Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift, that's why they call it present...

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Assisting to reach enlightenment

Now that we have observed our 4 classes, we’re moving on to adjusting/assisting in actual classes. I am super excited for this as it’s a chance for me to learn more, connect with other yoga teachers, and have a real conversation with actual students. I signed up for my favourite classes with my favourite teachers. I think it’s important to assist when you’re already familiar to the type of class, and the teacher is comfortable with you. I signed up for Megan, Colin and Marinella. I feel I am very lucky as I get a different experience each time as these 3 teachers have different teaching styles.

Last night Amanda and I assisted with Megan’s class. We signed up together because we’re always taking these classes together. We’re very supportive off each other...and again we think a lot alike.

We started by first speaking with Megan. Asking her questions about her class, herself as a teacher and if there was anything she wanted us to do, or not to do. Megan is an amazing teacher, she simply said “GO FOR IT!” She mentioned that it was too bad she had to concentrate on teaching because she would enjoy watching us and what we’ve learned...and maybe even learning something from us. She’s one of those teachers who doesn’t think she’s better than you, or smarter than you, and actually wants to teach you. I don’t feel ANY of the teachers at this studio are like that...but it’s definitely something I have encountered before in other studios and practices.
Amanda and I were PUMPED! To be completely honest, we both were a little nervous too. None of these students knew who we were, and this was our first class. We’ve adjusted our friends and each other that have DONE yoga and knew what to expect....this was a whole new ball game.

We got in there and watched as the class began to practice. Where to start?? How to start...what to do?? We both just watched for a little bit, taking it all in. I saw a lot of times where I could adjust or assist someone, but it took me a while to jump in and actually do it. You really have to consider WHY you’re assisting them. Is it because you want them to look a certain way? There not fully present? You think they can go further, higher, be longer? Or you just want to enlighten them?
You also have to take into consideration the fact that that might be as far as they can adjusting might hurt them. They might not want someone to help them...some people don’t like to be touched. I finally put my guard down and helped align some hips in Warrior one. Something as simple as drawing your right hip back, your left forward and drawing them in together made sense to people, and it felt great to see when someone actually understood my adjustment. I enjoy the adjustments where I’m putting the ownership on the student. Resistance adjustments. Using my fist on the back of their hamstring and asking them to push into my hand while in high lunge. This puts the control on them. They will understand where they need to push harder...and it’s a major way to suddenly become aware of where you are and what you’re doing. I didn’t do a lot of adjustments, but the ones I did I got a great reaction from. One woman said “Thank you! I’ve never felt that stretch before” What a feeling to be able to help someone feel something differently; because they enjoyed it I feel it’s something they will remember to do to get that feeling back again next time.

I also really enjoyed assisting in relaxation. When a student was in child’s pose, with the help of light pressure and elongation you could just feel the student relax and let go beneath you. I think I spent the entire class smiling.
There is still a lot to learn about with adjustments, and I definitely need to build on my confidence and awareness. I’m sure Colin’s class with work on both of those attributes.

“I can't change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.”

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