I didn’t mean to go so long without posting. Much has happened since I posted over two months ago and I have thought about posting on various things that have happened but just have not done so. Sometimes we all just need a break from writing for the virtual world and I guess I did. I’ll catch up with a post on my current yoga teacher training.
This past weekend marked the half way mark of my current 200 hour yoga teacher training. It always looks so long at the beginning but then the time passes so quickly. The training has been intense and very good. I have been challenged in many ways. Last month we focused on inversions during the asana portion. Inversions are quite emotional for me because I cannot do many of them due to limitations with my eyes. A handstand isn’t worth blurry vision. There are some variations that I can do but they are never complete headstands. Though I struggle with not being able to do various poses, I also know that it doesn’t make a huge difference in the long run and that I am still an effective yoga teacher without doing handstands.
This month also presented a challenge: back bends. Again, I am limited in back bends due to my eyes though I can do more with back bends than I can with inversions. We did a lot of back bends this weekend. A lot… The most interesting thing about back bends is that you don’t have to be upside down to back bend. I think when many people think about the pose they automatically think about wheel but it is certainly not the only back bend. One of the foundational poses for teaching back bend is actually a standing pose: Virabhadrasana I (Warrior 1). Bhujangasana or cobra is also a back bend which begins on your stomach. In fact, there are many back bends that never require you to be upside down.
One of the things I truly appreciated about all the back bending we did this weekend was the very careful and thoughtful preparation through the practice. Part of this is the nature of the alignment based practice I am studying but a large part of it is the teachers who are leading this training. We work carefully and precisely through preparation for poses, look at our teachers in poses as well as one another to learn the cues and observe the differences in a range of bodies, and then practice. By the time we finished on Saturday I felt like I could have gone a few steps farther into more advanced back bends. My spine was ready. On Sunday we were just as careful in warming up our bodies and preparing. There were several preparatory and variations offered for wheel. We used chairs as assistance to move into back bends. This really helps move into the position and then gradually move deeper into a back bend. Some people can actually get to a wheel but some of us can’t. I was able to get to a point with one block under my head but then began feeling like it wasn’t a good position for me to stay in.
The training is not just about the physical asana practice, however. We spend equal time discussing and practicing meditation. We have practiced a number of chants and experimented with different kinds of meditation. The study of anatomy is also a large part of this training. I’ll catch up on some of the other things we have been learning and looking at so far as well as other things that have been happening. I won’t let it be so long before the next post.