I want to talk about what I didn’t do, or did wrong, because that’s what I’m most interested in, and hopefully some people might benefit from such a narrative. When Malcolm Gladwell in Outliers talks about becoming a master, he said a lot of time is spent doing the post mortems, turning over what went awry, because that’s how one grows. But I want to say first that I felt really comfortable with this class, it flowed well, there was energy, I was delighted with most of my decisions, I thought I did a lot of things. One sidebar note, a former teacher training student attended, and I haven’t seen him for some time. Having another teacher and former student in the game could conceivably throw me a little, but I was quite comfortable seeing Colin there today.
So first I went around and got acquainted with new faces, several people told me they had problems, mostly knee issues. I was so intent on committing their names to memory that I neglected to really focus on the injuries. I like to come back to a person in the middle of the class and check on how they’re doing with their issue, but I didn’t do this till after class, so that’s something that could have been better.
Then to begin I had them assume Savasana (which I hardly ever start with, but I had my reasons) with hands on belly and breastbone. I spoke about breath and where the I-sense is centered. I’d intended to read a passage from Shunryu Suzuki’s Not Always So at this point, but realized I’d left the pages in my backpack, so I had to scrap that plan. No big deal, tomorrow’s another day.
Most of the opening sequence went smooth as pie, so not much to say about that. I told them that we’d be exploring backbends today, and I felt the opening sequence made sense in that regard. We stood and went to the wall sooner than I characteristically do, because I wanted to emphasize letting the trapezius area relax, so I put them in L-shape at the wall, or Puppy Dog as it is sometimes called. However I should’ve re-emphasized the trap relaxation when we returned to regular Down Dog on the mat. Really I was more interested in getting them up and down and moving around early on, but to sell it I should have returned to the point a few times.
Now I had intended to do two versions of Sun Salutation, twice each version. But there is one woman who comes to my classes now, and I really enjoy her being there. However she has many, many physical issues. She’s a darling, sweet, very very smart lady, but she’s really working with a lot of problems. And she just couldn’t keep up with the salutations. These are the easiest salutations I teach, both involving a backbend, but she couldn’t keep up, and first went into Child’s Pose and then left the room for a while. And I trust her and vice versa, I know she does what she can do. Still, it’s difficult to feel good about a sequence someone has to bow out of, so I just did each round (both sides) once instead of twice. Actually I did nothing wrong per se. In a more advanced class I might have let the rest of the class go about the salutations on their own, and been able to chat with her, maybe suggest better alternatives than leaving, but this wasn’t the situation for that. And maybe she needed a break, who knows?
We came to standing poses. I had several problems here. First, I had intended on starting with a Virabhadrasana sequence, but that was a late decision and on the moment I started with Prasarita instead. No one but me would’ve known this, of course, but I had to chastise myself. And though I did remember to have them position the block for Prasarita, I then neglected to tell them to pick it up and place it at the front of the mat for Trikonasana. This is a constant problem with me! I always forget to position the damn block. I think it’s a mental block, because I don’t like using the block in Triangle. Maybe I need to be more of a BLOCKHEAD than I already am! Who knew? Anyway, when it came round to doing Trikonasana I realized my error and had to confess, telling the class they could come out of the pose and find their block, if they needed it. None did. I remembered it on the other side, at least. Also I think I could’ve talked about the I-sense in the belly in these poses, and I could’ve invoked the fact that Trikonasana can involve a backbend. Opportunities missed.
I paired them up. I’m always a little wary and ambivalent about partner work, I know some people don’t like it. But I like it, I think it brings people more together, more of a sense of community, it can sometimes feel like recess. So I try to find innocuous routines which won’t rattle the shy ones. Today I tried something new, holding onto each other’s wrists and bending backward, and then going down into squats. I demo’ed with one lady, who seemed to enjoy it, and then worked with the woman previously mentioned, because I knew I could be more sensitive to her condition. And she couldn’t do the squat, so I didn’t make her do that, needless to say. Altogether I just wasn’t quite sure about this part, I was a little too involved with my partner to see how it worked with the others.
We did Garudasana arms in Virasana, and I made it active with some bowing while I struggled with the new temporary sound system. Then a sequence starting with Dhanurasana, then turning onto the side for a kind of side-lying Natarajasana (which would have made more sense had we done Natarajasana as intended, but I had skipped it, mostly for reasons of time constraints), and then a similar pose on the back, which I can’t name because I learned it in one of Jillian’s classes and haven’t yet asked her what the hell to call it. However, I was facing the wrong direction as I demo’ed, so I got left/right mixed up and gave the wrong instructions. This was doubtless my most confused moment. I realized my mistake and corrected it, but I felt silly. There are ways to recover without losing face in these circumstances (“I was just testing you guys!”), but instead I apologized. Ah well. It wasn’t a big deal and I hope no one took it too seriously.
The rest of the class, the cool-down, went down nice and smooth, timing was good, can’t complain.
Afterward I had a nice chat with a woman named Luisa, a new student. I was able to tell her some things about her body alignment which she appreciated, and she said she’d see me next Thursday.
I just got word that I’m subbing tonight – a Yoga I class at 7:30. So I get to repeat the same sort of class tonight, only this time without any errors! None! Yay!