Thursday, January 22, 2009

Round up

Ay yo.

Here's a blog that combines my two great interests in life: yoga and writing. But I'm not writing, and not really practicing. The best I can offer is a roundup of what I've been doing to fill my time and pay my bills in Beijing.

I have no yoga community in Beijing; in fact, I am my own yoga community. My job thus far in this city is bringing yoga--my own yoga--to people in their homes. I do 1:1's and small group classes, teaching in living rooms or closed patios. So far there are four one on ones and a group of four together. What I teach is based entirely on who shows up. Kira's phrase that's basically become my business practice. I go to my sessions with outlines of a class, but upon arrival we move how the spirit moves us, so they say. With one client, the spirit moves her not to move, but to talk. I have to dig into 'teacher' mode to get her to inhale rise up, exhale swandive, inhale half lift.

Another client wants a workout. I showed up with a C2 routine, and while she is physically capable, her practice is riddled with bad habits. How do I correct her? I just did, at first with a shaky voice and then with more confidence.

Other clients want help with core strengthening. It's never ending, that quest for a six pack stomach. I teach and demonstrate and hope no one notices the places where my belly is soft. I mention bandha's, I mention the transverses, Richard Freeman, the 'cosmetic ab crunches', and wonder if I know what I'm talking about.

I miss my studio in Boulder, and I miss my studio in Ojai. I've been to a few classes here, but found them uninspiring.

Not to complain. But I am, I suppose. Just a little yoga lonesome.

Monday, January 12, 2009

First 1:1 in China

just got back from my first session. overall good, we're going to practice together three days a week. after i get from my visa run to korea, that is.
she told me in emails she had no experience doing yoga, and very little about her physical history. she also said in an email, after i asked to reschedule due to my unexpected trip, if we could not meet today? i don't want to sound desperate, i just want to get started, she said. so we met today.
she's just moved to beijing with her husband and two daughters, and lives in a huge, new American suburban style home outside of the city. a former bank manager from south africa, she now spends her days working out at the gym and learning mandarin. we talked for a bit but i was feeling nervous and just kind of started the practice. wasn't very smooth.
because she'd said in her emails she had no experience doing yoga, i planned a super basic class. lots of warming up, openers, and hip rotation stuff. i spent like an hour last night breaking downward dog so i could explain it in steps to her. after my experience in singapore with my two yogers who couldn't get down dog, i wanted to be prepared.
she didn't need any of that. she was fit and flexible, and it kind of threw me off. i got nervous because i was like, oh gees, this is the most boring class EVER to her i just KNOW IT and i lost a bit of my confidence. i added some vinyasas at the last minute and it was, at best, a medium to easy practice. she liked the plank, although commented a lot on the shakiness of her arms.
we had a long relaxation at the end, and i did some thai yoga because she said she had back pain. we decided to amp up her practice the next time for two days and the third day be a more relaxed yin practice.
she made me feel sad as i left. i told her i'd only been in beijing a month, and usually that statement is greeted with enthusiasm. she wrinkled her brow and said, me too, only five weeks, and i get so homesick. do you find yourself just crying for no reason?
so for her practice i think we'll also be focusing on ..i don't know. not being lonely? embracing change? keeping busy? i don't know.

over all, it went well. i'm excited to get going with it all. since i'm going to korea for the week, all my appointments are rebooked for next week. i got business cards, too! i wanted to put the yogery on it, and maybe a plate of french toast on a yoga mat, but that seems...weird.

Thursday, January 8, 2009


I seem to have accidentally opened up my own business as a private yoga instructor in Beijing. My calender is literally booked next week full of sessions, and my inbox is getting way too much action to handle. Are Beijingers so hard up for yoga, or is just the crowd I've targeted? (Ex pat housewives)

Anyway. Now I need some help. Should I name my little business? What should it be? What's the best way to teach one-on-one, practicing with them, or leading like I would in a bigger class?

I've sent emails out to all the ones I've confirmed asking about injuries, yoga experience, and what they're looking to get out of the session, and so far its a lot of beginners to yoga, and a few pregnant ladies. What else? What else should I think of, do, say, etc etc etc?

Oh, man.