Thursday, March 25, 2010

Musings on yoga workshops

To help keep my yoga practice fresh and informed, and to continue honing my teaching skills,  I like to attend various workshops during the year -- some of them are teacher training workshops, and some are general workshops.

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of attending a general yoga workshop at The Yoga Loft in the Village  (the beautiful yoga studio of my friend Vicky Elwell) in Sheffield Village, Ohio,  taught by Rebecca Lerner of the Center for Well Being in Lemont, PA.   Rebecca is a senior-level Iyengar Yoga teacher.

I met Rebecca a few years ago, when I went to Feathered Pipe Ranch, outside of Helena, Montana.   The two years I went, her husband, Dean, and Mary Dunn were co-teachers for the weeks I went, although Rebecca was the "unofficial" third teacher.   Since Mary passed away, Dean and Rebecca are the co-teachers.   They make an excellent teaching duo!  (Well, I've really only seen them teach together during their yearly teacher training intensives that I've been to a couple times, and they really do well sharing in the teaching.) 

(By the way, if you're interested in a "yoga vacation" this summer, check out the Feathered Pipe link above -- it's not particularly cheap but worth every penny -- it's a good week; beautiful surroundings, good food, interesting people, and of course wonderful yoga!   Talk to me if you have more questions about it.)

I've enjoyed all the Iyengar Yoga teachers I've studied with, for different reasons.   They all have their own interesting personalities and their own unique way of teaching; their own "take" on Iyengar Yoga and what is important to them, but all fully within the framework of the Iyengar Yoga system.   

One of the aspects that I appreciate about Rebecca's teaching is her ability to sequence the poses and break down the more difficult poses in such a way that everyone, from newer students to more seasoned practitioners, can safely learn and participate and be challenged, all within the same class.  She builds on concepts introduced in the beginning of the class, repeating and reminding us of these concepts throughout the class, taking us from more familiar poses to more difficult poses.    She doesn't let us get away with being "sloppy" or mis-aligned in the poses, if she figures we can do better. 

Her pacing was good -- we had long classes but I didn't feel over-worked, and I didn't feel that the class dragged.   She also has a good eye for alignment, and a calm but friendly, straight-forward manner for correcting us and for controlling the class.

All good yoga teachers should be able to do this.   I feel I do relatively well as a teacher, but I know my own weaknesses.     Watching the more senior teachers in action, such as Rebecca, helps me to work toward becoming a better teacher and a better student/practitioner.

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