Wednesday, September 22, 2010


I’m SO ready for the Moon Day. Due to a scheduling hiccup, it looks like I’m going to have nearly an entire day off tomorrow (only one class to teach!). I can sleep in and have The Lazy all day If I want to!

But I don’t know if I really want to. To be perfectly honest, I’m ready to be busy again. Late summer is a notoriously slow time for yoga teachers. Sometimes I wish I could just bottle up all this free time for use in the winter months, when I’m endlessly busy and trudging from class to class through enormous piles of grey slush (and I would also like to bottle up some of the money I make during the winter months so I could go shopping NOW!).

Also: I seem to manage my time much better when I don’t have a lot of it. Anyone else have this problem?


I had a good practice this morning, once I got around to it. I woke up reasonably early but there was no hot water in my building (AGAIN! This is a recurring problem. Argh). I was out of Epsom salts anyway, but I really wanted that hot bath before I hit the mat. I waited around hopefully, thinking perhaps the problem would resolve itself, but it never did (Read: cold bath after practice. Brrr!)

I finally unrolled my mat at 8:30 and got started. I was feeling a bit off-kilter today, like my body was out of balance. This feeling didn’t ease until I started Intermediate postures (though Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana was strong and stable - go figure).

Something is going on in Supta Kurmasana. The wrist binds are solid in my Marichyasanas, but lately I’ve had to really squiggle around to bind fingers in Supta K. And my ankles are not crossing easily either. This is a big mystery to me. Am I getting too plump? Are my hips tightening up?

Lately, I’ve been doing some hip openers in the evening - Yin Yoga - to counter some of the stiffness that’s probably being caused by Laghu Vajrasana. I was hoping this would help. Nope!

I had a re-epiphany of sorts during backbending today. I did my three Urdhva Dhanurasana, dropped back three times and then dropped back to the futon and tried to stand up.

*sigh* I was really struggling. After a particularly comedic crash-landing back to the futon, I sat down and thought it though.

I was pretty sure part of the problem was my breathing. When I’m struggling with something, I go into a panic state and I start breathing very shallowly , especially my inhalations.

Solution: Take some time after the dropback to find a deep and steady breath - especially the inhalation - and co-ordinate the breath with my rocks before trying to stand up.

I also observed that I seemed to have lost my connection to the ‘mechanics’ of rocking. I was just throwing myself forward randomly and not specifically moving *my hips* forward. As a result, I was kind of ‘flailing’ as I stood up and often twisting around and falling backwards. I needed to focus more on leading with my hips and engaging that same connection with my legs that I make when coming up from Laghu Vajrasana.

I put it all together and dropped back, took five slow, deep breaths and started rocking my hips forward, engaging my legs strongly on every inhalation. The really beautiful thing is, it actually WORKED! I stood up with grace and control. Hooray!

This is definitely one of those times when I had to take a step back from my practice and become my own teacher. I needed to analyze what wasn’t working then find a solution, with the right cues to talk myself through it. This is hard to do when I’m feeling panicked and miserable, worried that I’ve lost something that was easy just days before.

I literally had to ‘shut off’ the irrational, whiny part of my brain, then ask myself “If one of your students was having this same problem, what would you look for? How would you troubleshoot the action? What would you tell her?” This stuff is really hard to do in the moment, but I think it makes me a better teacher as well as a stronger practitioner.

This is one of the reasons new yoga teachers are always told that it’s essential to maintain your own practice if you plan to teach others. I fully agree. I’m a better teacher because I’m on the mat every day. My practice is part of my teaching and my teaching is part of my practice.


Ragdoll said...

"I seem to manage my time much better when I don’t have a lot of it. Anyone else have this problem?"

Oh yes. Definitely! Now that I'm working part time, I'm really trying to keep up the same level of momentum as I had when I was full time, and it's so much harder! When you have more time it's so easy to put things off, take longer, watch a little TV, read an entire magazine etc etc

Kaivalya said...

So true! I get so much more done when I'm pressed for time. A full schedule seems to be a real procrastination killer.