Saturday, June 25, 2005

Resting my Ashtanga, but teaching my Vinyasa today

Last night, I taught a really nice sequence at my Open level class at New York Yoga, which class is to be no more, at least for me. Time to get some new blood in there, stir things up a bit. It's also a particularly difficult time for me now that my kids are in camp all day - it would mean they would be away all day, and then I wouldn't see them until bedtime. Not good. My sequencing last night didn't exactly borrow directly from Ashtanga so much as it borrowed from Narayani's class at Jivamukti. She really inspired me. I think my summer schedule will definitely include Narayani on Wednesdays at noon, which fits in perfectly after I teach my 8 a.m. Express and my 9:15 Led Primary Series.

Yes, you heard that right. Lauren Cahn is teaching a Led Primary Series class, four times this summer. Subbing for the esteemed Mary-Beth Garruti. I cannot possibly fill her yogi shoes. However, I can offer a very traditional, by the book, Led class as I did last Wednesday. We chanted the Invocation and then went straight through the Primary Series, finishing in just under 90 minutes. I know that an ashtangi friend of mine is skeptical - she doesn't see how I can possibly teach the Primary Series, not having trained formally. But I totally can LEAD a class in the Primary Series and even adjust in many poses. What I am not qualified to do, and it's silly to even discuss it, is to lead a Mysore practice. That would be absurd at this point.

But since I have been through the Primary Series many times now, I have a very good ear for mimicry, I am intelligent enough to remember how to count out the breaths in Sanskrit and to remember the sequence and know the names of the poses, and because I already know how to teach each individual part of the Series as a result of my training and experience as a Vinyasa teacher, I know it is going to be GREAT. And what I offer is the chance to experience the entire Series. We will stay in poses for the prescribed five breaths and then move on. It won't be possible to offer a steady stream of modifications or to adjust more than one person per pose. It seems excellently tailored for someone like me.

Do I sound defensive?!

Also, if you read the biography of Sarah Plumer, somewhere on the web (she is my teacher at Eddie Stern's place), it says that she began her Ashtanga teaching by leading her dancer friends in the Primary Series. There really is no magic in leading the LED version of the Primary Series, and in fact, dare I say, for the students, Led Ashtanga takes on the feeling of being more of a "performance" than a practice. Yes, I dare say it. In five breaths, you are not going to LEARN about a pose, so much as perform it.

It is also a perfect opportunity to explain the importance of practicing daily. Five breaths in a pose per week is not enough to learn the pose! Practice every day, and it comes.

So, I guess my schedule looks like it's going to be Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays at Guy's. Wednesdays teaching in the morning and then Eddie's or Jivamukti. Thursdays at Guy's and then Fridays Mary-Beth's or Eddies, or more than likely, both.

Practicing twice in one day? Yes. I know it sounds obsessive. But think about what teacher training was like. We practiced all day long. Two and half hours or so is nothing compared to what I have done.

I am going to take a moment now just to thank GOD and all higher powers looking over me for the sheer energy I possess and for all of the wonderful opportunities that I have been given.



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About Me

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Northern Westchester, New York, United States
I live by a duck pond. I used to live by the East River. I don't work. I used to work a lot. Now, not so much. I used to teach a lot of yoga. Now not so much. I still practice a lot of yoga though. A LOT. I love my kids, being outdoors, taking photos, reading magazines, writing and stirring the pot. Enjoy responsibly.


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