Thursday, January 17, 2008

Yogini In the Making

My first class in my yoga teacher training was tonight, and it was amazing! I'm so jazzed! Basic outline of the evening: first, meet and greet. We told our yoga stories. One girl was in tears b/c she got into yoga to help her through grieving her mom's death, and today was the five-year anniversary. I wanted so much to walk across the room and give her a hug, but I though that might have made her uncomfortable. We covered some basic housekeeping stuff. We did a hot yoga core power 2 class which totally kicked my butt and felt sooo good. We broke for dinner and a shower. (I really needed the shower-- my clothes were soaked. I've never had beads of sweat like that before-- my whole upper body was slick. Sweat was standing out on my shoulders and arms. I felt so buff. I have to remember to hydrate a ton.) We met again from 7:20 to 10pm and talked more about how the program was set up, what we would learn, basic philosophies of vinyasa yoga (have a drishte, or point of focus, breath is the most important thing, etc.), and then covered the "integration pod," or first three poses in a CorePower vinyasa class, which are child's pose, down dog, and rag doll.

That part was the coolest-- one of us got in the center of the circle and did exactly what the group told them. As a group, we developed three concise cues we can use in classes to bring our students into each pose. This was harder than I thought it would be, especially for down dog. That is such a simple yet complicated pose, if that makes any sense. When you think you've got it, you learn there's this whole other level of stuff you can do with it, like melting your heart forward.
Here's what downward dog looks like:

In terms of my own place in the class, I'm feeling pretty comfy. I was worried that everyone was going to be super-yogis already. Some are. And many do have that anorexic dancer physique. But there are also people like me-- in shape but with some "gravy," as Clifton would say. ("I like some gravy with my mashed potatoes," AKA, I like curvy girls.) And I was surprised that I wasn't alone in going into child's pose at certain points during the class-- some people even walked out to cool down. (I did too, but just to refill my water bottle.) I feel confident that I'll be up to speed soon. I think I'm more flexible than some in many of the poses because of all the yin/foundational stuff I did in Reno. At the same time, my body needs some time to readjust to this new approach, not to mention the heat. And I'm definitely near the top of the class in terms of philosophy and participation. One teacher already said, "Someone else answer besides Colleen." And I brought some interesting questions today. For instance, during our discussion about breath, one teacher asked how we feel when we pant. Answers ran along the lines of, "scared," "stressed out," etc. And (brilliant yogini that I am), I asked, "Now, how does breath of fire, like in Kundalini, fit into that?" Some eyebrows lifted then.

(But given the devotion to a non-competitive spirit in yoga, forgot I just ended that paragraph with a comparison of myself to the others. You never read that.)

I like the teachers and students, too. All of the students are women. One is older, perhaps in her forties. The rest look like they're in their mid-twenties. There's a fifth grade teacher. Some run marathons. One is from Russia originally, another from Germany. (I want to take classes from them... I bet I could totally get a deeper meditation going with those accents guiding my practice.) One girl, Liz, who walked me toward my car at the end of the night, has spent the last five years traveling around the world, mostly Asia. She actually got turned on to yoga in the first place by a shaman in India. Sheesh. :)

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