During the last two weeks we’ve been asked to observe yoga classes. We’re observing the students during their practice. Looking at some of the major tendencies, are they in alignment, are they maintaining integrity...are they simply present? We had to pick 3 teachers. I picked Colin (my yoga teacher whose class I go to religiously EVERY Wednesday) Megan, who’s class I got to religiously EVERY Tuesday and Grant, my other yoga teacher who has a 120 minute Ashtanga Primary practice on Sundays...that I have yet to build up the nerve and do. I knew right away who I would pick to observe. Not just as teachers, but the specific students that go to their classes as well.
My first night, observing Colin’s class was pretty intense. Not just because I wanted to DO the yoga and was struggling to just sit still and try not to be noticed, but because I realized how much I have actually learned during this teacher training. It was actually a small class that night, probably only about 40 people, compared to his usual 65-70. I had my note book and pen all ready. Colin mentioned to the class why I was there, so they would be nervous thinking I was judging them. Once the practice started, I didn’t know what to write...I was astonished at the number of people I wanted to get up and align. I am a very hands on person, my favourite part of our classes is when we get to adjust and align each other. I personally feel I have a natural eye for these sorts of things. Finding where another can enlighten, grow and expand.
I noticed a lot of rounded backs, crunchy shoulders, and people just not letting the love of yoga and themselves in the moment fully develop. It was heart breaking...but I knew that I use to be JUST like that. If you had asked me a year ago to observe the same class, I would have said that everyone looked great! Everyone was doing “yoga” This is what I mean by learning so much already. Amanda, who is one of my good friends in my yoga teacher training course, was front row (Every other night I was RIGHT beside her!) The conversation was completely different. Amanda was doing yoga! She was present, aligned, and content. It was so wonderful to watch her. This is what made me recognize the differences in the room.
My pen started to write, and I finished 4 pages back and front in less than 10 minutes. I stopped to read a few things and noticed that everything I was writing was negative. I hated that feeling. The energy needed to change. Maybe I was trying too hard? Maybe I wasn’t looking close enough.
We usually have two blocks and a strap with us during our practice to help with reaching, pulling, extending etc...You can use them in any pose you’d like, that’s what they’re there for. I noticed that during “runners lunge” one of the woman in the class reached for the blocks, without Colin having to mention to use them if you couldn’t reach or extend, and needed the height. I got the biggest smile on my face! I was SO proud of her for taking initiative and ultimately REALIZING she needed the extra help that would really benefit her. I started to be more aware of the little positive things, and they turned out to be a BIG change in liveliness.
The other thing I noticed is the way Colin moved around the room, and adjusted particular people. I would sometimes stare and ask myself...”where do you start?!?” Do you pick someone who’s been doing yoga for a while and just needs a small lift that maybe they were completely unaware about? Or do you put out a fire, which could possibly lead to more, longer adjustments because the energy flow isn’t there?
I guess this is something that will take practice and LOTS of presence. I also have to be aware that sometimes no matter how hard I try...sometimes it just won’t work. I have to be ready, and OK with that, as it is a part of teaching, growing, and learning. I’m very excited...and READY!
It is based on the idea that an elephant in a room would be impossible to overlook; thus, people in the room who pretend the elephant is not there might be concerning themselves with relatively small and even irrelevant matters, compared to the looming big one, which in this case is...THEMSELVES!