Saturday, January 12, 2019

8 Yoga Class Observations - Just the Quick Notes

Observation Class One: Bikram Yoga Delta

Quick notes: Vivien has a smooth flow and steady pace to her class. He voice is vibrant and changes in tone and level to encourage strength and length. She has a kind smile but is still firm. I wear hearing aides, but not in the hot classes because of the amount of sweat, but I can still hear her cues clearly. This 6am class is full of regulars and she is familiar with everyone in the class. She knows your weaknesses and when to give each person extra attention or motivation. She also gives praise to students that have achieved a new level in their own yoga practice. 

Observation Class Two: Y Yoga Downtown Flow studio: Restorative

Quick notes: This is the first time that I have taken Mark's class. When I came into the class, he welcomed me. I found a spot and collected some props. I said hi to one of my neighbours and then I laid on my back and brought my knees in and gave my low back a stretch. There was calm music playing. A never ending type song with piano plinks in it. Sometimes reminiscent of a familiar melody, but then pulled away into a nothingness background calm. We took a lot of time at the beginning of the class breathing focusing on three part breathing. Mark used an awesome analogy of sitting in a movie theatre twenty seats back to introduce his themes of mindfulness, breath, and shape. I wonder if having a yoga class where you can see the movie theatre played into his use of this analogy or the discovery of it? Unfortunately, at the end of class I had to rush to drive my husband somewhere. I would have liked to remain in my calm state the entire day. However, during the a frustrating six year old not wanting to put on his shoes, I was able to remain calm and change his mood…. Eventually. I drew energy from the serenity achieved in that class. I will try my best to return next week. My back is feeling a lot better.

Observation Class Three: Bikram Yoga Delta

Quick notes: My spine is feeling stronger and more flexible today than last week. Something went right in that restorative yoga class on Sunday. I was able to lay flat on my back and on my stomach without pain. I was still mindful of forward bends and focused on my breathing. My focus on my breathing was better than usual. I give credit to the focus on the breath on Sunday, it has seeped into my hot yoga practice. I was trying to flow in and out of postures with the breath. Vivien gave my spine some love during half tortoise pose. She asked me first, and then pressed down on my hips all the way to the top of my head - then brought her hands back to my hips so I could get up without using my hands. That felt lovely and I tried to retain that feeling and length during the second set. 

Observation Class Four: Y Yoga Yaletown Studio: Power

Quick Notes: This was my first time taking Katherine's class in at least 7 years. She didn't recognize me and I didn't find the right time to say hi. The class was dark and there was no music when I walked in. It was my first time in this studio of this location. I have taken her Hot class in the other studio after a running workshop at the Running Room. Anyways, watching her teach and listening to her cues made me question if I could ever be as smooth and knowledgeable as her. She is at ease in her teaching, calm and with a good sense of humor. She gave different options for different levels. She encouraged us to look at our fingers in DD to make sure they were all spread out evenly to protect our wrists. Towards the end I stopped doing the last few forward folds as my back did not want to do anymore. I did child's pose and squat instead.  

Observation Class Five: Y Yoga Downtown Flow studio: Restorative

Quick notes: This is the second class I have taken with Mark. I have the end of a sinus cold and a bit of a cough. I forgot that this might cause a problem while trying to breathe and be calm. I had to excuse myself at the very start of class as I felt a tickle in my throat. I got some water and coughed outside and snuck back in. I was able to hold in any big coughs for the rest of the class. I did have a problem when we laid on our bolsters under our armpits on our stomachs with our heads hanging forward, my nose became very congested and it was hard to breathe through it. When I came up from that position, tissues had magically appeared beside me. That was thoughtful. He knew I was struggling. I felt very calm by the end of the class and I chatted with a nice older woman in the change room. Downtown people aren't the friendliest but older people usually are. I think I will get a membership at Y Yoga or at least more classes when these ones are done. (My old yoga studio closed with my year membership - so I have ten class cards at a couple of places while I find my new home. I also practice at my dance studio where I teach… I am kind of lucky.. I can do yoga at work!)

