Don’t Be So Touchy

I didn’t grow up in a touchy feely home. I don’t remember us being big huggers or anything. Not that it was a cold house—we just weren’t an overly affectionate family. Needless to say, I’m not one of those girls who hugs my girlfriends every time I see them. I’m not even overly huggy-snuggly with my husband (much to his dismay). It’s not that I don’t love these people in my life fiercely—I just like to give people their space.

Maybe it’s because I generally like my own space.

Fast-forward to my yoga teacher training program and having to do hand-on adjustments.

Now that I understand the purpose of adjustments, I love, love, love them. But when I first started doing yoga I thought I was doing everything wrong. Teachers would consistently adjust my downward facing dogs. They’d nudge my shoulders down in Warrior 1 or adjust my pelvis and hips in Warrior 2. Once I realized those adjustments made the pose feel better in my body or helped me find more length or depth in the poses, I couldn’t get enough of them. Now when I’m taking class I try to mind-melt with the teacher to draw her over to me to adjust my hips in child’s pose or even give me a gentle adjustment in savasana.

For some reason, though, I am not comfortable with giving adjustments yet.

Adjustments are very intimate—not in a sexual way (at least they shouldn’t be), but in a “You’re totally in my space” kind of way. Not only are you physically close to a student but ideally you should try to connect your breath to theirs. I suppose because I’m very aware of my own space and who’s in it, I’m conscious of the students’ space and try not to encroach on it. Yoga is vulnerable enough as it is without having someone all up in your business. When I can, I give verbal cues for alignment, but there are times where physically directing a student into the correct alignment is the only way to adjust them.

My feedback is consistently that I’m too gentle. I also give drive-by adjustments—I get in and out quickly—which is okay to a point. You don’t want to linger because that’s kind of creepy, but you do want to make sure you’re placing your hands with purpose so they understand what you’re doing and why.

It’s been hard for me, though, and I realize the issues are mine to get over. It hasn’t helped that I jumped right into assisting an advanced class—one full of students who absolutely adore my teacher. I feel like they aren’t satisfied until she gives them her adjustments. Also my issue to get over.

I’ve been hesitant to adjust and it has frustrated the hell out of my teacher. And me. On Monday when my mentor group met we all went over adjustments again. I worked one-on-one with my teacher for nearly an hour as she adjusted me first then had me adjust her over and over again. She was very direct with me and kept pushing me to give very clear adjustments with intention. I have to admit the whole thing shoved me out of my comfort zone, but I do feel like I’m getting better.

We’re at the part of the program where we have to switch classes—I’m going to move from an advanced class to a beginner class and I think it’s going to be a great experience. It will give me time to work with bodies that may just be discovering yoga. I can step back and rework the basics, with myself and with the students.

Hopefully, I’ll get the hang of this some day.






Where I’ve Been (My Couch Mostly)

Last week I wrote that post about why I still blog and then…I stopped blogging.

And therein lies my problem. Or at least one of them. Inconsistency. (Others include, oh, I don’t know, laziness, distraction, disorganization, um, did I say distraction?).

Anyway, it has been a busy week and I just haven’t been able to sit down and focus in front of this screen.

At work I’ve been tasked with establishing reviving our social media presence, so I’ve been updating our Pinterest, blog, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube accounts, and I’ve even bullied my bosses into redesigning our website. That, in my opinion is the most crucial part of the whole makeover—designing a website that fully showcases our work, and the work we do for our clients.

Naturally, my own blogging, Facebook-ing, Tweeting and Pintersting has all but ceased.

Meanwhile, I have a huge “test” of sorts tonight. I’ve been preparing to teach to my fellow apprentices and all of the mentor teachers in my training. And this is the big night. I have to instruct a large portion of a sequence, and I think I’m prepared. I say “think” because I know this stuff inside and out and I know what I want to say, but I have this problem that when I stand in front of the room, I have no idea what will actually come out of my mouth. Not surprisingly this is an issue I have in real life. Also, not surprisingly, this gets me into a lot of trouble. My luck I’ll be like the news anchor in North Dakota who gets fired after his first time on-air for dropping the F-bomb, a word that flows freely from my mouth.

Anyway, hopefully, I will get through tonight “fuck” free so to speak. If not, it’ll  make a great blog post.

And now I can’t get the word out of my head.

I’m screwed.

The Post In Which I Freak Out

One week from today I will be done with my teacher training program.

But there’s a shit ton that needs to happen between now and then.

Over the course of the 6-month program we’ve had to take 18 additional classes by specific instructors. We were given a list of approved 200-hour instructors who could sign off our classes, which were also specifically prescribed (Level 1, Iyengar, etc.). When we started, 18 classes over six months seemed like a piece of cake. However, in my last couple of weeks I found myself chasing classes all over the city to get them signed off. Today I went to a YogaWorks down in the Hollywood area to pick up a Level 1/2 class, which was absolutely worth the drive because the teacher is a thousands kinds of awesome (I’m turning into a yoga teacher groupie). Today’s signature leaves me with one last class to get signed off before Saturday. Theoretically it shouldn’t be that hard to pick up, but work is so insane lately that getting off on time and driving to a studio, whether it’s 5 miles away or 30 is a challenge.

On top of that, I have ridiculously challenging take-home exam. I’ve spend most of this weekend working on it (when I wasn’t chasing classes that is). Aside from the usual anatomy and asana questions, there are crazy essays about some of the philosophy we covered, which isn’t my strong suit. There are also teaching scripts for asanas. We also have to choose one of two options for sequences, which would be challenging enough, but they also expect us to justify the poses we put in (I’m guessing writing “because it feels good” isn’t really what they’re looking for).

That’s in addition to studying for the in-class exam as well as preparing to teach. And, oh yeah, I have to write my yoga résumé.

The most frightening thing is that I’m second-guessing everything. If I know an answer right away on the take-home, I automatically assume it must be a trick question because it couldn’t be that simple or I couldn’t be that smart.

The word overwhelmed doesn’t even begin to cover how I feel. I’m panicking about not having enough hours in the week to get it all done.

This program has challenged me in ways I never could have imagined when I started. I now realize I’m stronger—physically and mentally—than I give myself credit for. It’s made me focus, get organized and really slow down and be present in the moment.

And now this is the ultimate test.

Think good thoughts for me!