It has begun!
My formal yoga teacher training has started. The first of 16 modules over the next two years was this past weekend. What a whirlwind of information and excitement to begin. From mudras to chants to highlighting the first yoga asanas. Yes - there are three fundamental seated asanas. Who knew?!
Now I do!
Where to begin? What to say?
Here is a Coles notes summary of my take always:
1. Chanting. Say what? Yes, chanting. This was very new to me. It hasn't been part of my regular practice but I am aware and have listened to Krishna Das in the past. Incorporating sound in practice, beyond the a teachers' voice, was a soothing and calming part of practice. Almost felt like church, but not really. We started the workshop with the Teacher-Student Chant/Mantra, which was so lovely. It heightened the senses and really settled the mind. Totally new to me, as I said, but lucky that another teacher-to-be asked to go over it in more detail. We practiced together multiple times.... Needless to say, I will need more time with this!
2. History. I've been craving an explanation of history for a while now. Now this was no University level history class but it did fill in some of the gaps in my mind. Interestingly enough, yoga has Aryan roots from the Indus Valley Civilization. It didn't reach India until later (I had always thought that is where yoga began!) The modern practice of yoga comes from the Himalayas and has been passed down from sages to aspiring teachers.
To put in a sequential order for me, it goes from Vedic era to pre-classical to Classical to Modern (post 1893). Asana practice has only been over the past couple of hundred years!
3. Major Texts. One of the major texts of yoga is Hatha Yoga Pradipika. In this text, only 84 poses existed. Of those, three are seated poses. We covered Siddhasana (accomplished pose; sage pose), Simhasana (lion pose) and Badda Konasana (bound angle pose; cobblers pose). Funny enough, Simhasana was the one asana I volunteered to teach. Not many participants had done it before and since I had, I felt confident that I could explain it. It went well as my first try at teaching. I concentrated hard to keep my words succinct and calm, which is a bit different from teaching exercise classes. A great chance to try it!
4. We covered another handful or so of poses, mudras and pranayama. Much more than I can add into one blog post. But very important information to absorb and reflect back on (so much so that I purchased three books off Amazon the next day!)
My intention and hope is to continue to blog my highlights from all and every training I will be doing over the next couple years. Nothing like stopping and reflecting and writing about ones learning.
Anything I may get wrong, or you know about, PLEASE comment below!
I know I say this often but it is so true...so much more to learn!
I'm a Leo. Born in August of 1980. Do I ever roar like a lion? I think my husband would say "yes" particularly when it comes to things I'm passionate about but on the general day I don't think I have too much bark.
Well, in my practice this week, I roared...or at least tried to. Lion pose (Simhasana) is a unique pose that also includes both sound effects and scary facial expressions. You'll know it if you've done it before because it is one you won't forget. Initially scrunching your face (eyes, nose, mouth, forehead creases) and then releasing the tension with wide eyes and wide open mouth - tongue sticking out! - the roar is let loose.
What's with this, in my opinion, obscure pose? It's kinda bold and loud but there must be some benefit to this pose. I remember back in my university level yoga class (yes - I have it on my transcripts!) and all of the students (including me) were too shy to make much noise when we were directed to perform it. Now with an infant I make noises day in and day out so there was no problem with me trying out this pose fully! Hear me roar!
So my task this week was that I just had to look into the details of this pose more closely. Here's what I found:
Lion pose is classified as a basic kneeling jaw stretch. Well, of course it's a jaw stretch. Sometimes I forget all the muscles the body actually has since I tend to focus on larger muscle groups both in my workouts personally and with clients. Funny I should say that as in the book Yoga Anatomy it states "[lion pose] stimulates and releases a host of often overlooked muscles". Just what I was saying!
The strong lion roar activates the "three diaphragms" - thoracic, vocal, and pelvic - with particular focus on the platysma muscle that fans the front of the neck. This pose keeps the skin on the front of the neck firm as we age (non-surgical facelift option!)
The Yoga Journal website states that traditional texts indicate that lion pose "destroys disease and facilitates the three major bandhas (Mula, Jalandhara, Uddiyana)." Bandhas? Not sure what they are but more to explore for another day!
Overall, after further investigation, there is more to lion pose than what meets the eye. Keeping ones face and neck limber and stretched can only be a positive thing especially in a world where we can carry much stress in those areas.
Regardless, if you are a Leo or not, in the privacy of your own home or local yoga class, give this pose a try. For an extra kick, try it in front of a mirror!
Photo credit: Medici Lions in Florence, Italy. I took this picture on my honeymoon in 2008. This statue is circa 1600.
Aspiring Yoga Teacher
I've practiced yoga since I was a pre-teen and have always found it to keep me centered. I will be a teacher one day and this is my journey to discover teaching and practice.