Sunday, March 13, 2005

Trial by Peer

So that you don't think it's all doom and gloom at Darshan Heights, I thought I'd tell you what a great weekend I've been having (despite the previous posts).

In August last year I started a yoga teacher training course with CYS Scotland in Glasgow. It's based around the Ashtanga Vinyasa Primary Series, which kind of put me off at first - I practiced Ashtanga Vinyasa for about 18 months before realising how 'wrong' it was for me (on many levels). But after discussing the course with the course director, June Mitchell, I was more than happy to join in. Although using the Primary Series as a framework for teaching, this course is centred around general Hatha Yoga techniques, so teaches much more than the narrow focus of that sequence.

More than that, June (and her Co-Principal, Julie Hanson)have a really great and open attitude to yoga. This course is far more than a simple 'learn to teach asana' type course that is so popular these days. June takes it upon herself to really develop and nurture the teacher within all of her students - not focusing merely on the fine details of each techniquee, but on empowering the individual to become a teacher in their own right.

This Friday night everyone started taking turns to teach the class, doing a 10 minute stint each this time. Having been in India, of curse, I didn't know of this homework assignment when I turned up. June kindly offered to let me think it through overnight and do my piece on Saturday morning, but I felt prepared enough from my India trip to give it a go that night. I was last up, so was given the opportunity to present a sequence I really enjoy that would also start winding down the pace of the class - a prostration sequence I had some really great expereinces with, from the 'Viniyoga' approach.

It seemed to go well, not perfection but I learned many good lessons from the experience so I think it achieved its aim. Most surprising was how quickly the ten minutes passed, I had planned a whole lot more practice for everyone, but found myself having to cut it short as 8 minutes had slipped past by the time we had finished the first round of the sequence.

So. my first group teaching experience has slipped by without incident. It was made so easy by June and the other students in the class, and I now feel that future teaching experiences will only get easier/better. I am enjoying the trip so much, and find that the more time I spend learning from June, the more impressed I am at her approach.