Teacher Training weekend 5 recap

The asana focus of our 5th weekend of teacher training was arm balancing and inverting. This is always a fun weekend to teach because there is always one or two breakthroughs with the students. Sometimes it is overcoming fear, sometimes there was a simple piece missing in a pose that made all the difference. It’s also a good opportunity to talk about honoring your own path and not being distracted by the journey (or handstand) of another student. We also continued to make our way through Pada 2 (Sadhana Pada) of the Yoga Sutras by Patanjali. 

Our weekend began Friday evening with a discussion about inversions and the ego. The students then did a teaching exercise. The assignment was to choose a peak pose and design a 5-pose standing sequence designed to lead up to that peak pose. The students spent about 15 minutes working on their sequence before teaching. But there was a twist. Each student taught another student’s sequence and peak pose. So it was a real test of relying on the teaching skills that they had been developing over the last few months rather than reading from a ‘script’. The students were surprised at having to teach someone else’s sequence, but everyone did a wonderful job.

On Saturday morning, practice included crow pose and headstand. These are interesting poses because they give us an opportunity to talk about body proportions and how differences in proportion can affect the ease or difficulty of a pose. In headstand in particular, having a long neck or short arms can create a lot of pressure on the head. In those cases we need to be creative about supporting the arms and shoulders, or taking a different variation on the pose. In crow pose, we practiced supported crow with the head on blocks and the feet on blocks. This modification allows the student to experience the true shape of the pose and the strength building in the arms while keeping balance at a minimum. There are also lesser degrees of modifications. For example, the pose can be done with just the feet on the blocks. When students are learning, I always encourage them to put a bolster in front of them on their mat in case they fall forward in the pose. Crow and headstands are both poses that require a bit of faith and courage.

That afternoon, we continued our discussion from the previous weekend on the Sadhana Pada of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. There is a lot of information and instruction in this book that takes time and patience to process. We’re going through this book sutra by sutra and talking about Patanjali’s meaning and how this relates to our own lives. It is a heavy topic and one that prompts a lot of inward reflection.

Sunday’s class is one of my favorite to teach. It’s a class focused on the mechanics of handstand. We start from the very beginning and build the anatomical elements needed for a successful handstand. There are always a few handstand breakthroughs which are exciting for me and the students!

This group of students brings such joy and enthusiasm to their practice and their teaching and it really showed this weekend. They were all prepared and present, even through the tougher parts of the weekend.

I didn’t take many pictures during this weekend, but here are a couple. Our next weekend together is January 13-15, so another update will be coming soon!

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Here is Kelly using the support of blocks for tittibhasana
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And here is a picture of the students practicing their student teaching.

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