I haven’t posted about my asana practice since Summer – yikes! Not much has changed, really. I’m enjoying everything I’m working on.
My home practice right now is mostly focused on long holds. I usually start with five minutes in down dog, 1 minute in high plank, then alternate 3 times between 1 minute in forearm plank and 1 minute in low cobra. From there, it varies by what I feel I need on any given day. I connect the held postures with sun A’s and B’s and always take time to play with inversions, arm balances, and backbends. A long savasana is a must, too!
In terms of studio classes and how they coexist with my home practice, my schedule goes something like this most weeks (because sometimes work, kids, and other obligations need my attention more than asana):
- M: Jasmine’s class or home practice
- T: Home practice or rest, depending on my schedule and energy level
- W: Jo’s class
- Th: Home practice and Natasha’s class
- F: Liz’s class and Teacher Training (We generally read and discuss on Friday nights. If we do any asana, it’s short and sweet.)
- Sa: Class with Angelina or Kate OR Teacher Training (our teacher training asana practices are about 3 hours long)
- Su: Teacher Training or home practice
The classes are all “flow”, but Jasmine and Natasha lean heavily into Iyengar, alignment-focused territory. We only do a handful of postures per class, but work up to them, hold them, and hone them for a long, long time. Angelina and Jo are truly vinyasa flow, teaching longer sequences at a faster pace. Kate and Liz fall squarely in the middle of those two styles because they’re both YogaWorks alums, as I will be in March. That method instructs teaching a hybrid style of Ashtanga and Iyengar or, as my teaching tools manual calls it, “an alignment based flow”. Whatever you call it, it’s basically vinyasa flow with anatomically intelligent sequencing. Good stuff, hard work.
Teacher training is going very well. Natasha is an amazing instructor. She’s the real deal, the kind that runs a tight ship and truly knows her stuff. I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to study so intensely with her. Everyone in the class feels that way, I think (I hope!). We started in September and have already covered so much material that I’m not even going to try and quantify it. Philosophy, asana, anatomy, alignment, actions, counteractions, modifications, adjustments, teaching tools, sequencing – there is so much to do and learn that it’s overwhelming sometimes! But it’s really the best kind of overwhelming, needing to do so much of something you love so deeply. Our copious homework involves loads of reading, writing teaching scripts, and learning anatomy, especially as it applies to asana. We also have to take two yoga classes per week, preferably with Natasha or one of her teaching assistants (like Liz and Kate). Best assignment ever.
This morning, I took Liz’s class. She and I were both at Natasha’s class last night and were both feeling the effects of what can only be described as thigh torture with deep backbends for dessert. So, Liz taught a well-paced, well-rounded flow to open the lower back. Never underestimate the power of utthita hasta padangustasana and its supine and side plank cousins. It was really the perfect counterpoint to last night and I left feeling about a million times better than I did when I walked in. Isn’t cool how asana can wear you out and lift you back up within the space of a day?
Anyway, that’s all for now. Have a great weekend. Namaste!