Thursday, February 26, 2009

Yin and Yang

Hi. I'm sitting at this little community center out in Shunyi, the Yin Yang Community Center. It's in a courtyard out in the middle of the boonies, restructured and rendered into a lovely, quiet open space filled with books, couches, and a community kitchen. A very pleasant change to the usual clubhouse couch slumming I do between yoga classes out here. Sipping on some lemon tea and enjoying the faded sunlight filling the room from the glass ceiling.

The private sessions are evolving. I'm getting into my groove. Loosening up quite a bit and speaking more, practicing less. With the majority of the clients I teach lunge salutes, lunge salutes, warrior dance, triange, core strengthening/boat/bicycle sit ups, bridge, and a bunch of floor stuff like cobra, floor bow, happy baby, plow, etc etc. Nothing reinvented at all. We're working on balances slowly--this seems to be universally the tricky part for my peeps. They all fall over instantly. The vinyasas are happening at a glacial but lovely pace--we hold plank, we drop our knees and flip our feet, we inch worm into cobra, we sit back in childs. Then we pause for a breath. With a few I've been gradually picking up the pace during the vinyasas and the response is panting and sweating, but smiles. With the use of a strap tied around her elbows, one client is getting closer and closer to chatarunga. Last night I had her do 'chatarunga push-ups' just for fun; she got an inch and half from the floor and I said, now come back up! and she fell to the floor laughing.

I'm starting to have more fun. Relaxing quite a bit, getting back to the 'serving' part of teaching, not just the instruction. I've been asking my peeps to set intentions, or dedications before we begin, and it feels natural. I was afraid to speak for the first few weeks, like, what the fuck am I going to say? But it's all coming. It's all coming together nicely.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Goodness Gracious

I've gotten quite lazy about keeping this up. I've been teaching almost daily. This blog is a broken record: I teach daily, I'm lazy, I'm uninspired. In between classes, I sit on couches in clubhouses watching episodes of Ally McBeal on my computer and drinking cranberry juice, usually wishing I'd packed a lunch. For a long time I was without Kira's Teaching Yoga manual, and it was rough! I had to come up with my own ideas and most of the time I felt like they were incoherent and ineffective. I'm too embarrassed to even record what I did.
One of my clients meets me at 6:45 am at her house twice a week. It's a bit of a haul to get to her apartment, and I'm not really a morning person, although I've always wanted to be. The woman I meet so early has been overweight since a troublesome pregnancy with her son two years ago, and has recently stopped in-vitro to become pregnant again. She told me originally she wanted an intense practice, so I designed such a class, filled with vinyasas, crunches, loads of chatarungas. Within the first three or four minutes it was clear it was the wrong class. She felt light headed and faint during downward dog, and had trouble responding physically to my cues. I panicked a little bit. I said, 'look up between your hands, see where your feet will go, and gently step up between them'. She said, 'i can't'. Shit balls.
We decided to move to the floor stuff, and she relaxed quite a bit after doing some thread the needle, happy baby and badakonasana with a bolster.
After savasana, we spoke about the practice. Gently, I suggested a sweeter style of practice, and she decided it would be better to focus on opening and softening, and leave the work out to her treadmill. This was a relief to me, because I'm beginning to think I'm not that powerful at my core (corepower). I really enjoy soft vinyasa classes, wiggling around, and using props like blankets and bolsters.
So. This morning she and I met again, and this time I had Kira's manual in my mind. I basically stole a stiff white guy's class from her and used with H. And it was AMAZING! Even I felt relaxed. We used blocks and a blanket, and worked our way slowly through the sun salute, avoiding down dogs. I led her through the warrior dance, cueing the breath and then letting her cue it naturally. We also did bridge and some mini badakonasana crunches, tree, and lots of floor stuff.
I have another client this evening who's practice is really developing nicely. Tonight we're working on binding and twisting. She's interested in arm balances, so that means I have to brush up on my own. Woop.