Last nights “vinyasa” class was pretty awful. The teachers at this studio are all required to have 500 hours of yoga alliance approved teaching. I’ve been to two classes so far and both of the teachers made some major mistakes.
Some of the major and dangerous errors the teacher made were:
1. Didn’t ask if there was anyone new in the class, despite the fact that myself, my fiance and a close friend had never been in the class and were within her visual field.
2. Did not ask if anyone had any injuries or anything she should know about. How could you mention contraindications and warn against stuff that could hurt or worsen people’s condition, if you don’t ask this important question?
3. Did not ask if she could touch a student before making an adjustment. Those of you who have taken my teacher training know about the story of when I was touched by a teacher in Portland, Oregon.
This was the same thing, except it was my fiance the teacher was touching. My fiance after the class reported that he felt very uncomfortable as she “adjusted him” in his hips and glutes. She also proceeded in savasana (which was also pretty bad) to give his leg a little “love squeeze” and touched him other times throughout the class when it was definitly not necessary.
Not asking someone if you can touch them is a major violation of privacy. I was scared the whole class that she was going to come near me and I knew she wasn’t going to ask, so I had to be on guard throughout the class to make sure I did not get injured by this woman.
4. Did not attend to the wrists at all! The majority of the poses she had us do all required weightbearing through the wrists and not once did she say circle your wrists, or anything. No all the people in the class who are typing on their computers today are going to think that it’s their computers causing wrist pain when in fact if they are attending this class regularly, they are destined for a repetitive stress injury to the hand and wrist.
5. Did not mention any contraindications as she was teaching the poses during the entire class! This is a huge and dangerous no, no! The majority of the class were over 50 which means there is a high likelihood and probability that people in the class have arthritis, strains, tendonitis’s, back issues and repetitive stress injuries.
6. Showed off and went beyond what everyone in the class was capable of doing and cloaked her ego with the blanket statement, “Let me show you where this can go.” as she proceeded to put both legs over her shoulders. (those of you who have taken my ytt know that this is also a major and dangerous no-no.) Many in the class tried to force themselves into the position and it was UGLY!
7. Not once warned us that if something hurts in the joints or if something doesnn’t feel right, to stop doing it. Furthermore did not once suggest child’s pose or laying down as an option if you were fatigued or tired. Hence, I was the ONLY one in the class that took child’s pose MANY, MANY times throughout the class. I took child’s pose so many times, my knees were aching.
8. Held poses for WAY TOO LONG. She had no frame of what it felt like because she would come out of the pose and then start twirling her hair and telling a story or would walk around and focus on correcting someone while the rest of the class quivered desperately to stay in the pose.
9. Used anatomy terms incorrectly and made statements about anatomy that were not true or possible. For example, the forearm does not internally rotate or externally rotate, it pronates and supinates. The upper shoulder should externally rotate in downdog to protect the shoulder from impingement. When weight bearing through an extremity, you cannot do one thing to one joint, without affecting the other joints along the chain, hence the definition of closed chain activities.
10. Poor savasana. She turned of the lights, proceeded to walk around the class audibly touching people and then before we returned she read some poem to us. There was no guidance into relaxation and we were there for a maximum of 4 minutes. 10-15 is required to really go into pratyahara and integrate the benefits of the practice.
11. Used sanskrit words and called out poses making it awkward and uncomfortable for people who didn’t know the words to get into the pose. She also lacked giving guidance of how to get into the position.
12. Went way too fast through the vinyasa’s. Not only did she merely call them out in sanskrit, she went way too fast, not connecting movement to the breath and the majority of the class had awful alignment as a result.
13. Left immediately. Before the end of the class the teacher stated that if anyone had any questions she’d be there after class. Before we even exited the studio room, she had her coat on and was outside at her car! She literally ran out of the room.
I just started a month of unlimited yoga classes at a popular chain yoga studio. I’ve already been to one class and have quite a bit of feedback already that would not only help this teacher, but other teachers making the same mistakes.
More to come on how to be a safe yoga teacher.
Sigh it out- Think about it, whenever you are super stressed or frustrated you eventually emit a sigh and that is a form of breathing deeper and it relieves stress. For maximum effectiveness you can do a popular technique known as progressive relaxation. Scrunch up all your muscles, take a deep breath in, hold it and then sigh it out simultaneously relaxing all your muscles. Do this 3x
Stretch it out- When you are sitting for long periods, blood pools in your extremities making you prone to varicose veins and edema and your muscles get tight and tense. Stand up and stretch! You can lean over your chair making a 90 degree angle at your hips and chest and stretch your calves and the backs of your upper thigh by pedaling your heels up and down. To stretch your shoulders out, you can interlace your fingers behind your back and stretch backwards (this will counter act all the forward rounded shoulder movements that we all do ie: driving, typing, hugging, playing with children…etc. If you are so tight that your hands can’t meet, use a towel or a belt behind your back.
Count it out- It may seem cliché to close your eyes and slowly count to 60, but it works. It works because you momentarily take your mind off of whatever is frustrating or challenging you, you rest your probably tired eyes, and you slow down your breath.
