I wish I could say that I’ve perfected the art of teaching over the last decade, but I’m still learning. And I question a lot of what I thought knew over the years.
As I’ve become more settled in who I am as a teacher, I’ve veered away from the one-size-fits all approach of most (if not all) Hatha yoga teacher trainings. I infrequently use the Sanskrit names for postures or talk about chakras. I’m less rigid about sequencing and frequently switch up the flow I’d planned based on student needs in the moment. I’m more comfortable teaching on the fly, but also more dedicated to prepping classes.
I sometimes reference the princess and the pea when I get into the final relaxation posture of a yoga class — and it’s no joke! Getting this posture perfect helps me soak up all its benefits. When my body is supported and at ease, blissful relaxation follows.
My yoga practice has been much flatter since having knee surgery in December. Reclined. Prone. Horizontal. Or maybe up a wall.
The swelling has yet to abate, making more active sessions out of reach. Down dog is a no-go. Butterfly makes me shudder in horror. Even my favourite yin-yoga-style practice with its many very-bent-knee poses (squats, sleeping swan, and happy baby, to name a few) is beyond my current capabilities. And child’s pose, well, that’s inconceivable.
There’s a swirling sense of anxiety. And it’s making me unsettled.
I know logically that I’m quite well-protected. It’s not a challenge to stay fed and sheltered and entertained. I’m pretty healthy and likely to stay that way. I have just about every creature comfort at my disposal. But those rational thoughts don’t stop me from fretting about the state of the world.
A few things help: talking with friends, family, and a professional (shout out to Building Bridges for excellent online counselling), giant hugs from my very-in-bubble husband, staying off social media if I’m feeling meh, getting into nature, cuddling with Sofie (she’s less and less amenable, but occasionally consents), and meditating.
I love savasana. Practicing it. Teaching it. Evangelising about it.
And after more than two decades practicing yoga and loving corpse pose, I’ve discovered a new way to lie flat on my back. Pressing the soles of my feet against a wall has brought a new twist to this old practice—and given me a newfound appreciation for the possibilities of the pose.
When we lived in Vancouver, I taught a regular yin yoga class on Friday evenings. A perfect time slot for kind-of-lazy, totally relaxing yoga… and the pub two doors down from the studio probably made an end-of-the-week practice even more enticing!
I’m bringing back the tradition by starting up virtual last-Friday-of-the-month yin sessions, with the option to practice live with me starting at 8pm European time (see what that is in your timezone) or enjoy the recorded class at your leisure over the weekend.