Monday, June 30, 2008
Sunday, June 29, 2008
Saturday, June 28, 2008
Blending Sutra 1.12 with Tantric Buddhist thought and her own experiences, she suggested "curiosity" and "rapture" as two other requirements for staying present and set the stage for the practice. Wanda was inspired to quote LL Cool J, "Persistence removes Resistance." When the question, "When does persistence become resistance?" was raised, Patricia responded with something like, "When there is not enough vairagya, or surrender."
I loved the set up for her class. Because one of the way Patricia plays is to offer the key points of resistance within the posture to enhance and delay and open new and unexpected areas. This keeps you from just sliding into where its easy and familiar, possibly boring and overworked. This way of working breaks patterns.
Sutra 1.12 These thought patterns (vrittis) are mastered (nirodhah, regulated, coordinated, controlled, stilled, quieted) through practice (abhyasa) and non-attachment (vairagya).
We had a few peeps in the workshop that were not there yesterday, so we did a little review of the actions of the sacrum with cat/cow.
Twisting Uttanasana with sacrum and leg play. Lots of emphasis on drawing the tailbone down.
From Dog, Rounding Knee to Forehead and Up and Back, playing with the delay of straightening the leg. The action of "drawing the front hip bones together" has never been available to me. But all the belly work that we have been doing has made it clear. There is a spontaneous uddiyana bandha that occurs. Particularly the one where the middle section of the belly is relaxed forward. I forget the name of that action.
Lunge with a lot of foreword movement in tailbone and pressing of back foot down.
Creating the arch in the front spine like the Dancer.
Cobra with partners acting as "squeezer" on legs so you could press "out". This created tremendous space in the low back and hips. Instead of just flopping into childs, work the active rounding towards child's pose.
We also worked a very cool back release by resisting the drawing in of the knees into the chest. The action created a work in the front hip flexors that created a release. Tucker noticed this and then it allowed me to notice that it helped soften that gnarly front hip nerve pain that can get in the way of apanasana.
We worked the shoulders in very cool ways to set up for pincha mayurasana. She had us lay on the floor with a block between our legs, our arms extended from our shoulders and either blankets or blocks on the hands. The play was to twist and allow extended arm to "cactus" and roll up. This was super cool and allowed all sorts of magical understanding in the shoulder blades. Hopefully we have a picture of it for me to post.
Then we did the block between the hands thing. Wanda's particular shoulders allowed for an amazing exploration deep in the scapula. Patricia leaves so much space to work 1:1 with the peeps and allows the rest of us to gather and learn. I have learned so much from about teaching.
We combined the pressing out of the legs in cobra with the "knitting of the ribs" from bridge yesterday into camel today.
Rounding forward folds. Janu Sirsasana has come back into my life this workshop. I am so grateful.
Low Back Awareness, Leg Positioning
Hamstring Stretch with Strap
Transition All Fours
Spring Training Arm Circles
Shoulder openers with Strap
2 Rounds Easy Lunge Salutes
Warrior 2 Dance
Nostril Nadi Awareness
Roll onto Backs
Bridge Pose x 2
Eye of the Needle Stretch
Easy Spinal Twist
Knees to Chest
Supine BK Play
4 Drop In
Tara and Alicia and Amber from the TT came to class today. So that was super fun. Tara is getting married tomorrow! I still felt a little out of sorts at the start of class, but was happy to see everyone and just trusted what was coming through.
Easy Cross Legged Forward Fold
Easy Side Bend
Chest Press Dandasana
Transition All Fours
Roll up to Standing
Standing Pattern 1
Warrior 2 Dance
Roll into Cobra
Step Forward Opposite Foot
Repeat Standing Sequence Other Side
Standing Pose Pattern 2
Horse with Eagle Arms (Both Sides)
Warrior 2 Dance
Rounding into Updog
Roll back Dog
Step Forward Opposite Foot
Repeat Sequence on Other Side
Prana Nadi Nostril Awareness
Galvasana to Half Lord of Fishes Blueprint (Repeat Other Side)
Forward Fold of Choice
We began with Pranayama at 7am.
This was out of my routine and so I was not really present.
Most mornings at 7am, I am waking up and making coffee and on the computer.
First we created some breathing room and space.
Then she had calm our minds with palms on forehead and over the eyes.
Then we did brahmari. We set up with a blanket under our spines and our heads falling just off the blanket to create an opening in the throat.
Incredibly cool and absorbing. We plugged our ears and made a buzzing sound. It was wild how loud it was inside, but it was also cool to hear the other bees in the room.
