It was quite an eventful weekend in our Teacher Training, most notably in that we learned more about yoga’s more recent history from Darren, and in that we concluded the alignment portion of our training with Chrisandra, culminating with our first exam and extensive practice teach.
One of the things that I found most interesting in learning about yoga’s contemporary history is just how muddied and diverse it is. I mean, from engaging in an array of yoga practices and classes over the last decade or so, I have been aware that a restorative class differs drastically in comparison to a hot vinyasa class, but until recently I had been relatively unaware of these contemporary practices’ genealogies. Sometimes I find myself becoming uncomfortable when one person claims that their particular kind of yogic practice is supreme, or the the most pure. Such dogmatism has always seemed antithetical to my understanding and experience of yoga. Rooting modern heterogeneous practices in complex and different histories that have shared, borrowed, and assimilated each other, makes me feel more confident that there is no supreme yoga form, and that the myriad differences of yoga practices are in fact what is so beautiful about today’s diverse array of praxes.
But enough of the theory. What I think a lot of us found most significant about this past weekend was that we concluded the alignment segment of our training with Chrisandra. In studying my notes from over the past month or so to prepare for our exam, I found myself amazed at how much material we had covered. Studying and preparing for the test helped me to further synthesize it all, and even begin to better integrate alignment into my own practice. Over the past week, I’ve noticed that I’ve been giving myself additional cues in the yoga classes that I have attended, and that my own home practice has been much more alignment conscious. I’ve even found myself more aware of my body’s alignment while walking, sitting, and just simply moving through space. It amazes me how unaware of these things that I’ve been for so much of my life.
After we finished our test, we broke into groups of three and engaged in a round-robin teaching sequence. It was challenging, and also rewarding, to integrate the cues and understanding of form and function into teaching our peers. Through this I realized how much I had really learned, and of course how much more I need to learn. Chrisandra reminded us that in a sense, we are only still in the figurative first trimester of the training, and that as it proceeds we will be able to develop our teaching capacities so much more deeply. What a relief to hear this! I think that it really resonated with a lot of us. I know that we will all miss learning from Chrisandra, and I imagine that we’ll be showing up to her yoga classes as much as we can now!