No matter how tired, sick or emotionally drained I am, practicing yoga always makes me feel better. Always.
I teach a mixed level class and while I strive to create a class with lots of flexibility so all the students can participate and enjoy. But teaching & participating in a mixed level class has challenges.
Sometimes there's a struggle when beginning students try to perform more advanced options I suggest for more seasoned practitioners. I worry that a student might injure themselves but I don't want them to feel bad, since it's just not time to go that far yet. I talk a lot about taking care of yourself & not trying to compete, even with yourself, but that often takes more practice then the advance poses!!
Another challenge I've come across is style & pace. Beginning students usually have a better experience at a medium-fast pace, and slower poses can be a great way to challenge more season students. I have one student in particular who comes to relax and unwind. This student often doesn't participate in asanas and spends much of the class meditating. I am always glad when a student knows how to take care of themselves, however this student often requests that I slow down poses, hold them for longer and don't try to do so many poses. I've tried to grant this request the best I can without discouraging beginning students. A challenge for me though is often this student is still not participating in the poses, or coming out of them early even though they were the one who requested it be held longer! Any suggestions?
At the request of a faithful student I brought some partner poses into our class practice last night. Even though the student that requested it wasn't there last night, we had a good time!
The most simple partner pose is one most people have done already some time in their life. Sit with your legs straight in front of you and your feet against those of your partners. Get a strap and hold on with both hands, one person with their in the middle, one holding the two sides. Then one partner slowly lean back. Both partners try to keep your backs straight, the one leaning back feeling your abdominals engage. The partner that is leaning forward try to relax the backs of your legs. Both keep breathing! For some reason we hold our breath when things are challenging and I had lots of students holding their breath during this pose last night! Watch and listen to each other and stop when the person leaning forward is at the edge of where they can reach. Switch and let the other person lean back.
Partner poses help us go past our comfort zone and try a little harder then we do on our own. Some people may hesitate because touch itself might be out of their comfort zone, but partner poses can be like the one I described above and really not require much touch or "invasion" of space.
My name is Kristen and I started practicing yoga when I was 15. I've been teaching for 2 and a half years now. This blog is about my experiences as a yoga teacher and practitioner.