Saturday, August 17, 2013

Kino - Day One

Yesterday's first class was entitled "Ashtanga Immersion" and was largely billed for teachers and others wanting to deepen their practice.  I almost didn't sign up for this one because I committed long before my YogaWorks teacher training program came to be.  Boy, am I glad I took a chance though!

The entire day felt like a YW teacher training day back home.  There was lecture time, followed by space to experience various poses within our own bodies, then finally a wealth of opportunities to practice assisting on each other.  We broke down all of the movements of Surya A & B and went over them with a fine tooth comb.  So much - if not all - of the rest of the practice is built upon those first sun salutations.

Every time we practiced giving adjustments, Kino instructed us to find a new partner.  That was a terrific plan because it gave us the opportunity to work with a lot of different bodies and abilities.  I'm so grateful to have had this day to devote toward my teaching progress.

Kino spoke about the world needing more beginning level Ashtanga instructors.  She talked about her experience at the beginning of her Ashtanga life.  Random acquaintances became extremely interested in her yoga and many of them requested that she teach them.  She didn't feel ready and tried to guide those folks elsewhere, but they didn't want to go.  They didn't feel comfortable with an advanced teacher.  A wise friend counseled Kino that if it was going to be her or nothing, then she had a responsibility to teach them what she could.  Some yoga was better than none.  And so her teaching began.

Another point Kino made that I found personally relevant was with regard to hyper-extension of the elbows and knees in poses like Downward-Facing Dog.  I hyper-extend and I've always been told to micro-bend my joints in order to activate the muscles and not sit in the integrity of the joint.  Kino said the slight bend was actually causing a disruption in the pathway the energy would normally flow through you.  She suggested to instead externally rotate the shoulders while pressing down into the mounds of the index fingers and to internally rotate the legs while pressing down into the mounds of the big toes.  This would cause the muscles to pull your limbs into straight without needing to introduce the bend.  It's a subtle difference, I'm sure, but one I'm eager to try.  

I'm sorry to report that I just couldn't make it to Kino's evening class.  It didn't even start until 7:45 pm and was scheduled to run two hours.  My jet lag has been HORRIBLE and it's been a challenge to fall asleep by 2:30 am every night.  I feel as if I'm fighting off a cold, too, and I just didn't think it would be in my best interest to push myself that hard.  I'm sad the circumstances weren't different, but I feel good knowing that I listened to my body and my needs.

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