Thursday, September 27, 2012

Training wheels

I taught my first big boy yoga class today.  One student attended.  She requested some stretching and mentioned that her legs were sore so she asked for a break on the lunges.  I'm still processing how it went, from the sloppiness of my words to the casual nature of it all.  There were moments where it felt all right but plenty of moments where I wondered what I was doing.  She was a great student, very appreciative, next to zero expectations, and she worked up a sweat early on so she clearly got into it even though her limbs looked fairly soft most of the time.  About 15 minutes in she asked if we could do headstand which made me doubt myself even more because it's not necessarily the safest pose nor one I've practiced teaching.  But shoot, kids play around like this all the time so I figured wtf, give it a go if we can get there.  One big difference between a group class and a one-on-one yoga session is how open the conversation can be when it's just two people in the room.  I ran way over time and that's something to be aware of next week.

Below is what I remember of what I lead.  This was my first time going into a freeform class and I had no plan.  I figured I couldn't have much of a plan without knowing the students or in this case the student (singular.)  I'll be asking my yoga friends for feedback on the sequence so I can attempt to correct any errors of judgement.


  • Start in standing, access breath, personalize
  • sun A x 3, first slower, next two not particularly fast
  • one half baked sun b: modified crescent lunge (knee down) to revolved crescent lunge (knee down) to runner's lunge (knee down), both sides.
  • chair to low lunge to pyramid to warrior 3 (pyramid to warrior 3 was the ugliest transition of the class, poorly thought out on my behalf, I was working towards half moon but never got there) to standing splits to forward fold, repeat on left side
  • navasana two sets with an attempt at pickup in between which didn't really happen
  • tree both sides, dancer's both sides, eagle both sides or it might have been eagle then dancer's, I forget but I know we did all 3 even though they were fairly sloppy/casual
  • side plank left and right (prep for headstand)
  • dolphin (prep for headstand)
  •  headstand (she did this quite well, I think she felt comfortable from doing it in the past) with a little badha konasana legs at the end
  • child's pose to puppy
  • table top to one arm forward opposite leg back, elbow to knee repeat 3x each side, other side
  • peeing dog pose both sides just because it's the coolest pose name ever
  • camel (honestly I forget exactly when I worked this in but I think it was right around here).  I cued it as a gentle camel and she didn't go very deep.  I am not sure why I did this, it just sort of seemed like the right time.
  • cobra, full locust, floor bow
  • seated forward fold with assist
  • seated wide angle single leg stretch into twisted single leg stretch (janu sirsasana into parivrrta janu sirsasana) on each side without coming up in between (not sure if this is OK, never seen this done, never tried it in my own body, not sure if there is a reason why it's important to come up other than getting the elbow to the inside of the knee
  • butterfly (badha konasana)
  • seated spinal twist (ardha matseyendrasana) both sides
  • half pigeon both sides.  I attempted to try wild thing after the first side of half pigeon with assist but it didn't happen so I skipped it on the second side.
  • happy baby
  • supine spinal twist
  • savasana
I'm actually reasonably fuzzy on the exact sequence but the general position of all of the pieces is correct and I'm sure I went through everything listed here.  I don't think I'm forgetting anything either.  I tried to demo and I tried to cue and for the most part I think she got something out of the 90 minutes, but it certainly wasn't terribly pretty on my behalf because I really did not know what I was doing.  It just felt so different without any rules, it felt so strange, so uncertain to me.

I welcome any comments about what I messed up here, other than the obvious tendency to squeeze 10 lbs of sugar into a 5 lb bag.

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