Day eleven of CorePower Yoga Teacher Training went by much fast than Tuesday’s Anatomy lecture. Today’s lecture was also about Anatomy, but we focused more on the C1 sequence and the purpose of its order. This class was more interactive than lecture based, and I think this helped speed up the time.
The one thing you’ll notice throughout your yoga practice is the fact that everyone looks different in each posture. We are all different ages, different body types, different backgrounds (sports etc..), and so forth. This is important to know as you head into teacher. Just because a student’s Warrior I doesn’t look like yours, that doesn’t mean they’re doing it wrong, rather that’s how their body is setup to handle the posture.
We started discussing compression verses tension. Compression happens when bone meets bone. For example, reach your arms out straight in front of you. You’re unable to straighten your arm past it’s current point due to bone hitting bone (ulna hitting humerus). Tension would be the stretch you feel in your upper bicep when you straighten through your leg. Another example would be seated forward fold (sitting down on your glutes with your legs extended out in front of you). When you reach your arms up overhead and then drape your torso over your legs, you feel the tension in the back of your hamstrings.
Following compression and tension, we discussed the order of the C1 sequence and the purpose for that specific order. The main purpose of this was to fully understand why we put postures ahead of other postures later on in the sequence. For example, we do Warrior II, runner’s lunge, triangle and wide leg forward fold at the beginning and middle of class to prepare our bodies for half pigeon at the end. All postures previously listed are hip openers. As a teacher, you wouldn’t want to start students off in half pigeon as the hip needs time to warm up to fully dive deeper into the posture. I really enjoyed this conversation as it put a meaning behind the sequence setup.
After we discussed the sequence order, we broke out into six groups and were told to add or change 5 postures in the C1 sequence with a main focus. Our group decided to focus on lengthening, strengthening, and opening the side body. We added “crawl your fingertips to your left and ride side body” during child’s pose. This helps lengthen out the side bodies. We added a half moon/side bend to the left and right during our Sun A flow (after mountain pose). We then added an easy twist in our Crescent Lunge series (prior to rising up to crescent lunge). Lastly, we added the concept of reaching your arms towards the front of the room during triangle as well as oblique twists during an added horse posture. The group next to us focused on preparing for Camel pose (a big heart opener). In order to lead up to camel pose, they incorporated more postures that opened up the heart throughout class (chest expansions, half binds, etc…). The remainder of the groups focused on preparing for a specific pose later on in class as group two and came up with super creative ideas!
In addition to the groups above, the last group did an awesome job focusing on counter stretches as well. They used wheel (back bend) as their example. They would do a seated forward fold to lengthen through the back/lower back and then they would go into wheel to lengthen through the front side of the body and chest. They gave other examples as well, but what they did on one side of the body, they would add a counter stretch in the opposite way. I thought this was a great idea!
We discussed the central nervous system and then moved onto the breath topic. Breath is always one of my favorites because when I started yoga I felt as thought I was always on the opposite breath as the teacher. Meaning, I would be on an exhale when the teachers would cue inhale. Now that I understand that inhales occur when you’re rising or opening up as opposed to exhales when coming down or closing in – it makes MUCH more sense. Once you get the breath down everything begins to flow more fluidly.
We use different types of breath throughout class based on specific postures or what feels best internally. Open mouth exhales are used to release heat from our bodies. Often times students return to open mouth exhales when they’re feeling overheated. We also cue open mouth exhales during core, bridge, or camel pose as they’re heart openers (aside from core).
Ujjayi breath is our breath of fire or victorious breath according to our books. Ujjayi breath allows us to build heat from within. Have you ever been angry and sat there taking deep inhales and exhales through your nose? That’s ujjayi!
I have frequent heartburn that I’ve gone through major tests for, so ujjayi breath doesn’t feel that great in my body. It makes my heartburn worse (I have literally had throw up come out of my nose during class due to heartburn). I never told anyone that LOL (it was only a little, I continued on with class). Students tend to start with this breath and carry through with it until the middle or end of class.
There’s no right or wrong breath in yoga, so breathe through the breath that helps best serve you during your practice. Breathing is both conscious and unconscious, meaning we breath naturally without trying but we also have control over our breath if we focus enough.
I am PASSIONATE to learn, grow, and share with the world around me.