I happily signed myself up to attend two teacher training workshops at the recent Vancouver Yoga Conference. It was the first teacher training I have attended since my eldest daughter was born. Seven years-thats a Saturn cycle!
First was Lisa Black's workshop Hands of an Angel.
I was excited for this workshop. Its focus was assisting and adjusting students in Vinyasa Flow. My teaching style was breaking out of an old mode, having reached a plateau of effectiveness. I knew that I wanted to be more involved in assisting my students to go deeper, but first I needed to get through some inner blocks myself.
I had been taught to teach poses for visual, audio and kenesic learners. I had been warned of was assisting abruptly and too deeply, for two reasons. 1) We as teachers, never know whats under the student's skin. If someone has an ongoing issue, would going deeper result in injury? ....Hence the caution. 2) Many of us have had experiences that have left us traumatized and for most of us that trauma is frozen in the cells of our body. Through yoga, those emotions rise to the surface, exposed and open. Most people are not going to allow themselves to get in "there" in a public setting. .....Hence the resistance of the body. No teacher should get in the way of this process. It belongs to the practitioner alone: a very private, direct experience.
With these two awarenesses running forefront, my assists were always sparse, mostly with words and never pressing beyond the level the students was working.
Then there were my own beliefs which formed from my own practice. It had always been a solo adventure for me. I was never one to attend classes. Occasionally I would practice with close friends at home. I watched alot of videos and read alot of books, but my yoga practice was always so personal and I didn't want anyone guiding my explorations.
I found breath alone would always adjust me, lead me. It felt right. And this is what I taught to my students and sought to give, room for them to explore. But this teaching style has its limits. The main undercurrent of my thinking or beliefs was:
If I can't get there on my own, I shouldn't get there with the help of someone else.
(Need I mention that I have strong a Saturn signature: Saturn square Sun.Venus, Mars in Capricorn.)
OMG! When I really heard that belief out loud, I nearly fell over. Where was my faith? None in others obviously. I have been operating from that place for along time. It had shaped my life. My feeling was that receiving assistance would somehow be a false arrival into the next level of a pose or life in general. As a teacher I never took students beyond where they could not go on their own and attracted only students who shared my same belief: those with strong a Saturn as well.
Yet when I experienced the assists of Lisa Black's workshop I was turned into a new direction. It was a spiralling out, literally and figuratively.
A new starting point:
Receiving can Change your Life!
Adjustments are support, not corrections; improvements to what is already good.
Thank-you Lisa Black. That was huge!
Next was Natasha Pizopoulos teaching the details of Sun Salutation A.
Here I was invited to share her wisdom and experience with her long-term relationship with the ancient microcosmic flow. I was grateful for her extremely detailed awareness and ability to communicate to others!. Through it I was finally released from long term limits I had felt with urdhva mukha svanasana. Finally I see how I can lift from the heart and have ease in my neck; my neck on route to my thinking. This translates into lifting my heart to God's heart with ease; relieved of daunting questions and pressing doubts as thoughts.
In total the conference was a wonderful place of exchange to travel the mind with individuals who shared a deep relationship to the same love, in their own way.