Then we made a little more space.
Kept the blanket under our spines and put a bolster under our heads to create a little throat lock.
I have no idea what the next technique was. I went away immediately. Deep inner journey. Could not focus on her suggestions or even pretend to care.
Maybe Alana will blog about it cuz she was in heaven.
Friday, June 27, 2008
I love how geeky and specific she gets but in a way that opens us to the mystery within each of us. She makes sure that we understand the rules and concepts and then sets us free to play.
We began in a circle chanting vowel sounds.
Sweet and open and relaxed.
Then, using a spine and pelvis model, she gave a lecture on the movements of the sacrum and the pelvis and the interrelationship.
The most profound moment for me here was the realization of the connection between the words sacred and sacrum. Patricia was very profound. I found this online tonight:
THE MEANING OF SACRED
Established patriarchal religions have defined sacred as being separate from nature. It is no coincidence that the word sacred is related to the sacral region of anatomy; the sacrum the triangular bone at the base of the spine. The Greeks called it the "hieron osteon", "hieron" not only means sacred but also "temple." It is a temple in the sense that the sacrum creates the dorsal wall of the pelvis. In the female the sacrum protects the ovaries and uterus, the organs of creation. The Romans called the bone the "os sacrum," which literally meant the "holy bone". "Sacrum" relates to the Latin word "sacer" meaning "sacred", or "sacra" meaning "holy, consecrated". The sacrum is the last bone in the body to decompose therefore it was believed that someone could be reassembled in the afterlife from its remains. The sacrum consists of five separate vertebrae that fuse together between ages 18 and 30, to become one bone. The last sacral vertebra sits just above the coccyx, which in many animal species is the beginning of the tail.
The sacrum is also known as the vertebra magna. The closely related words of "magma", referring to molten rock within the earth, and "magnus", meaning great, can be of interest, especially when thinking about "from dust you came, to dust you shall return." We can obviously summarize that the sacrum is an important "root", a seat of special power that stems back to stories of origin.
After the lecture, we started with a Cat/Cow on the forearms. She guided us to play with the squeezing of the thighs towards each other and apart to play with the relationship in the hips and the pelvis. Then we also played with the drawing in and widening of the arm bones to change the relationship of the shoulder blades in the posture.
We came to downward facing dog and played with the same actions and added the "twist".
Slow deliberate Child's Pose (the delay of the inevitable).
Seated Dandasana with easy Twisting Action to understand leg and Sacrum Connection.
Twisting from Uttanasana we explored the drawing back of the sacrum and the drawing "forward" or "lengthening" or "backbending" of the other side.
We then explored Standing Sidebending with the Xhandor Style Arms.
Squat Play. The delay, the creation of resistance to create more space.
Easy slow repeatable movements to start to get a relationship with how we are put together before moving towards more complicated postures. And as is always revealed, different actions are required for each body which is why the internal understanding is so critical.
We played with the actions in Warrior 2, Triangle, Parsvottansana and Twisting Triangle, Warrior 1 and Revolved Side Angle Pose.
It was super fun to watch Patricia work and tune each posture and understanding.
In Warrior 2 and Triangle we geeked out on using the drawing back of the sacrum on the back leg to create the lift and space.
In Pyramid and Twisting Triangle, the drawing of the back sit bone down to ground and give the sacrum leverage to open and twist up.
We did Warrior 1 like dancers, playing with keeping the back knee bent to allow the front curve to be more fluid like water. Then we used a side bend to move from Warrior 1 to Revolved Side Angle Pose.
Upavishta Konasana Play
Revolving Head to Knee Pose
Janu Sirsasana (This was my favorite. The drawing up and back of the sacrum on the extended leg side, combined with allowing that hip to externally rotate a bit by allowing the front foot to drop open was so sweet. The backbend on the side of the bend knee was kept soft with a little extra navel action and so there was barely any need to fold forward cuz there was so much cool geeky stuff happening in the pelvis.)
Bridge Pose x 2 with emphasis on keeping ribs soft and "knit" until very last moment.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Monday, June 23, 2008
Saturday, June 21, 2008
Friday, June 20, 2008
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
We had a big day today.
We heard voices and danced in the creativity of 7 of the peeps.
Donna, Tara, Winifred Ashley, Robert, Nicole and Alicia all lead us through their unique sun salutations. Super Fun and Hot!