Write it out- If you are feeling really challenged or upset by a particular person, write out a letter that you won’t send to the person, telling them exactly how you feel. Leave it alone, wait a few days, and then revisit it. Writing out our emotions can take the heat out of them and allow us to think before we speak.
I sit here reflecting upon the fact that today is the last day of 2011. I wonder, will 2012 bring an evolution to our global consciousness, as so many predict? I can only hope and meditate in order to help bring it about.
January 9th through the 15th, I am blessed with the opportunity to help people that I know will then go on to help other people. I’ll be spending 7 days in Orlando, Florida directing a yoga teacher training. I rent space at a beautiful ballet studio on Philadelphia Ave. At the end of the week, everyone becomes a certified yoga instructor. It’s one of six modules that make up the 200 hour yoga alliance approved training. During these 7 days, amazing transformations never fail to take place. When people carve out a week of life alongside other like-minded individuals focused on the same goal, incredible things can happen….new ideas are born, new friendships, new questions, new business relationships, and also healing and personal advancement. It’s a spiritually, physically, emotionally, mentally charged and challenging week. Because once someone completes this week, they can come back any time in the future for free, often the group is enriched by people at all different places and phases on the path of yoga and in life. For me, one of the most fulfilling things is when a graduate returns with good news. For example, maybe they just started teaching yoga to a new private client, were invited to teach a workshop or had the opportunity to share yoga with a sick family member.
I am excited to get away from the cold weather here in NY and spend 7 days completely immersed in yoga. January 11th is my birthday which means I will be doing what I love on my birthday! Yoga! I’m always fitter and more flexible at the end of the week, way more calm, way more peaceful, and super excited to teach and share yoga when I get back.
If anyone with at least 6 months of yoga experience who wants to join the week of January 9th for 43% off the regular price can use this special link to register.
My Inspirational Workout at Home Tips:
1. Listen to inspirational, uplifting music. Your brainwaves will change as a result of the positive vibrations.
2. Repeat a few positive affirmations over and over such as,
“I am getting fitter and stronger.”
” I am healthy and divine.”
“I am beautiful.”
Talking positively to yourself will make you feel good. Be a great coach and your own biggest fan!
3. Notice your breath. The past and future are only in our minds. Connecting with your breath connects you to the moment and allows you to not only get more fresh oxygen to your body, but it makes you present.
4. Light a candle. A candle can be mesmerizing and it can set the tone that this is a sacred time that you are devoting to yourself. It can also represent the fire you feel burning within as you workout and burn up toxins.
5. Pray. Thank the force that is beating your heart, expanding your lungs and moving your body.
Want Better Posture?
Anyone can have really poor posture. What influences posture the most is how you habitually sit, stand and hold yourself. Posture is an accumulated effect.
Improving posture is a giant challenge to your awareness. You must continually correct your posture over and over and over and over and over again many times throughout each day, for many months. It may help to set up an alarm or reminders on your computer to go off every 20 minutes to remind you to correct your posture. My partner and I verbally cue each other when ever we notice the other is slouching.
Pelvis: When sitting in a chair you want to be sitting on top of your sitz bones. To find them just pull the fat behind you and out to the sides until you feel the bones right under your butt and your feel tall and long. You will need to correct this many times throughout the day as you will find yourself sliding down in your chair. By sitting on top of these bones you will have a level and even pelvis.
Shoulders: draw your shoulders back and down. Relax shoulders away from your ears.
Neck: Keep your neck in a nice line over your shoulders, feel as though a string were pulling from the crown of your head towards the ceiling. You will probably find that you have a forward head as do most people and you can work on correcting this.
When standing, ground through your feet, level your pelvis and stand tall.
Feet: Turn your heels slightly outwards and your toes slightly inwards and you will find that your feet are perfectly straight in front of you.
Keegles: Another tip for posture is to practice keegles while sitting up right. This will help strengthen your deep abdominal muscles, which will make it easier to stand taller. Practice these when driving, sitting or whenever you remember.
The use of yoga blocks and straps can be very useful in cueing correct posture.
Tips for getting rid of cankles:
Here are some exercises that you can do to get rid of edema and excess fat around your ankles.
Ankle pumps: Very easy to do and very effective. Elevate your feet in bed and simply point and flex (plantar flex and dorsi flex) your feet back and forth x 20 reps x 3 sets.
Go upside down: Get your feet and legs up a wall and just rest. This will help to drain excess fluid that accumulates because of gravity. Often an INSTANT difference is seen in pigmentation and size.
Alphabets: With your feet hanging off a chair, draw the letters of the alphabet in the air with your feet.
One Legged Calf Raises: With 2 fingers on a firm surface, balance on one foot. Lift the weight of your body onto the ball of the foot, then slowly descend, but before allowing your heel to touch the floor, rise back up again. Do 20 reps x 3 sets on each leg.
Yoga Jane Training is currently running a special on DealSurf.com. Click here to check it out!