Friday, August 17, 2012

The yoga bubble: Part 3

The Yoga bubble: Part 3 With the half moon presentations out of the way we found ourselves with exciting new challenges to get to grips with. First up were anatomy lectures. What could've been a really dry subject proved to be one of the highlights of teacher training in the hands of the legend that is Dr. P as he prepared us for two tests that we’d have to do just two weeks later - and score above 70% in order to pass. Dr. P kept anatomy classes light and enjoyable even when they ran late into the night. Every day we looked forward to reading the slogan on his t-shirt (ranging from ‘I’m not that kind of doctor’ to simply ‘no’) and laughed as he slipped us the answers to test questions (recollection of the way he conspiratorially said “the FEMUR is the longest bone in the human body” into a radio mike still has me in hysterics).

Anatomy was cool, even if the chairs in the lecture room were incredibly uncomfortable when you were stuck in them for four hours at a time. And yes, I breezed the tests, thankyouverymuch.

About three or four weeks in (I forget exactly when because seriously, the whole thing kind of blends into one long yoga experience) we began posture clinics. This was basically a continuation of the half moon stuff we did earlier where we’d stand up in front of our peers and present the dialogue for individual postures, but rather than do it in front of all 400 or so trainees we were spilt into groups of around 20. Two random groups would then gather together in the cabanas round by the pool (this sounds way sexier than it actually was) and a couple of teachers, either visiting volunteers or staff teachers, would give you feedback on your presentation.

I was part of Group 11, and if you went to training and you're reading this, I'm sorry but Group 11 was THE BEST GROUP. And if you're going to the next training and you're in the next Group 11, shiiiiiiiiiit … You've got a lot to live up to. Every member of my group was a star in their own right and we were universally supportive of each other whenever one of us jumped up to present a posture. I couldn't have asked for a better group of people.

The legendary Group 11.
Some memorable highlights from posture clinics:

• Thinking I'd cocked up a posture and talking to the lead teacher afterwards. She assured me I'd done a great job, told me she'd love to take my class, then much to my surprise invited me to teach at her studio in New York. I discovered later that she is Lady Gaga's yoga teacher and I fully intend to take her up on her offer.

• Presenting word-perfect dialogue for full locust pose one Friday evening with such gusto that my group were literally applauding me before I'd even finished. It was one of my personal defining moments from training where I thought ‘yeah, I can do this and I'm actually pretty good!’

• Finishing delivering dialogue for a posture (I forget which one) and turning to face the teachers, a married couple. The guy looks at me and he says “Wow. First of all you have a sexy accent…” I can't really remember what the rest of his feedback was, but it was definitely positive. Me and my sexy accent were well chuffed.

• Beginning dialogue delivery one evening by saying “my name's Tim and I'll be your yoga teacher tonight.” My feedback in that clinic was “you're not a yoga teacher tonight: you’re a yoga teacher.”

• A little dog running into the cabana and one member of my group who was in triangle posture shouting “Ah! A rat!”

The darling little posture clinic infiltrating pooch.
• My stomach rumbling so loudly one evening while a fellow Group 11 trainee was presenting dialogue that she forgot her words. I'm *so* sorry, Christine.

• Being told by a teacher at the beginning of posture clinic one evening “you all need to look presentable. If you don’t, I won’t let you present your dialogue. Wear appropriate clothing, do your hair, make yourself look nice.” And that's how this happened.

Well, at least I did my hair.
There were some bad moments too, particularly when I was ill. I remember getting up to do dialogue late one night with a high temperature and literally going through the motions before stumbling over my words and coming to a juddering halt. I cocked up my dialogue for triangle pose as well, to the point that I almost asked if I could do it again the next day. I apologised to the lead teacher for a shitty presentation only for her to tell me that she wanted students to have a brain freeze in posture clinics because it made us realise that the same thing could happen in class and it would get us thinking about ways to deal with it. She then told me she was so pleased mine had happened in her clinic and I should be glad I’d experienced it. A good way to make a positive out of a negative, huh?

It had been my intention to learn all the dialogue before going to LA for training, but in the end I actually only learnt the first four. In hindsight I don't regret this. In the words of Bikram: “ask me why!” Well, I found learning dialogue under pressure to be far easier than when I had all the time in the world. Sometimes I literally only learnt postures an hour before I was due to present them, which sounds a bit unprofessional but it worked for me. And before anyone accuses me of being slapdash, I'm still going back to the dialogue now to strengthen my knowledge of it, and will continue to do so for as long as I'm teaching.

The suggested way of learning the dialogue was in small groups, either doing round robins where each person said a couple of lines or saying it out loud while other people performed the posture so you could get used to working with bodies. I was the opposite, and basically did what everyone said you shouldn't; I learnt my dialogue by sitting quietly in my room on my own and just reading it over and over and over, line by line. Occasionally I'd practice with other people just before going into posture clinics, but for the most part the first time I worked with actual bodies was when I jumped up to present. I know, I'm a rebel - what you gunna do about it? Anyway, if you're reading this and thinking about going to training my advice to you would be to listen to everyone’s advice then find what works for you, even if it flies in the face of what works for others.

Practicing Standing Separate Leg Stretching dialogue just minutes before presenting it, ably assisted by the brilliant Dayna.
So posture clinics were, for the most part, enjoyable, even if we all got a bit restless sitting on the hard floors of the cabanas. They gave us the tools that would set us up for teaching in the real world, and equally important, they put us with people who would become our support group and our closest friends. They were good times.


KLee said...

I still feel bad for spreading around the cold to the rest of my group buddies! But that was one of the experiences you have to go through during TT. LOL That's what the nurse told me: "Just go back to your line in class, everyone is sick during this time."

Tim said...

Ha! Yeah - I still hold a grudge about that!

*sly glance at Kevin*

Tim said...
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