What Yoga has Taught Me about Teaching

  1. Set an intention / Create an objective. — Because if this is a thing worth doing, it’s worth knowing why you’re doing it. At the very least, this will help bring you back when the forces that be try to distract you.
  2. Prepare your foundation. — Just like I wouldn’t enter into headstand or any deep backbend before doing the physical and mental preparation necessary to do it safely, it’s also not a great idea to proceed through a lesson without a pretty thorough understanding of the overall plan. Both have increased odds of doing something embarrassing in front of a class.
  3. Speaking of which, you will do something embarrassing in front of a class. — Fart. Fall over. Wear two different shoes and not realize it until fifth period. Unfortunately, I’ve found that the best way to make peace with these moments is to have as many of them as possible. Fortunately, I’ve found that both teaching and yoga are happy to comply.
  4. Learning to remain calm and focused in — physically or emotionally — uncomfortable situations has value. — See above.
  5. It is good to learn your limits and to be able to see them coming in advance. — For safety and all.
  6. A meaningful best practice — yoga or teaching — is one that is sustainable. — Being the most awesome for five weeks is less great if you burn out at ten.
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This is going to get me through the month of August.

You know, that month when I’m back to school with children, once again honing my time management skills from pretty good to superhero-esque. This time of year asks that I become very particular and focused about what I want from my asana practice:

  • I’m probably not going to have a whole lot of time on any given day, so I need something that’s safe to do in about 30 minutes or so. In other words, no “peak poses” that require extended prep or warm-up work: August is not my month for perfecting splits.
  • It is likely I will want a practice on the more vigorous end of the physical spectrum, either because I have physical energy or because I want energizing.
  • My mental focus is not going to be at the top of its game. This means both that I’ll want a sequence that offers a relatively lot of repetitions of relatively few postures** and that I’ll want to avoid postures that require me to be paying the most attention. Just like hanumanasana, upward facing two foot staff should probably not be in my regular short-term rotation.

Also, I realize that I do not need and ultimate transformative practice for this point in time. Rather, I need something that is solid and sustainable and good enough for right now.

In light of all that, this is what I’ve come up with:

  1. One warm up sun salute with:

    • 5 rounds in and out of forward fold;
    • 5 rounds in and out of cobra;
    • 5 breaths in some kind of mobile down dog
  2. 5 rounds of sun salute A;
  3. Modified sun salutes B, one each:
    • 5 breaths in and out of Warrior 2;
    • 5 breaths holding Warrior 2;
    • 5 breaths moving between radiant warrior and side angle;
    • 5 breaths holding side angle;
    • 5 breaths holding triangle;
  4. 5 more sun salutes A;
  5. 1 sun salute A with a held plank, moving into and out of one-handed plank for 5 breaths on each side;
  6. camel, 10 breaths;
  7. low lunge twist, 10 breaths per side;
  8. wide-legged forward fold, 10 breaths;
  9. reclined twist, 5 breaths per side;
  10. savasana.

    The few times I’ve tried this, it’s taken between 25 and 35 minutes, depending on the day and how long I hold savasana.

    This is a routine to which I can commit — most days — through one of my busiest months.

    ** But not too repetitive because then I will be like, “Fuck this shit,” and I won’t do it.

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Things that are Awesome

I am pretty proud of my interview with Dr. David Garcia, candidate for Superintendent of Public Instruction who is endorsed by both the Arizona Education Association and Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona.

If you’re in Arizona, you should check it out.

If you’re not sure why any Planned Parenthood affiliate is endorsing a candidate for Superintendent of Public Instruction, you should especially check it out.

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Dear Spam Mail

You would probably get further in life, albeit only slightly, if you amended your salutation to be more inclusive than “Dear Sir.” This is pretty much a red flag that you didn’t even try.

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Quick Note: Light Posting Here, Heavy Posting Elsewhere

It’s election season in Arizona again, which means I’ve rejoined the nefarious underground of citizens in support of candidates who stand for such “extremism” as:

  • Public education that is adequately funded and that values the contributions of education professionals. (Because, you know, we can either fund public schools or private prisons; I see no reason we should give preference to the latter.)
  • Affordable and accessible health care, including sexual and reproductive health care. (Because, you know, people are actually the bosses of their own gonads, after all.)

I’ll link back here when things get published, but if posting volume seems lighter than usual here, that is why.

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Free Yoga Friday: What I Also Didn’t Review

Sorry to bring you a not-so-content-filled post, but I’ve actually spent a fair amount of time either going to class or practicing my own sequences at home. As such, it’s left somewhat less time for finding and trying out practices I want to review. (I need to try each practice at least twice — three times for longer ones — before I feel comfortable writing about it.) So here are some that I’ve elected not to try a second time. As noted before, there are a variety of reasons I might opt not to try a practice a second time, and I’m discovering that one of the most common ones is that I’m simply not the target demographic for a particular sequence.

While I’m not posting anything I noted to be unsafe, of course, I always recommend using your own best judgment.

Beginners Power Yoga For Flexibility

Yoga for Health: Immune Boosting Yoga Flow Sequence

Yoga for Women – Yoga For Cramps and PMS

If you are motivated to consider any of them in more detail than I have, consider this an official invitation to guest post. :)

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More Boob Yoga Fun

I’m at yoga class. It’s been a good class.

We’re toward the end of class, and we’re getting ready to go into wheel. Specifically, we’re getting ready to enter wheel near a wall — which can, for folks who have a solid foundation in wheel, be an excellent way to use the wall as a prop to inform the pose. That is, I can compare where parts of my body are in relation to the wall and can work to move certain parts either toward or away from the wall. (In this case, it’s usually bringing some portion of the upper body — upper arms, shoulders, chest — moving closer to the wall.)

Today, my teacher gives an unfortunate direction.

“See if you can bring your collar bone to touch the wall.”

My collar bone? I can’t. I’ll tell you right now.

I have these things; they are called breasts. They start just below my collar bone and sort of stick out funny — and substantially — from there. Especially when my torso is upside down, and their usual gravitational arrangement is reversed.

I’m pretty comfortable and confident in my wheel pose. I know that sans wall, I can bring my upper chest happily through the base that my arms make. I’m also comfortable and confident in my body; I know what my breasts will and won’t let me do.

So I catch her eye. I smile. And I sort of gesture. Toward my boobs.

She smiles back.

“Some of you may find that moving slightly more away from the wall helps you get the benefits of this pose.”

Front view of woman in black sports bra.

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