I’ve completed six of 15 weekends of my 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training. When I’m not at Yoga Space for training, I’m there taking Hatha or Vinyasa classes and writing a reflection listing the class’s sequence of poses and what I observe about how the teacher teaches. The reflection gets me deeply thinking about the class as a smooth, flowing journey moving from pose to pose.
As an educator, I know that writing a reflection spurs critical thinking. It’s an ideal way for a student to learn through self discovery.
This critical thinking has delivered surprises. One, I never realized how many poses make up an 80-minute class. In my Hatha class on Wednesday, I noted 40 different poses. Some poses are held for 10 seconds; others are held for several minutes. The poses move from reclined to standing to seated to reclined again. Or there may be a different pattern, depending on the poses. One pose can build on another and may lead to a challenging or goal pose such as Headstand or Wheel. Muscles must be warmed up to do these safely.
Downward Dog, also known as Adho Mukha Svasanasana, is a foundation pose practiced in every Hatha or Vinyasa class. It has many benefits: builds upper body strength, improves back flexibility and because it’s considered a resting pose, you can can and see how your body feels. Yoga is about listening to your body so pay attention in Downward Dog.I learned Downward Dog works better for me if I microbend my elbows so my shoulder blades glide lightly down my back. It’s not about locking my shoulder blades – they just lightly glide down. My shoulders feel more connected and my triceps are engaged with microbent elbows. What’s a microbend? I feel the bend but it may not be visible to others.
I am loving my yoga immersion. Of course it’s lots of work, but so much enjoyment too! It’s my perfect blend of physical and cerebral effort. Stay tuned for more joy!
For me, yoga is not just a workout – it’s about working on yourself. ~ Mary Glover