May 03, 2011

Therapeutic Yoga

Today is day 5 of Therapeutic Yoga Teacher Training, with Cheri Clampett and Arturo Peal, down at the studio. It's been really good training, but I am wiped out, and looking forward to getting my life back!

In some ways, the training is a bit of a refresher. As a teacher, I tend to pick things up as they have been taught to me, as I internalize them in my body. I've practiced with Cheri several times here in Connecticut, spent a week with her in Montana, and several of the studio teachers have done this training. I also picked up a bolster and her Therapeutic Yoga Kit (book / flashcards / CD) last time she was in town and have done some work with it. So in a lot of ways, this is not a lot of new information, but rather clarification, deepening, technical tweaks, and background. It certainly is good to get the information directly.

One of my friends and regular students is in the training; yesterday we sat near each other, and as Cheri introduced a posture or gentle yoga stretch, she'd mouth "Jude Yoga". Because I've incorporated a lot of this stuff into my teaching over the years, mostly unconsciously. Interesting to note how much of my teaching is rooted in Cheri's practice.

I came into the training without a lot of expectations - my own teaching seems (to me) to be more rooted in my own body; I demonstrate postures, I move through the room, I shut my eyes and feel the posture and then speak from that place. I am not so much teaching yoga as I am coaxing yoga out of my student's bodies. So Therapeutic Yoga, with more of a therapist / client positioning, and a need to be more attentive, and less opportunity to resonate with the client's posture and body, feels challenging and less natural to me. So if I had to guess I'd say "I won't be doing much of this, going forward". But I also walked into teacher training with no expectation of teaching - and look what happened.

Cheri and Arturo make a great teaching pair - a good balance of energies and information. Arturo in particular brings a lot of really useful visualizations about breath, connective tissue, muscles, etc. - it's rare that a teacher delights me and makes me smile in the way that he does as he uses three students to simulate a human rib cage and demonstrates twists and spinal bends.

And it's been a little odd with Cheri - having spent a week with her and Heather Tiddens in Montana, I feel a certain closeness and intimacy. But we're in a different mode here - she's available for 25 or so students, she has her own needs in terms of food, rest, alone time, and I'm a bit shy to intrude. It's part of who I am that I sit back and listen, pick up what I can, and try not to intrude or take up too much space. It's a weird combination of shyness, of respect, of confidence in my own ability to do this without needing a lot of attention, of being "in between" on several levels.

So, last day in, a relatively short one. I have to leave a little early today (to teach my 5:30 class in Bristol). It's been a long week, and I'm pretty wiped out. Been running back at lunch break to give Elo some love and air, so I've been a bit negligent in terms of my own relaxation and healthy eating. And I've let go of my yang practice this week. So it will be good to get back to a more stable schedule and a regular practice.

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