Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Anatomy Studies for Yoga Teachers!!!!!

I was taking a break from the blog while I completed the 108-hour Anatomy Studies for Yoga Teachers certification with Jason Brown.  It was awesome!

First we studied the bones and joints, then the muscles and their roles. The final component was a week-long intensive where we analyzed poses from an anatomical perspective to figure out where strength or flexibility is needed and how to facilitate that in the poses. We also discussed the potential benefits from a musculo-skeletal perspective, skillful alignment,  as well as alignment issues that might arise and how to approach those challenges in class. This last week brought everything together beautifully and I feel like my understanding has shifted from black and white 2D to 3D HD.  Instead of just regurgitating poses as I was taught to - I can now confidently analyze what is going on in the body for each pose and use that understanding to build a sequence that makes a whole lot of sense.

I am proud that I completed this course. It is indispensable and I highly recommend  it to any movement professional. In fact I think it should be a requirement!

I am looking forward to returning to the Iyengar sequences to see how this new perspective will affect my experience and understanding of them. Here's to anatomy! Thank you Jason!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Iyengar Course 2 Week 37 (Ariana)

My husband's grandmother passed away on May 22nd. She was brilliant, inquisitive, loving and vibrant. She was 93 and had a better memory than I do. For instance, she recently reminded me of the first time we met - where, what day, what year. She had problems with her vision and yet always commented on my nice earrings. One of my last conversations with her was about yoga and my anatomy courses. She was always interested. She made me feel like part of the immediate family. We will all miss her.

I didn't feel like practicing much until the last few days. I approached week 36 with nonchalance - only because I did not want to let too much time pass. The practice felt good but my mind was elsewhere and sad. I warmed up with sun salutations and then went for Headstand and Shoulderstand. Headstand was unpleasant. I struggled to press up and resorted to kicking up. I felt too much pressure at the top of my head. This was a disappointment because recently I did it in the middle of an open field (with the help of a friend) and it felt great. Shoulderstand was better.

My husband and daughter came home to find me in half lotus in the living room. My daughter was SO excited that I was doing yoga and immediately came over and sat on my lotus lap. I thought it was going to hurt but her almost 5 year old body is still very light. She wanted to do the rest of the poses with me and asked me to put her purple mat next to mine. We did lion pose (Simhasana) together. I love that she knows this pose. She did Urdhva Dhanurasana for the very first time. She has tried to do  it before but actually was able to press up this time.  And then she wanted to watch a Charlie Brown video. I gave in as I thought it would allow me to finish the sequence. I did Savasana while listening to the theme song. Wasn't so bad. I did not feel like doing the pranayama - just didn't have the focus for it.

I am not feeling aligned with the Iyengar method lately.  I went to an Iyengar yoga class on Sunday, but did not enjoy it. I am questioning the reason behind many of the common instructions like "lifting the quadriceps" in standing poses and having the thigh of the bent leg parallel to the floor in some of the Warrior poses. The anatomy class is changing my perspective and that is a good thing. I think lifting the kneecaps and quads is encouraging my hyper extension of the knees. And when I try to get my left thigh parallel to the floor in Warrior 2 it aggravates my hip and hamstring.  I glanced around the room to look at everyone's tadasana after the teacher had finished the list of cues. And most people looked rigid and way too tense in the legs, shoulders and neck. Letting go of these kinds of instructions has been helping to make my practice more pleasant.