Baby Steps

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When I was a brand spanking new teacher, the first class I was given to teach was called Hatha Star, which meant yoga for beginners.  Talk about a challenge!  I felt then, and still feel that it takes an advanced teacher to be able to break the practice of yoga down for beginners.  The class was a wonderful tool for me as a student of yoga and a teacher, as it forced me very quickly to find my voice as a teacher, to be extremely specific in what I was asking of my students, and to break down my own yoga practice to allow me to serve it in bite-sized pieces to the students coming to my classes.  While I enjoyed the challenge of teaching new students,  I also welcomed the opportunity to teach classes that moved a little faster.  When that opportunity arose, I took it and left behind my Hatha Star class, so I was only a teacher of beginner’s yoga for a short while.

Of course, as any yoga teacher knows, that doesn’t mean that I stopped teaching beginners.  New students continued to walk into my Hatha Flow classes in Austin and roll their mats out here in Granada as well.  I embraced this new challenge of offering an appropriate class to the many skill levels present in the room, from the seasoned practitioner quietly rolling her mat out in the front of the room to the newer student sitting apprehensively in the back corner.  I like a practice that keeps the body in motion for much of the time, and I’ve found that I like to build in moments of silence to my classes to give all the students the experience of fully entering the here and now, and staying present within their own breath and bodies.

I began to overhear students here at the gym inquiring about yoga classes, and noted that they sounded a bit intimated about the idea of walking into an all-levels yoga class.  We’re so lucky at Pure because one of our resident yogins is back from her travels, which gives us a total of three yoga teachers and the ability to offer more classes.  Que bueno!  Our very first offering of new classes is to add three beginner-friendly yoga classes to the Pure schedule.  I will be teaching two of these classes.

I am so excited about this prospect!  I feel much more secure in the seat of the teacher now than I did when I first began teaching.  I have since had extensive training in anatomy and how best to modify poses for different bodies.  I’ve also found that the Viniyoga slant present in my 200 hour teacher training course has infused my teaching style in an invaluable way, one which I wouldn’t have predicted when I first began teaching.  Truth be told, as a Vinyasa Flow and Anusara yoga student, the practice of Viniyoga  initially bored me.  It is a much more subtle practice that works energetically and is designed to prevent injury or assist in recovery from an injury.  This means that there are many repetitive movements within the practice combined with longer holds, and the overall practice might not make you break a sweat.  It is transforming though, and I’ve begun to appreciate it more over the years as I’ve worked it into my own practice and my teaching.

I feel now that I have so much to offer a student new to yoga.  I look forward to having a class where I can really dig in and workshop adho muka svanasana, uttanasana, and ardha chandrasana.  I can’t wait to break down different pranayam offerings to students, and to plant the seeds of a different way of looking at this beautiful ancient practice of yoga.  I also feel that the discoveries I make teaching these beginner-friendly classes will seep into my other class offerings as well, creating more attention and depth of exploration as I dive into this endless ocean of knowledge.

For those in Granada now or planning to visit, the new classes will be held at 7:30 pm on Mondays and Wednesdays, as well as 9:30 am Saturday mornings.

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