Then I led us through a horse, squirt, front splits, side splits sequence. Frog with blankets and crawling. A little Lotus Play. Some Bridge Play. Viparrita Karni. Casual Plow, Karni Pindasana, fish variation and spinal twist. (This turned out to be perfect prep for sitting in the sweat lodge later).
Gathered and assigned the Asana Homework. Talked a little about instruction cuing, but this group really seems to learn best by doing. The we did thai massage savasana adjustments.
Tonight was super special. Hema's partner, Andrew led us in a sweat lodge. Most of the group was there. Some very powerful stories came forth. Very big prayers. Afterwards we all piled out and layed on the grass and got hosed down. There was a full moon and a slow shooting star (some think it was a meteor). I began to dance and move and it was like all nooks and crannies of my body were getting loosened. The demon in my throat seems to have taken leave.
Then we ate and communed. I am so blessed and lucky.
Monday, June 16, 2008
1 New, 4 from TT
So exhausted. I had no idea how I was going to pull of class. But sometimes this state can reveal a lot. The day had gotten hot so assumed that everyone felt the same way I did. This was a totally new sequence and approach. At some point i stopped feeling self conscious about the TT peeps in the class and allowed the class to be for their learning as well as the group.
Legs up wall with Strap
Hip Opener @ Wall
Cross legged Side Bending
Transition All Fours
Roll up to Standing
Transition to Wall
Roll up to Standing
Shoulder Opener @ Wall
Repeat Pattern 1
Wall Lunge Sequence
Cactus @ Wall Sequence
Down Dog @ Wall with Lobster Hands 2 x and with Leg Lift
Bridge Pose 2x
Upward Facing Bow Pose at Wall
Rest Knees to Chest
with Cross Legged Hold
supine BK sequence
Roll up to Sitting
Pigeon (I never teach this in basics so it was fun to see the results)
Restorative with neck Support and 1/2 BK
The last several days we have been marinating, slipping into Ojai pace. Practice relaxing, looking, touching. Learning the alignment cues. Today I introduced the classic patterns of Surya Namaskar A, B, and C. I introduce these and look at them so that we can discuss classic patterns and understand the roots of the vinyasa practice.
But this will be the last time I focus on these. I realize that in the training, I am still not introducing enough of my teaching style. I am trying to get too much done and not sharing enough of myself. My efforts to keep and wide and open do not work with 16 peeps. It worked when there were 10. The kids that have come from far have no context for what I am teaching. The peeps that kick it at the studio have such an advantage of context. I need to provide more context and relax about making sure the "know it all".
Tomorrow we will start embark on the path of learning how to teach vinyasa. I can feel the doubt, the worry, the wonder, it was "that day". That day in the training that blows things up to the surface. People are sharing alot of fear.Now it is my job to create the space where it can all come back together.
We used the chanting of the parts of AUM and the Gayatri to center. I had not planned that, but it seemed to be fine. The Gayatri is the Sun Salutation Mantra.
Sun Salutation Discussion
Different Peeps Demoed so we could look at the elements of the Sun Salutations and talk about them.
Sun Salutation Practice
We did A, B, and C.
Then we riffed off this to dial in the elements of the transitions, chaturanga, updog, and warrior 1. We went as long as seemed appropriate for the group.
Standing Pose Practice
Get in other people's skin.
I am not sure that this was successful. This is how I practice, I get into other people's body's and connect with what's happening. This is a compassion practice. I got the idea to share it the other day on a hike. Needs work. Maybe some things came through. I also realized as we were doing it, this is why I barely teach postures in SWG. But it was fresh so I am pleased with that.
Revolving Head to Knee Pose with Partners
Not sure this was successful...wanted to introduce more looking with more active touching. However, lots of great dialogue among the peeps around what was working for them and what was not. We learned a new adjustment technique from Alicia. Maybe I approached adjusting the posture too casually. Cuz all these injuries and complaints began to arise.
This was the moment that the discussion took a really interesting turn. Suddenly we were looking at Upvishta Konasana. A pose I never teach cuz it's so ridiculously hard for so many people. And it was revealed that almost everyone cept Meghan hates it. As all the revealed pains and frustrations were coming up I had to restrain myself not to start fixing them, but allow the discussion to open towards why do a pose that's hard. To pay attention to the idea that you should learn something about yourself and eventually you will be able to do it. I learned so much about the group in this moment. How to be attentive and focused to your practice with out attachment to the results. This is the major challenge of a teacher.
We shared Goal Poses.
