Remarkably, I’ve made it through the first week of 2014 and my yoga challenge has begun without incident. Last year at this time I wasn’t so lucky; I was in the hospital on New Year’s Day and because of that, I got a late start to the challenge.
I’ve gotten some feedback on my posts so far, and very much appreciate input. The Challenge started as a self-inflicted bit of fun, but the implications of writing about other teachers classes at studios where I work and regularly practice are many. If I take on a more standardized approach and write a certain amount of objective information about the class, it may help people decide whether they would like to attend the class themselves. To date, I have given some information, but I will aim to get more specific. It is easy for me to get caught in the trap of making a statement, commenting on it from my subjective viewpoint, and the second guessing myself and the reason for posting the statement to begin with. I usually end up with deleting the paragraph and saying less, which is not necessarily the most beneficial for the reader, or for the teacher who’s class I’ve taken. The tricky thing is that I’ve not been asked to give feedback by the teachers, some of whom have no idea of who I am or what I’m doing. Many teachers don’t want feedback to begin with, and to be honest, I’m not sure I would either if I were in their position. On the other hand, feedback is so important to becoming a better teacher. Without it, improvement can be slow, and some points for finesse may go under the radar. From this viewpoint, when given with the right intention (being helpful and loving, not harmful and unskilled), feedback on classes and studio impressions are beneficial. I will aim to be less subjective of teachers and studios and more objective, so that visitors get a sense of the studio and the teacher.
All of this has led to reflecting on what I offer students as a teacher, and what I would like students to take away from my classes. My intention is for people to leave my yoga class with more awareness of what it feels like to be in a body (to be embodied), and to feel there is some level of responsibility for actions that we take while in the body. If one person feels they are more able to give and receive love after a yoga class, and are more joyous as a result, I would feel satisfied that I’ve done my job. So how does this translate into the technical elements of a yoga class? In general, the sequence of the asanas should be smooth and feel good in the body, and the music in some way should support the breath count and or contribute to the focus of the class in some way. These elements leave an impression on a student; either one is able to relax into the class and let go, even have fun, or they become confused, angry, uptight, insecure. At the end of a day, that’s why the details of a yoga class, how a teacher smells, looks, acts, and what they say and teach, the lighting of the room, the sounds from outside the studio walls…all these things make a difference. It’s complicated, but details matter. It’s just that simple.
I missed out on Laura Gate Eastley’s class today in exchange for a real break for lunch and time to write this post. Rolfing starts tomorrow morning and continues through Sunday. Last year I attempted to continue with the Yoga Challenge through the Rolfing training which I’ve come to realize is a bit unrealistic…however, I will see where space exists to find a class or two between now and Monday. Otherwise, I’ll resume the Yoga Challenge on Monday, January 13th. Stay tuned for next weeks full schedule.