Class Notes, Week 8: Flipping through my notebook

The Moksha yoga teacher training program requires me to journal once each week about my experience with the poses and assignments + my practice and progress. This is part of that weekly assignment.

In two months, I’ve nearly filled up my yoga teacher training notebook with definitions, insights, tips and incoherent scribbles.  Going through this notebook tonight has been a fun review, triggering lessons and memories created each Sunday during these past eight weeks.  So much new information gained in such a short period of time!

On the eve of our final weekend training of the “semester,” I thought I’d take some time to comb through this worn-in notebook to extract some of the practical gems:

  • Build poses from the ground up.
  • Dual action cues are great.  They prevent release valves.  I.E. In Garudhasana: “Raise your elbows up AS you move your shoulder blades down.”
  • “Naval to spine.”  The part of the body your cueing is actually three fingers below the belly button.
  • Avoid cueing a concept while a student is in the experience.  “Do a few rounds on your own.”  Then let the students be.
  • Open hip poses: heel to arch alignment.
  • Closed hip poses: heel to heel alignment (or wider).
  • Open hip stretches before closed hip positions in sequence.
  • Side stretches are good preps for: forward folding + backbends.  Why: It creates space in the side ribs.
  • Balancing poses build bone strength.
  • Every pose can be traced back to Tadasana.
  • “Wrap the upper arms toward the ears.”
  • Samscara: impression from a past action.  Samsara: conditioning by people and the world.
  • “Sitting quietly is about becoming awake.”
  • Vinyasa cues:  1) breath; 2) movement; 3) dristi.
  • Asana cues:  1) alignment; 2) action; 3) breath; 4) notice + feel.
  • TLC: Thoracic, Lumbar, Cervical.
  • Keep quad contraction in standing poses, when the leg(s) is(are) straight. It encourages grounding, protects the knees from twisting + pumps energy flow to the heart.
  • Keep the chest up when transitioning from Monkey pose to Plank pose.
  • Look for neutral pelvis in all poses to encourage breath flow to the heart.
  • Making the exhales longer calms the nervous system.
  • “Press down to lift up.”
  • In downward facing dog, keep the traps out of it.  1) Bend elbows to the side; 2) Roll the elbows in; 3) Straighten the arms.
  • Jnana Mudra: Bring the first finger and thumb together. The first finger symbolizes “individual self” and the thumb symbolizes “universal consciousness.” This is the seal of knowledge/wisdom.
  • Smile at the beginning of class.  (Ananda Maya Kosha)

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