Requests?

Some of the really nice yoga teachers at this studio right next to my home (right next to in this weather!!) start their class asking if anyone has a request for a pose to include in the class sequence. Huh? Some competitive ladies yell handstand! Bested by wheel! And the teacher says sure no problem. This is my 3rd week there and I’m old enough to pass on something that does not look like a good idea without coming out as disrespectful or disruptive.  Having gray hair and a little pudge helps too divert the questioning about why not give it a shot? I will clarify that nice teacher put me into handstand and it was cool. Another gave me an assist in Urdva Dhanurasana that was awesome, but I knew I was not going to  tear something by trying to grab my foot in the air on a transition from Trikonasana to whatever that is called. Ah but yesterday during requests anybody? someone yelled Plow! and I thought I love Halasana! Well, there is a very good reason why this Asana is part of the FINISHING sequence! It hurts your back if you go into it too early during your practice session. I’m not a yoga teacher (not that I need to clarify that) but I used  to be quite a capable elementary school teacher, who believes in a lesson plan and that your ability to improvise and modify comes with time and knowledge of your students strengths and weaknesses. So taking requests like radio DJs (dating myself) is not ideal if you are teaching a class with students of multiple abilities (newsflash-all classes end up being like that). By now you have probably guessed that I hurt my lower back and I’m cranky about it. I bought a monthly that ends the 16th, and back to Ashtanga home practice it is.

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This entry was posted in Ashtanga, Daily Life, Fitness, Rant, Yoga. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Requests?

  1. Loo says:

    THIS is why I always left every yoga class I tried pre-Ashtanga! That sucks, so sorry.

  2. Nobel says:

    I’m so sorry to hear that you hurt your lower back. I had a close shave recently with yoga tourism as well (see my December 22nd blog post on the perils of yoga tourism). I have hurt my lower back before, and it really really sucks. My suggestion: Do whatever postures in primary you can really slowly and carefully. It is very helpful for healing.

    I’ll make a little confession here. In my pre-Ashtanga days, I taught this vinyasa class at this studio in Florida, and I sometimes ask students for requests on days when I didn’t feel inspired (that’s really a euphemism: I think schoolteachers would call this being unprepared and unprofessional!). I have never hurt anybody doing this (at least not to my knowledge), but then again, even at that time, I knew better than to put halasana anywhere but as a finishing posture.

    But this is probably why I stuck to ashtanga after I started doing it regularly: Doing the same thing everyday might seem boring to some people, but it actually gives one a safe space in which to understand and appreciate one’s limits, and to grow organically based on this understanding. Besides (and I know I sound like a fundamentalist when I say this) if anything goes, why bother to go to a yoga class?

    I hope this is not too much information. Just thought I’d share.

  3. tova says:

    epsom salt soak for the back! and feel better 🙂

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