men, cleaned the CorePower studio, had a three-hour teacher training class, driven to New York, surprised one of my closest friends at her concert, gone out to dinner with my boyfriend, driven home from New York, and had another three-hour teacher training class.

I also finished learning the entire C1 sequence and am five weeks away from becoming a real yoga instructor.

It's safe to say that I've been busy. I usually am, with my full-time job, freelance business on the side, and now, going for my RYT 200. I'm a planner—an obsessive planner, at that—and I take issue with the idea of "going with the flow."

A flow can mean many things. In yoga, we use the flow to connect our movement to our breath and to build heat through the body. Outside of the studio, its used as a welcoming to all things unplanned.

My number one goal of teacher training was/is to copy my feelings from the mat and paste them into my life outside of yoga. The art of flowing is usually taken as an action, but I'm beginning to understand that a flow is much more than movement. Its the ability to breathe through stressful situations. Flow is adaptability—a strength that many, like myself, claim to have, but in reality have a difficult time utilizing.

On my way to New York, I talked out the plans with Dan. I went through all possible scenarios. I was preparing myself to adapt without trying to dictate the blueprints of the night. And in this case, my preparation helped. I wasn't stressed and I knew that in the most likely scenarios, I'd be okay.

I flowed through the weekend like I do in a yoga class. I connected with my breath and let my mind follow the movements.

I'm not where I want to be yet, but this is another step in the right direction. Even if I have to prepare myself for endless possibilities, its worth it if it means I'm stress-free later on.

CUES

This weekend was all about posture clinics. Thursday, we finished on the Triangle Series. Yesterday, we walked through:

  • Hip Series: Half Pigeon 
  • Spine Series: Cobra, Bow, Camel, Bridge, and Reclined Bound Angle
  • Surrender Series: Seated Forward Fold, Happy Baby, Supine Twist, Corpse, and Easy Seat

Some notes from this weekend's lessons:

  • To remember the Spine Series, I decided to use "The Cobra Bows to the Camel on the Bridge."
  • Pigeon is a heat-storing posture by nature, and since this series is the start of a cool down, an open mouth exhale is beneficial here. You also don't have to have your shin parallel to the top of your mat. It can be at an angle. 
  • In Chair, touch your heels together. The "sliver a light between your heals" should be left for Mountain.
  • If you use a prop in your practice, try to offer it at least three times during class.
  • Grabbing your lower shins/ankles rather than your feet in Dancer and Bow can take some stress off of your feet, but for the purpose of teaching beginners, cueing them to grab their feet is appropriate.
  • The purpose of Reclined Bound Angle is to relax your lower back. Some people, like myself, have a natural arch in their back and can't connect their lower back to the floor. In this case, try teaching students to bend their knees to the sky and connect them together, or tuck their chin. 
  • In Seated Forward Fold, extend your heart rather than your head to your feet. 
  • Cuing your students to close their eyes in the last few poses of the Surrender Series is key. 

To me, the most important part of training this weekend was the Surrender Series. This is arguably the most important posture of the entire practice. At first glance, you're lying on your back and relaxing your muscles. Though if you look deeper, you'll find that this is the time where people are releasing themselves to their practice.

They're letting go of the work they did for the past hour, and holding on to the parts of practice that served them.

Once they rise up to an Easy Seat, it's up to the instructor to make sure the student know that they're loved, appreciated, and filled with light. My favorite instructors are those who end class with a message to his or her students.

Whether this be a quote, an anecdote, or a simple mantra, without any concluding remarks, I have no closure to the progress I made in the class. Regardless of the content, a simple "Namaste" to end class—or a blog, for that matter, will suffice.

The light and love in me bows to the light and love in each and every one of you. Namaste.