This fall, one of my students, “Sophie,” noticed me silently marking my attendance sheet. “Would you take roll aloud?” she asked. “I want to learn people’s names.” After a momentary pause, I agreed. Later, I decided that standard roll call isn’t ideal for learning names: Unless students are sitting in a circle, it’s hard to…… Continue reading The Social Side of Yoga Classes
Wendy attends three of my Zoom yoga classes weekly. Currently the classes are spaced apart, with a rest day in between. Next year, I’m rearranging my class schedule—and she’ll end up taking two classes on consecutive days: Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning. “I might have to sleep in my yoga clothes:),” she wrote in email.…… Continue reading Back to Back Yoga Classes
In March, I assumed that “in person” classes would resume by early summer. In July, I was still leery about fall, but added one studio class at the Yoga Space to my Zoom schedule. Now I’m convinced that pre-Covid yoga classes won’t return for a long time. Sure, studios and community centres have reopened. But…… Continue reading When Will Yoga Classes Go Back to Normal?
When did I first hear someone say “namaste”? No surprise, it was uttered at the end of my first yoga class two decades ago. I had no interest in yoga until then. I had to be persuaded to try it. But I was immediately hooked. After class I asked the teacher about the type of…… Continue reading Ending yoga classes with “namaste”
During a Vancouver workshop with John Schumacher last year, I was surprised to hear his instructions on exiting Salamba Sarvangasana (Supported Shoulderstand). “Lie down,” he said, “keep your shoulders on the blankets, head on the floor.” What? My typical shoulderstand exit was to slide my shoulders off my blanket stack. Whether I kept my ribcage…… Continue reading Give me one reason
In San Francisco last summer, Lois Steinberg analyzed Virabhadrasana II for a long time. Most students attending the five-day workshop were teachers or experienced students. But Warrior II was nevertheless a worthy challenge. Using an adept student as a demo model, she emphasized how the bent knee must rotate outward to elongate the groins and adductors.…… Continue reading Look closely, see deeply
A few weeks ago, a friend forwarded me a photo of yoga students seated in Sukhasana, eyes closed. “Got this in an email. I see you!” he wrote. I immediately recognized the setting: September 2016. Firooza Razvi workshop. Iyengar Yoga Institute of San Francisco (IYISF). I attended that workshop and, sure enough, there I was.…… Continue reading Yoga is not a photo-op
Why are your feet apart? You’re only halfway. Bend your knees more! Lift your chest! Lift! I received these corrections (and more) from Chris Saudek during her recent workshop in Victoria. I wasn’t surprised. I’d met this master Iyengar yoga teacher at three prior workshops, and I expected sharp feedback. She doesn’t miss a thing,…… Continue reading A critical teacher
I don’t play golf, but I recently read W Timothy Gallwey’s The Inner Game of Golf (1981). A few years ago, I read his classic The Inner Game of Tennis (1974), a favorite among top coaches including Steve Kerr and Pete Carroll. I don’t play tennis either, but I’m interested in Gallwey’s theories on learning and peak…… Continue reading The Inner Game of Yoga
Once, I offended a yoga student by adjusting her leg with my foot. I was teaching Supta Padangusthasana 1: While adjusting her raised leg, I noticed her supine leg flopping outward. Since I was standing, I used my foot to inwardly rotate and ground her thigh, while I simultaneously reminded all students to perform these…… Continue reading No offense!
Say a yoga teacher walks into class wearing a Bernie Sanders T-shirt. She is making a statement. Is this appropriate for a yoga teacher? On one hand, making a political or any personal statement is not fundamentally wrong. Her quality as a teacher is not based on her political stance. On the other hand, the context is questionable. A yoga setting should be neutral and conducive to a…… Continue reading Should a yoga teacher “make a statement”?
In Vancouver, the yoga “uniform” is dictated by homegrown Lululemon Athletica. It’s the go-to source for yoga apparel, regardless of age, ethnicity, gender, and yoga method. At The Yoga Space, an Iyengar studio where I study and teach, I recently found myself in a sea of Swiftly Tech tops and Wunder Unders (including mine). It’s not only a female thing.…… Continue reading Clothes, hair, and other material obsessions