The day just flew by. I can't believe the first day is over already!
The morning started with a few comments and introductions from Patricia Gray, owner of the Yoga Gallery, and Max Strom, our guest teacher for the week. Everyone got settled in for a week full of great information. The class is geared towards teaching yoga. The students seem divided equally between those who already teach yoga and those who wish to teach. Both men and women, a wide span of ages represented, all levels of ability. It's very comfortable.
The morning session consisted of a yoga asana session. It was not too vigorous, but perfect for allowing Max to assess our levels and us to sample his teaching style. One thing he showed us was how to easily alter a very basic class to make it more difficult for advanced students. He demonstrated how holding a pose for a long time or moving quickly through a vinyasana sequence will increase the difficulty level of the class. He also emphasized teaching every asana in every class to multiple levels. He reminded us that, no matter how hard we try, we will always have someone in the class who is at a different level. We must focus on giving everyone a workout that is appropriate for their level and also keep each student safe. This is information that will definitely be useful in my classes!
In the afternoon session, we spent a lot of time focusing on pranayama: teaching breathing, connecting the breath with the body, ALWAYS focusing on the breath. One thing I hadn't realized before: the order in which you teach a posture really affects the way the posture is learned. If we teach a posture with 8 or 10 points and the breath is the 9th or 10th thing we mention, if will probably be forgotten. The students are really trying to focus on the first two or three things you mention; the later things get lost. We need to mention the breath FIRST. This is something I'm definitely going to work on in the classes I teach.
We started learning the particulars of some of the asana, how subtle changes and rotations in your arms or legs can affect the asana, proper positioning of the pelvis, legs, arms, shoulders, etc. It was very powerful to actually experience how a minor change in body position can affect your breathing, your stability in a posture, or even cause injuries. (okay, I didn't actually experience that:-)
We closed the class with a demonstration of the power each of us holds in our own hands. We performed an "adjustment" on another student without actually touching them. We sent our energy through our hands to another person's heart center and were able to actually see a change in breathing or position, and feel the energy moving us. Totally awesome.
I'm tired. I know tomorrow will be even more intense, so I'm going to try to relax and go to bed early tonight! (famous last words.....)