Yoga Stuff Happens
Next week I am having a medical procedure done that will require me to not do yoga for a week. This could be a potential problem for me as a yoga teacher. When I asked the doctor about what it meant to “not do yoga,” she specifically stated, “No Downward Dogs.” Are you kidding me? Being asked to not do the pose that takes me back home on my mat? The pose that connects me with my yoga clients as we do our yoga? The pose that works like the golden thread to weave my Vinyasa style classes together? Downward Dog is the glue that keeps me attached to my mat, my breath, and my practice.
It’s time to reinvent my role as a yoga teacher for this week. I have decided to be a Yoga Mistress. For those of you who think this sounds inappropriate, I am going to teach yoga like a Ballet Mistress, or Master, as they are also called. The stereotype is a professional who has danced and performed for many years, and now teaches dance without actually dancing. She carries around a stick and taps it to the beat of the music and pokes it at students’ misaligned bodies, insisting on better turn-out in the feet, and for more strength in the center to avoid over-arching in the back.
I think I will leave my stick at home and my attitude will be one of a servant.
I plan on being there to help with adjustments, to really observe each student, to praise, and to take the time just to notice things. Many times as teachers, we forget to do this. We get very caught up in the rundown of our classes and we don’t make the effort to walk around the class or to observe people doing yoga from different perspectives.
How about you? As a teacher (or as an observant student) have you ever had to take or teach a yoga class with an injury or limited movement? Have you ever taught a completely verbal class without demonstrating the poses? If so, what are some of your ideas to handle this challenge?
Give me the flow of your thoughts!