I sent an email out to my closest friends and family asking if anyone was interested is basically being my guinea pig and helping me practice my yoga teachings on them. I was basically doing what a lot of yoga teachers do....for free. You get to do yoga and have one on one training while I get to practice what I’ve learned.
I had a few very intrigued people write back and say “sign me up!” My friend Simps being one of them. We decided that we would get together every Monday and I would do one on one training with her. We don’t get to see each other that often so this was another bonus.
Yesterday was our first night together. This was basically an easy session for the both of us. A week before we got together I asked her to think about what bothers her. Was it crunchy shoulders? Lower back pain? Not flexible enough? I also ask her WHY she wanted to do this.
We got together and we started. Simps complained about not having enough upper body strength. She carries her littlest one Aliyah, around and after a while she beings to feel the pain and gets tired. She also mentioned getting back in shape for our mutual friends wedding this summer .
With all this in mind, we started. I didn’t know Simps tendencies yet, so that’s where I started. I had her work through a simple sun salutation. Down Dog, plank, Chaturunga, down dog, forward fold, Tadasana. This simple flow works the entire body and I’m able to tell where she needs more alignment, where she’s more muscular and where she’s more organic. I noticed right away her shoulders were very crunchy and had to show her how to bring them onto her back. To my surprise her general form was quite good for her first down dog. This was what I wanted to work on first, getting familiar with the feeling of her blades onto her back. I had her come into postures like child’s pose, table top, down dog, cobra, side plank prep, and Parsvakonasana. She was able to grasp the feeling of shoulders up, back and down and also making sure her shoulder was plugged back into the socket. It was nice seeing her reaction to what I was saying and watching her body make it happen. She was VERY receptive which made it easy for me. During these postures we also worked on strengthening her back. We worked cobra, up dog, sphinx and bow. She was definitely feeling it and understands when I say yoga isn’t easy. However...why was I sweating more than her?!?
Although Simps said she wanted to work on her upper body we came to realize that her lower body also needed to build up some strength, stability and support to really work the alignment in these postures. Like a lot of people starting yoga, it’s really concentrating on getting those femurs back, inner rotation of the thighs so we’re able to blossom those sit bones and stretch out the hamstrings. I enjoyed teaching this part the most as it is where my tendencies fall. My hamstrings are really tight so I was able to really relate to how Simps was feeling and help sustain the practice.
We worked through a few more postures and I could tell she was really feeling it. At some points the look on her face was “what did I sign up for!?!” I made sure she knew that yoga IS hard work, but it is also amazingly relaxing. This was ALL about her. I would be there for her guiding the way, supporting her, and assisting whenever necessary, but ultimately it comes down to HOW BADLY DO YOU WANT IT!?! Me being there has nothing to do with it. If Simps wants this...she’s gonna have to REALLY work hard at it.
Next Monday I am going to have a 45 minute flow ready for us to practice with focusing on her tendencies, her strengths and weaknesses. I’m going to really concentrate on helping her strengthen her upper body, and assist her with getting more movement in her lower body. This is VERY exciting, for the both of us. Simps will notice a change in her body, her mind and her spirit as long as she’s open to it. I get the chance to challenge myself, really practice my skills and knowledge and work with one of my best friends.