Class Notes, Week 11: Hands-on

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.

I am really excited to begin my apprenticeship with Kim Wilcox.  She is the first yoga teacher with whom I remember taking a class at Moksha — a candlelight vinyasa class on New Year’s Eve eight or so years ago.  As a student in her class, I’ve learned so much and evolved my practice tremendously.  As an apprentice, I’ll get to be a different type of student, observing at how she structures her class through a 100-percent teacher trainee lens.

Kim emailed out pointers on adjustments to all of her winter apprentices this week.  It was really thoughtful.  Giving adjustments — touching a students body to help them deepen the experience of the pose — is something with which I want to get more confident.  I love receiving adjustments in Downward Facing Dog and Extended Side Angle.  And I want to ensure that I can inspire yummy-yet-challenging-yet-safe sensations for my students.  (Patience, Erica, patience.)  I know that Kim will be a good guide in this because she has never given me an adjustment that made me uncomfortable or left me limping from the studio.  They’ve always been great.

Point No. 10 on her “Adjustments Manifesto” (my label, not hers!) really stood out.  While the other 12 points inspired a nod of the head — “OK, I understand why that is so and that is so” — Point No. 10 goes beyond the logistical and functional.  It strikes at the emotional.

10. I like to try to adjust everyone in the class at least once.  Many people can go all day without having another human being touch them.  Spread the love.

The simple act of human-to-human contact.  It’s rare for many.  It is for me.  I live alone in the city, no boyfriend, no dog, no cat.  I think that’s a big part of why I enjoy adjustments so much in yoga class — I get a little something I lack in my everyday life.  When I think about it, however, I know that I’m not alone.  Otherwise, Kim wouldn’t have pointed this out.  We’re a culture plugged into iPods and iPhones and iPads.  We don’t even talk as much anymore, much less embrace or caress just because.  As we’ve become more technologically advanced, we have forgotten what it’s like to be human beings.  Grassroots human beings.  Yoga class can fill that human contact void in a simple, yet profound, way.  Adjustments given with compassion are a way of telling the student, “I want you to be better, I want you to go deeper, let me help you” via the energy of the hands.  It’s a powerful form of energy.

I am going to keep this in mind with my practice teaching tomorrow morning.

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