15/4/2020 ~ My teaching skills are disappearing! Whilst the ‘Dialogue’ is ever present fundamental structure of our classes I NEVER know what I am going to say from one class to the next because each class dynamic is so different. Instructing is as much an exercise in ‘not’ saying anything as it is saying something. But STILL in order to be able to teach effectively I NEED TO SEE EVERYTHING. INCLUDING the stuff I am NOT even going to pass comment on!! THAT is how it works for me in class. The class itself is a living breathing unique event. So this lock down shows yet again that my teaching is not ‘script’ not ‘rote’. It is very much responding to what is happening in the moment and I am not able to do it any other way.
STILL recently (10 days into lock down) I thought I better practice the standard form instruction of a class and SHOCK when I thought to record the Pranayama clip for our little online lock in and I COULD NOT REMEMBER how to instruct Pranayama; I panicked!! I sent Darren & Saoirse out on a bike ride whilst I tried to type up what I might normally say; I could not get past the first sentence of instruction! 2.5 hours it took me to drag the words out of me. 2.5 hours just for ‘Pranayama’ 2 sets!
This is very worrying to me. WORDS are my tool and there were NO WORDS. I have been keeping up a personal practice at home. I have been enjoying it too. I have so many funnies in my practice approach and in my practice body that I need to work out and they have been getting extra fine attention lately. Over the years people have joked that they heard my voice in their head when trying a posture outside of our Yoga school or when doing something else (scary I know 😉 ) but when I practice alone there is no voice. Not mine, not anybody elses. I just have an innate sense of timing for effecting and holding the postures and I focus on the minutae and sensation and I enjoy. I don’t ‘live in my head’ you see; I spent years practicing NOT living in my head and (here’s a little ego kicking in) I did it so well that I just ‘Be’ in my pose (something I am trying to help others in class to Be). BUT BECAUSE THE WORDS WERE GONE I thought I would try to make use of my personal practice time to practice my words in my head; this is not pleasant for me; it takes me out of my body and into my head and stops me experiencing my efforts… practice spoiled until I let go of the words. I put a pm random Youtube 90 minute class American girl teaching and follow that. No problem. The external voice/rhythm easy peasy to follow, meditate on and still effect feeling, owning and enjoying my posture. So there it is. I happily practice without a voice OR with an ‘external’ voice; but the problem occurs when it is my own voice ‘in’ my head trying to practice the word/skills. Oh what to do! Do I trust that when the time comes and I have a class of live people back in front of me on Rue De Funchal that the right words will come back…
SECRETS OF MY HOME PRACTICE:
ROOM: daughters bedroom; it’s the room with the best light and the only room with a full length mirror
HEAT: two fan heaters set to full until Eagle; then turned down to setting one so that when I go to floor can turn back up to two and feel the benefit of an increased heat
PACE: when practicing solo I prefer to practice to my own rhythm; no external voice; that way I can hold some postures longer in the moment (if I feel like); I don’t spend too long in ‘resting’ positions so as not to cool down too much
EQUIPMENT/PROPS: I practice on bare carpet because adding a mat to carpet makes it even more ‘bouncy’/less stability/less grounded. I use a hand towel for my face/hygiene when I go to floor postures on my belly. Don’t need a full towel here although I do work up a good sweat, my layered clothing holds onto it (less washing, YAY!)
SECRET WEAPON: layers of clothing and body warmer; keeps the torso nice and hot
FAVOURITE BIKRAM POSTURE of this era: PRANAYAMA has turned into a real life saver at this moment in time for me, releasing stress build up and also really feel like I am giving my lungs good attention, utilizing them to the max and just doing something wonderful for them; after all this exercise is all about generating and controlling life force, chi, energy, light, call it what you want… 😉