This weekend's teacher training was very draining. We are nearing the phase in the program where we're finally starting to sequence asana classes (level 1 classes) for beginners. The thought there is, many teachers go through a program and start teaching right afterwards thinking that a beginner class would be a cakewalk, but the level 2 or 3 classes will be hard because the poses are more challenging. That's inaccurate.
More advanced classes require less instruction and less adjustment because the people in those classes are more familiar with the poses -- even if only the foundational poses -- and much more familiar with their bodies and their limits. This is not the case with beginner classes.
In Level 1, folks attend who are inflexible and require modification. You get people who are weak, overweight, unbalanced... really, a good level 1 teacher is able to sequence something for anybody, and they are likely accomplished yogis themselves so are able to step it up whenever they want. A good level 1 teacher can instruct his or her "regulars" into a more advanced pose at the same time as showing a beginner a modification including a block or strap. It's really an art. Luckily, Shakti has some brilliant instructors. And it's not hippie yoga either, which I love.
So, we're starting our teaching by learning to sequence a level 1 class. That means getting your left and right correct, being able to describe poses and what people should feel, and pacing it all so that it is neither too easy nor too strenuous for these tricky students.
Saturday, we went around the room and walked through our sequences, pointing out when a sequence was too short or too long or had too many hard poses, or when something might need more explanation. I actually did mine on Friday night and it was both too long, as well as a strong level 2 class. (That's just me though -- it was a good flow class, which is my personal style.) I got a lot of criticism (all constructive) and everything was fine. The level-1 purists piled on but when you take it from a place of humility, everyone joins in to support that and it really encourages the "family" of our class.
Near the end of the day on Saturday though, nerves were a little shot, people were a tired and by the time we got around to our last person of the day, things got ugly. I think this person was nervous to begin with but that doesn't excuse the behavior -- in which there was extreme defensiveness and lashing out at people. I'm sure this person was embarrassed on Sunday (or maybe not -- but I sort of hope they were because it was definitely something to learn from) but we don't hold it against people. Still, it really left Saturday with a bad taste in my mouth. Most everyone is working really hard and nerves get frayed. But it shows how far some people have to come in their own constitution -- all yoga aside -- to reach a more in-tuned place in their lives.
Sunday was much better. Diana, as she is so adept at doing, addressed the previous day's misfire right at the top and brought us all to a much healthier place as a class. That set up the rest of the day (though, the person from the day before who exploded at people for not respecting her, is among the worst transgressors when it comes to giving attentive body language -- always laying down and "stretching her back" and whatnot).
We spent a few hours on our own, "teaching" ourselves our sequences, ironing out the transitions and working through the timing and making sure we had enough in there. My revised sequence went much better, and after doing my sequence, I felt so rested -- like I'd actually done a level 1. That made me feel really good. Also, I didn't break a sweat so I know that it's not a level 2. Yay!
After yoga, I went to a movie with a friend: Hot Fuzz. Hilarious and a little bit disturbing/gory. I recommend it despite the complete sensory overload (too many cut scenes). It makes me want to see Shaun of the Dead, which is by the same folks, and acted in by the same lead -- who is one of the writers. Really funny stuff. Very novel. Also, very British.
I experienced a slightly awkward moment at the end of the night during the farewell exchange, when my foot slipped off the brake. Uh... flustered. In any case, it was a fun night and the company was nice -- as it always is with this individual. I don't think the slippage was anything to make a fuss over, it was just a miscue. I'm all about the miscue, it would seem. Que sera sera.
On my way home, I went to the grocery store to buy FOOD! I bought onions, garlic, parsnips, carrots, celery, organic vegetable broth, whole yogurt with live cultures (no kefir!?!), and OJ. When I got home, I sauteed the onions and garlic in olive oil -- wow, what a wonderful smell!?!?! Then I diced up all the vegetables and put everything (minus the yogurt and orange juice) into the Crockpot on low. I'm supposed to come off the cleanse very slowly with just OJ today, but I'm going to have some of the vegetable broth too. I may even give some of the stewed parsnips and carrots a try.
I'm not trying to get back on real food too quickly, I just think my body moves a little faster than the inventor of the cleanse wrote his book for. As they say, every body is different. He said there'd be headaches and hunger for the first two days and I had neither (for food). Also, I did yoga and worked every day, while many people must take vacation and be in bed a lot. I'm just different. I get that.
So, I'm back on the (chuck) wagon, and ready to EAT. I can't wait for Wednesday when I'll have some real, real food.