We had a great turnout today of 12 attendees for our second Yoga Teachers’ Gathering, held at Tuam Yoga & Pilates Studio. We planned to ease in with Sun Salutations as before. Charlotte and I were pleasantly surprised to have a volunteer, Daniel, who taught us Sivananda style. What a treat to NOT have to teach for a change! And I always really enjoy trying out different types of yoga. I think this is the type of yoga I did about 10 years ago in Galway and I had forgotten about how you start out in Savasana, which is exactly what I needed today.
Once we were warmed up we moved into the breakdown of our two poses, which Charlotte and I randomly chose. We started with Paschimottanasana. I wasn’t sure how this would play out but it went really well. I didn’t want to teach the pose myself and have everyone in the room looking at me waiting for me to keep talking. But this wasn’t the case at all. I just got us into the position and gave a few cues to start. Charlotte shared with us how to really engage the legs strongly, even using a block between the legs which she does particularly to keep a hyperextended knee protected. This really allows her to be able to fold further forward. Ewelina demonstrated how she does adjustments in the pose with a gentle hand on the back to encourage the spine to lengthen. We discussed straight legs versus bent knees for certain cases and hatha versus Asthanga versions. The conversation flowed well and for such a seemingly simple pose we had a lot to say about it and probably could have said more if time had permitted.
Then we talked about Virabhadrasana I, which is my least favourite of the Warrior poses and possibly one of my least favourite poses ever. I usually just do the Crescent version as I find my foot mobility at the prescribed angle is very uncomfortable. Maybe if I practiced it more often it would improve. But I did glean a few ideas from the discussion such as warming up the feet by spreading the toes and massaging them with the fingers. I told everyone the story of the warrior Virabhadra as I am always interested in the Sanskrit names and what they mean. I won’t tell the story here but just to say in a very simplified way that the warrior Virabhadra shoots up through the ground with his sword raised in much the same shape as Warrior I. Charlotte and Aisling taught us a partner technique they learned at their last training in India, which involved the wall and the partner adding a bit of pressure to the back leg as your raise up. The idea is to help strengthen the legs. Esther came up and we used her as a model. I hope she didn’t mind all of us telling her to move this way and that way to get the hips squared and the leg straightened. It was good to hear everyone’s different cues and ideas about the alignment, adjustments and variations.
I wasn’t sure if we would have time for a third pose and as it turns out we had plenty to say about just two poses. I think in future we will plan on covering two poses and perhaps have a third in the pocket if needed. Our backup pose today was Wheel so we will cover this at our next meeting along with another pose to be decided.
All that was left to do then was have the cup of tea and treats. We didn’t do the sharing circle this time as the group was much larger, but just had the chat, which was a very nice way to end.
We are planning to meet again in May and see where we go from there. We might take a break over the summer or perhaps have one summer meeting. As I have said before, there are no gimmicks with this meet up. It’s for yoga teachers who are genuinely interested in meeting other teachers and sharing experiences and knowledge. I learned heaps today and was really heartened by the lovely new people I met. If you are interested in attending the next meeting, just let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org. Many thanks again to Charlotte and Rory for so generously hosting this gathering. Until then, happy teaching and don’t forget to visit your own mat!