Posts Tagged ‘Power Yoga’
I’m headed back to Level 1 Teacher Training for Baptiste Power Vinyasa Yoga. I attended last year as a student, and this time I will be an assistant, supporting the other students and teachers in the program.
I’m looking forward to spending another 8 days in the Catskills at Menla Mountain Retreat Center, disconnecting from technology for a while, helping others to learn and grow and I’m sure I’ll also pick a few things up myself. I am always amazed at how the act of teaching others can help you to learn so much.
See you in a week or so!
People ask me all the time about what I eat (since I am Vegan) and what kind of smoothies I drink and why. Most people ask me these questions because they want to loose a few pounds or gain some strength, but in almost all cases I think the real motivation for the question is something deeper.
People are really looking to have more energy to live their lives. I’m not just talking about being able to keep your eyes open during a boring meeting at work. I’m talking about having the energy to perform at a high level both in mental pursuits (working on a hard problem at work or in school) and physical pursuits (like a power yoga class!).
I thought it would be good to share my top 5 tips for energizing your life. These are things that I do on a regular basis – and they work. I think experience is the best teacher – and I have learned well :)
- Avoid Caffeine. I know I know – sacrilege! Despite the supposed health benefits of drinking coffee (and even tea), the reality is that when you borrow energy you need to pay it back. This might not be what you want to hear, but it is the truth. If you are serious about energizing your body – cut the caffeine. Or (as I do right now), limit it to 1 serving in the morning.
- Hydrate. Your body is 75% water. Your body also has 2-3x as much lymph fluid in your body as it does blood. Lymph is the watery substance in between your cells that allows nutrients to flow in and toxins to flow out of your cells. Staying well-hydrated is critical to proper energy transfer into and out of the cells. A great way to stay hydrate is not just to drink water, but to avoid dehydrating your body with caffeine, refined sugars and other highly processed (and dehydrated) foods.
- Eat Nutrient Dense Foods. I’ve written a great post about this. In summary, you should focus on eating plenty of fresh fruits and green/bright colored veggies that have high water content and high nutrient contents on a per-calorie basis. Did you know that broccoli has more protein than steak on a per-calorie basis? The truth is sometimes surprising but it is the truth nonetheless.
- Eliminate Refined Sugars. If it says “cane sugar,” “brown rice syrup,” “corn syrup,” or any other kind of processed sugar on the package, don’t eat it. This includes most energy bars! Your body will just experience a sugar rush and crash cycle when you consume these things. Instead, eat fresh fruits. The sugar in the fruits is processed differently by the body and they won’t cause the same spike in blood sugar. You’ll also help your body to stay hydrated.
- Breath Properly! This is perhaps the single most effective thing you can do. I wrote a long post about the importance of proper breath work. If you are at all committed to having more energy in your days – you should read this post. Essentially, cultivate a practice of consistent and deep nasal breathing – especially under times of stress and while sleeping. It may take some practice but the benefits are well worth it.
Have any other tips to share? Please let me know in the comments!
This weekend I finished a teacher training intensive at my yoga studio. This intensive was 12 hours of yoga over the weekend (Friday night and 2 practices a day on Saturday and Sunday), with 25 other teachers and soon-to-be teachers from the Seattle area (though 1 person came in from Montana!).
My studio, Shakti Vinyasa, is a Baptiste Affiliate Studio, and this style of Power Vinyasa Yoga is quite popular nowadays. The training pushed us all to discover our own inner voice, our reasons for teaching and some of the key building blocks to leading an outstanding class.
Perhaps the most unnerving part of class was leading other students through small 3-5 minutes routines! In fact, at one point during yesterday evening’s class, while all of us were hanging out in downward dog waiting for the teacher to lead us to the next pose, we were asked to raise our leg if we wanted to teach the class.
Of course I did.
And of course I was then called on, and led the class through a little Sun Salutation B (with Crow thrown and a few Lion’s for good measure!). This was my first attempt at teaching a class this size at an actual yoga studio (in front of a bunch of other teacher’s no less!). It was a lot of fun.
Throughout the rest of the intensive, we had several practice rounds of teaching amongst smaller groups, with feedback (intense feedback I might add!) on what we did well and what we could improve on.
Feedback was a critical aspect of the training, and we were pushed to give feedback that focused both on “gems” (things we do well) and “opportunities” (things we could improve on). We were also repeatedly coached to not react to the feedback, and to just accept it.
I must say, that if you have never had to sit and listen to someone praise or critique you and SAY NOTHING…..you would not realize just how tough it is. No nodding the head or laughing or telling your story about why did such a thing…just sitting and accepting it quietly.
Through this experience, I have had a few realizations about making the transition from Yoga Student to Yoga Teacher:
It is far harder to teach a class (effectively) than I thought.
It is one thing to take class on a regular basis, and another thing altogether to remember the sequencing and cues for proper alignment that are needed when teaching. Remembering the proper breathing pace and cues also takes practice. From my own experience, it was as if there was a barrier between my brain and my mouth….and when I tried to teach, I smacked right into it! Already after just a few days of practice I can see that I’ve improved a lot. It’s also clear that I need to “study” more of the asana sequences and Sanskrit names more rigorously.
It is far more rewarding to teach a class than I thought.
It is a feeling that words cannot describe. On a practical note, teaching is an excellent way to really dial in your own practice. You also get to see many more people doing poses as an observer, which gives you insight into alignment issues you may be having in your own practice. It is also just so much fun. It’s like a runner’s high. I can also see how much you can contribute to society through effective teaching. You can help people remove stress from their lives and bring their bodies back into harmony. I’m so glad I’ve started out on this journey to become a yoga teacher.
For those of you who have read this far, are you a yoga teacher or student? If so, what is your motivation for practicing and/or teaching? Leave a note in the comments please!