The journey of becoming a yoga teacher.
This past weekend we learned about the history of ancient India from Darren. I don’t remember learning about the history of India in elementary school textbooks, which did cover ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. And, that’s a shame, because this period in India contributed so much to the spiritual realm, including the Mahabharata, which contains the Bhagavad Gita. We also learned about the 3 gunas, which are used to discern Ayurvedic body types, and how they relate to different types of yoga. One of the takeaways from the night in terms of applying this to being a yoga teacher is to be aware of the proclivities of our students — whether they tend toward the passion and activeness of styles like Vinyasa/Bikram/Ashtanga or if they gravitate more toward Yin and Restorative — and then invite them to to try a style that’s a direct counterpoint to their typical practice.
In continuing to study alignment with Sean, this weekend was all about the shoulders. Like everything else with yoga, in focusing on the shoulders, it’s all about striving for a balance between openness and strength. One of the takeaways from this class was the importance of the wrists in stabilizing and supporting the shoulders. And more specifically, the importance of “the claw”, which sounds like the sequel to “The Blob”. This refers to the way the fingertips should claw during poses where the hands are part of the foundation, like downward dog. This engages the forearm, stabilizing the shoulders and wrists. It also has the added bonus of lifting the carpal tunnel, pulling the weight out of the wrists. This is so important for those of us who have suffered from carpal tunnel syndrome. So, “clawing” is now on my radar for poses that rely on the hands. The challenge, however, is clawing the fingertips while making sure to keep the knuckle of the index finger down, which also has a stabilizing effect.