On being a good teacher
In the last class I attended the teacher was not particularly strong or flexible. He was an average, middle-aged guy, not some super ripped, athletic hunk who could do a one armed hand-stand. But it was the best class I’ve been to in a long time; he was clever, kind, and he clearly understood yoga and prana on a level that I don’t yet. I never had the chance to practice with Pattabhi Jois, but he also comes to mind; in his later years he looked quite different to some of his highly athletic students and no longer practiced his own series, but his teaching was hugely valued.
Nice to remember that being a good athlete does not make you a good yoga teacher, and vice versa.
2 step guide to having a beach body!
1) Have a body.
2) Take it to the beach!
Breath and energy
I went down to London this weekend and had the chance to take a wonderful yoga class in what might be called a vinyasa flow style. One thing this teacher shared was a Richard Freeman inspired emphasis on grounding on the inhalation and expanding on the exhalation.
This seems counter-intuitive. The in-breath is automatically associated with a feeling of expanding, enlivening, drawing energy upwards; the out-breath is automatically associated with a return to earth, a drawing down of energy. But yoga is about finding that place of balance between dualities (up and down, left and right, front and back, liveliness and calm, growing and grounding) and by subverting these automatic associations you can create a wonderful sense of balanced energies.
Give it a try; stand in samastitih, taking a moment to find a place of balance between the left and right sides and between the front and back of the body. On an in breath, raise your hands above the head but think about grounding down through the feet, sending roots into the earth. On the out breath, bring your hands down together through the heart chakra and back to samastitih, but think about expanding your chest, drawing your energy upwards and outwards.
5 breaths like this left me feeling more yogic than an hour of Ashtanga!
whitneysummerall said: I really enjoy your posts! Thanks for following :) - Whitney
Likewise! Thanks :)