These tips could be applied to many aspects of life I think.
1. Teach with candor. Be frank and honest about yourself and share your experiences, even if that experience is nervousness. Most people can already tell how you are feeling by observing you. If the nervous teacher comes right out and says “Well, ok, I’m feeling nervous but…” they’ll make a connection with people who can identify with that feeling (which is most people) and they’ll dispay confidence for being able to admit it.
2. When you’re sure all of your students are adept(and keep checking anyway!) with a certain flow of practice, a warm up if you will, teach with unrelenting focus and energy. Don’t let them, or you, slip off into some tangent. This is to get everyone established in the streaming focus that is the paradigm of many yoga practices. Speak rhythmically, directly, and concisely with a encouraging power in your voice. Keep coming back to the same points. In my case it’s usually, bandha, ujjayi breathing, and describing the sensations of deep, empowering breath.
3. Lighten up! Let the play begin. Teach more casually and be open to make humorous comments or observations. Begin to teach more rather than conduct like in #2. This means be aware of the skills of the people in the room and work on what you can help them achieve or create. Break things down, give more time for detailed demonstrations, even using the students as models for one another while you do an adjustment to show how to align one’s body in a particular Asana.
4. Keep a good pace until the end and then let everything drop into relaxation. Slow down your voice and lower it’s pitch. Give enough time for relaxation. Savasana should be proportionate to the amount of work and time you spent working. In a light or short class 5-7 minutes is adequate. After a long or challenging class, up to 10 minutes. Savasana should not be too long, otherwise the nerves will become dulled. It should not be too short or the body will not be refreshed or adapt to the structural changes from the practice.
I’m back from my week long excursion to southern Thailand! After 5 days of climbing in beautiful Krabi and the weekend workshop at Koh Samui I’m feeling charged. For those of you that attended my classes at Trinity Yoga many thanks to you. Kosta and I are already discussing my next visit in a few months coming.
For my classes in Bkk my schedule is updated with some new times!
It felt really great to get to use my muscles in different ways on the beautiful rock walls around Railay Beach. Climbing isn’t too much different than yoga. A body that is both strong and limber will have the most options for moving gracefully up the rock. It’s also no secret that you need to have fine control of your breath and focus during the crux, the hardest part of the climb.
During a conversation I had with Kosta we talked about what type of Yoga practice is appropriate during different stages of ones life. We agreed we were both mostly still Asana stage. As a yoga teacher, Asana typically takes up all the time I have for “exercise” but climbing showed me that as a young man I need something else for my body to live up to its potential. For all practical purposes I’ve essentially maxed out my flexibility but I’ve realized that my strength has lots of possibilities left. Maybe none of this seems very “yogic” in the grand sense but being 25 years old I think exploring the possibilities of form is a big part of what I need at this stage.
When it comes to the matter of good physical health, the way we take care of the core of our body is key. Eating fresh foods that move fast through the digestive system is important for keeping energy consistent and the body clean. We can also utilize the musculoskeletal system in a variety of ways to aid the digestive process and move energy to different places along the vessel of the torso.
Of course, strong core strength also serves how we apply strength with the limbs. It can also relate to confidence of character. Remember, it’s not all strength though! There is a great deal of intelligence in this region of the body. Be aware of it while you practice these exercises. This will be the start of a series on making you feel connected and alive from the center first!
Let’s do some yoga inspired crunch work outs! These are photos from when I was the resident Yoga instructor at a detox retreat in Koh Samui, Thailand.
This is the start position. Garudasana is a standing pose with the legs intertwined as shown. It’s ok if the foot will not hook around the lower leg. Bring your knees over your hips. With your hands behind your head and your elbows wide open lift your head and shoulders up. Just holding this position and breathing will be enough for some people. It’s ok if you shake, but not if you feel any sharp pains!
On an exhale, with control, slowly curl your hips up and bring your knee towards your nose or chin. Do your best to keep the head and shoulders up. It’s ok if they move a little bit.
Inhale and slowly extend your legs away bringing your feet to a hover just above the floor. Keep the head and shoulders up! Repeat 5-10 times and then relax, unwinding the legs, take a few breaths and do the other side. You can also experiment with the opposite direction for your crunch. Keep the hips rolled off the ground and fulcrum the upper torso up and down.