The second weekend of teacher training was the first time I taught yoga in front of a group of people. Granted, it was a round-robin-style class and I was only teaching for about five minutes. Even so, the experience was exhilarating. I was nervous—we all were—but it was incredible once we actually started. Each day that I attend teacher training, I am granted with another affirmation that I am meant to be here. So, for this weekend of teacher training, I brought a new but important mentality to the table: be grateful.
Often, I am offered feedback that I don't agree with from the people around me. In response, I get defensive or shut down, letting my negative emotions get the best of me. I market myself as an open and accepting person, and I'm not proud when I don't behave as such. But this week, I am taking a different approach. I'm acknowledging my short comings and attempting to switch mindsets.
A large part of practicing yoga revolves around "The 8 Limbed Yogic Path". We use this path to reach enlightenment, or Samadhi. To reach this place of peace and bliss, we must attend to the seven limbs before Samadhi.
- Yamas: Ethical restraints; how you deal with people around you
- Niyama: How you act toward yourself when others aren't looking
- Asana: Postures; your connection to the Earth
- Pranayama: Breath control
- Pratyahara: Withdrawal from senses by turning inward
- Dharana: Intense concentration on the here and now
- Dhyana: Results from intense concentration; the total absence of thought
For the purposes of my messages of gratitude, I'm focusing on the first limb, the Yamas. In The Inner Tradition of Yoga, Michael Stone illustrates several Yamas. He describes Ahimsa, which has encouraged me to rethink my reactions through a non-violent way of thinking.
Thinking in a positive way can encourage others to become aware of their own energy and move away from hostility. If I am to sustain my relationships, I need to redirect my energy inwards rather than pushing it onto others with the hope of influencing their thoughts. It's important to me that I recognize the root of the issue: my own negative energy and lack of gratitude.
I cannot change the way others think. But I can change how I react to others. I can receive feedback, be thankful that I have people that care about me enough to share their thoughts, and release their energy if it does not serve me. As a yoga instructor, I intend to integrate and encourage this into my practice with my students.
CUES + POSITIONS
Besides coming to a few dozen other realizations during the past few days, I also had the opportunity to go through C1's Crescent Lunge Series. We learned how to cue Crescent Lunge, Revolved Crescent Lunge, Runner's Lunge, Side Plank, Gorilla Pose, and Crow Pose. Some notes of significance for general practice:
- When deepening students, it's important to assist based on where their bodies can go, rather than where you think you should take them.
- Straightening legs are not everything if doing so compromises the pose (i.e. Gorilla).
- Not all instructors cue the same. We're sticking to a routine, but not reading from a script. We'll always need to pay attention to the room, to our students' bodies, and to the feel of the class. Everyone's teaching style will be different, but not necessarily incorrect.