Robert and Casey: Scorpian
Meghan: Twisted Root Handstand
Alicia: To Fly
Jaclyn: Peacock Backbend and Crane
Nicole: Seated Forward Fold
This was awesome to learn. I will most likely approach some of the trickier ones individually, but lotus and handstand are at the top of the list for later in the week.
We broke the discussion and took a restorative backbend.
3:30 to 4:00pm Break
4:00 Andrew spoke to us about the sweat lodge that he is going to hold for the group tomorrow night. Wow! What a gift and a treat.
4:35 Wrap Up Discussion
Assigned Homework of designing a sun salutation and teaching it.
We practiced drawing stick figures.
We shared Favorite Poses:
Jaclyn: Standing Bow Pose
Hema: Wheel and Headstand
Tara: Handstand at the Wall
Ashley: Wheel and Side Plank
Winifred: Reclining Twist
Sarah: Eagle and Wheel
Jim: Standing Twists
Robert: Raja Kapotanasana Prep
Meghan and Meghan: Tittibasana
Casey: Locust and King pigeon
Amber: Coming up from a Backbend
Alana: Handstand and Camel
Group Om with different people starting it.
Happy Birthday to AMBER!
The energy in the studio lately has been really thick and quiet. Everyone pours in and is able to sit right away. Sarah, from Boulder is visiting for the teacher training and she is totally blown away by the Ojai style of arriving at class just in time.
Cross Legged Forward Fold, Side Bending, Slumpy Dandasana and Chest Press Dandasana
Transition to All Fours
Roll up to Tadasana
3 Rounds OM
2 Rounds Lunge Salute Pattern
Lunge Pattern to:
Warrior 2 Dance
1/2 bound or bound Parsvakonasana
Deep Hip Opener
Roll into Updog
Roll back to DownDog
Step Forward and Repeat Other Side
Galvasana to Half Lord of Fishes
Cow Face Both Sides
Sunday, June 15, 2008
Saturday, June 14, 2008
I am holding the group back, or maybe we are still getting to know each other, but they are ready to take off. Such a bright and brilliant group. I am learning so much.
And I had the realization tonight on my hike after class that I have been arriving with a "plan." Now I don't know exactly how things are going to go down within that plan, like i am not really sure what I am going to say and I don't know the questions that will come up, but I am more "organized" than I usually am for class. I suppose it's cuz I have not done this enough, but I had the hit that it is too uptight and not as representative as it could be if I relaxed a little more.
Today we did this:
Partner Hip Work at the Wall
Legs Wide and in Baddha Konasana
Talk about the "Myth of the Pose" and the "Process of Asana"
weaving the Joel Kramer quote in, understanding how things are continually in flux and changing...you, the students...the asanas....
Good feedback on the "Effort Effect"
Questions that will be brought back in and answered:
Alicia, "Do you share your process in class?"
Robert's "Can you speak more about a safe place"
Donna "how long did it take"?
We have a couple injuries and body mischief that is being revealed:
Sarah's lower back and hip
Nicole's psoas and hip
This seems to point towards a "case study" "moving towards the dead end of the solution" question.
10 minute break
Practice to explore 2 different ways to get into Triangle
Roll to Standing
Prana Lines of Arms
Prana Arm Extension Exercise
Lunge Salute Pattern 1:
PP (find lines of legs)
Transition to Standing Wide Leg
Warrior 2 Dance
Step Forward Repeat Other Side
Lunge Pattern 2
Blue Print Side Angle Pose
Wrapped Side Angle
Deep Low Hip Lunge
Twisting Lunge to Straight Leg
Side Plank Other Side
Step Forward and Repeat Standing Sequence Other Side
Gather and Look at:
Looked and saw where there could be more space and where there could be more stability. It was really fun to see where different shapes had come from. Donna is a Bikram teacher in Ashland and her Warrior 2 looks like the Bikram Triangle. Casey practice Ashtanga in Utah and his and Meghan's triangles were the Ashtanga patterns. So we just played with unraveling those patterns a little towards something that might be more successful. I think this was fun. I am learning how to allow the group to solve the "problem" instead of me and it seems to be working.
Then we broke back out to our mats.
Half Lord of the Fishes Pose
Cow Face Pose
Supported Heart Opener or Supported BK
It was already 4:35 when we said "namaste".
So took a short 15 minutes break.
Regathered to start to look at "How to Break Down a Posture"
Used Urdhva Dhanurasana.
No one seemed to have any trouble with the concept.
So assigned Step 1 and 2 of Sequencing Homework.
Sung Happy Birthday to Winifred.