Observation Class Six: Y Yoga Yaletown Studio: Power

Quick Notes: I am really enjoying Y Yoga. It was raining a little bit this morning as I walked across the street - but that is ok - because it is right across the street. I am really going to make this my new studio when these classes are up. The only thing I would change, is the way I am interacting with the other yogis. I am trying to be polite and kind and say good - morning to people but no one is talking. I do say good bye and have a nice day as I leave the change room because that has always been my thing. I want to try and create a supportive community like I have in my classes where I teach. I teach the kids to say hi to everyone and make sure everyone is supported and feeling part of the community - I want to practice what I preach. I just happen to live in an area where people think they are better than everyone else… or rather have been trained to act that way because everyone else is acting that way. It just takes one person to start sharing kind words each morning to spread the love. This is my mission - and you never know - it might spread to outside the studio one day and my whole neighbourhood could improve??!!! 


Observation Class Seven: Bikram Yoga Delta

Quick Notes: Lisa is a teacher's teacher. She doesn't let anyone get away with anything. When she isn't teaching class, she is taking it. She leads by example and is a strong and motivating, no guff taking, master leader.

Observation Class Seven: Y Yoga Downtown

Quick notes: I love MARI! She has been one of my teachers for many years and at various studios. This is the first time I have taken a flow class with her. Every time I take her class I leave a little better. There is never a class that I don't take away a tidbit that makes my practice stronger. It could be a word, an idea, an alignment correction… but there is always something. I know she mentors new teachers, and today in class I thought, I should find a time when I can make that happen. I need to spend more time with this amazing teacher.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

"BACK" to the Doc

My last entry was looking a little more positive. I thought I was getting back to Harbour and normality but I have taken a turn back down the back pain road. This winter break, where I had imagined myself... and had filled in my calendar with dance classes at Harbour... turned into some basic stretching and yoga at home with my Beach Body on Demand membership. Trying to stay positive, I also studied and have almost completed a 200 hour yoga course... adding to my bag of tricks. Now, if I could only move freely.  

But what really kept me happy this winter, was my son and getting to hang out with him everyday. Today he made me a sandwich and delivered it to me with a knife and spoon rolled up in a face cloth. Not that I needed to be served, he just really wanted to play waiter and he just learned to make his own sandwich. The other thing that has kept me happy, are people that have joined my research task to help me bring my project to reality. I was really worried that I was not going to have anyone participate and now I have four art works plus my own and I have had others that have said they would give it a go. All participants have until the end of January to contribute - so anyone else who wants to be part of this piece, still has time. I am hoping that I can move more freely in February when I pull all the pieces together.

Let's look at this calendar again, without all the pink. Even though I have been injured I have kept mobile. I have modified and I haven't given up. I have made a new friend at school, Erin, and we have been working on our fitness with Autumn in the mornings before school. I look forward to getting back to your morning workouts next week. We are going to be starting 80 Day Obsession Phase 2. I also plan to keep going to Bikram once a week to stretch out my body and back and also do the yoga workouts on Beach Body on Demand. I just started the Three Week Yoga Retreat and plan to keep that up on breaks at school and weekends. So far, stretching, yoga, and rolling have been the only things that have brought me relief from back pain.

I am lucky to get in for a CT scan on Monday morning and I have a follow up with my doctor in two weeks. From there, I will make a plan to recover or manage or deal with whatever is going on with my back. Just knowing that I will have a plan to overcome this latest challenge - soon - is also keeping me positive. Harbour will be there when I am better and I will dance up a storm. Now, I must keep my mind on recovery, teaching, and completing my masters. (and applying for new jobs so I can escape the rain winters and add some adventure to my(our) life (lives).)

I don't know what I weigh today, but before the Winter Break I weighed myself and I was 148. I have been sticking to Autumn's 80 Day Obsession timed nutrition during the week at school and then a little less strict on the weekends, with weekends where we are away - not stressing about food - just enjoying and getting back to my plan. I hadn't been doing the workouts for phase one on the weekends - or even everyday - just moving them to fit my schedule and I still got results. (even modifying.) Nutrition really is the key. It is much easier to eat healthy at school when I don't have the boys around. So, I am looking forward to getting back to school. But, I will never forget that cute little sandwich with apple slices my son just made me. He is growing up so fast.