Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Lately, I've been exploring yoga podcasts and videocasts. I'm already familiar with several of the podcasts on iTunes. I've actually done a few of the Yoga Today classes, back when you could still download them. But I'm beginning to investigate these options more closely, as prices at studios are going up (around $20 per class in my city). My home studio was sold to a fancy schmancy health club a few years ago and its satellite studio was bought out and fluffed into a 'Spa Studio'. I'm feeling a bit 'homeless' these days.

Though I don't teach at yoga studios (by choice) and, increasingly, I'm not attending classes at them, I do enjoy taking the occasional class. I find that I get inspiration for my own teaching from experiencing the techniques and sequences of other teachers and it bolsters my dedication to practice. The podcasts and videocasts seem like they might be a good alternative to studio classes.

Today, I tried a Vinyasa Power Flow podcast (7/12/2008) by a Denver area teacher named Dave Farmar. Dave has been practising yoga since 2001 and trained as a teacher with Baron Baptiste in 2005.

I've heard a lot about Baptiste yoga and I was eager to see how this style compared to Astanga. I enjoyed Dave's class. It was a bit slow to start - I'm not a big fan of beginning a class in Balasana (child's pose). Once the flow started, it moved along at a good clip and I enjoyed the postures. I did find that Dave talked a lot, particularly during holds of poses. Sometimes the commentary was not relevant to the pose itself (instructional). I'm a talker too - I know that I do this in my own classes and it was a good reminder to me. From the student perspective, it's aggravating, particularly during long holds of poses (and the holds tended to be very long in this podcast).

I enjoyed the way Dave sequenced the postures into a flow and offered options for more advanced work in some of the poses. He did this in a very natural and fluid way. I particularly admire the way he handled multiple levels (for example, teaching Ustrasana and Urdhva Dhanurasana simultaneously).

The flows moved through a series of poses on one side and then the other. I found that my body felt imbalanced and disconnected when practising this way. I really prefer to do one side of a pose, then the other side almost immediately. I also felt the holds were far too long for a vinyasa flow class and they were sometimes uneven (long hold on one side, but not the other). This really threw me off.

These are observations more than criticisms - everybody teaches differently and students will seek out teachers who enhance their own approach to practice. By experiencing other ways of teaching, I learn new ways of presenting information and I figure out what works and doesn't work in my own classes.

I'll write more about videocasts and podcasts as I continue to explore this medium.

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