Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Teaching

This week is a continuation of Everything that I Do is New to Me. Very tricky, not my favorite thing(s). This is why I must knit these days: so that I can look at one thing and have it be concrete, tactile, maybe even done. (Done with the Jitterbug socks! Pictures maybe this weekend? Started Whitby socks using a doubled strand of KnitPicks Essential Tweed.)

But all the same, today was very cool. I taught a teenager. And could he balance!

I had him step over to the wall, suggested that he keep one hand close to it so that he could catch himself if he wobbled. He gave me a look, which I thought might have meant boredom, but must have meant what the heck? Because I showed him Vrksasana, otherwise known as Tree Pose, and he could hold it as if he'd been doing it for years and years. So I challenged him to bring his hands over his head. Steady as a rock. Then I had him bring his knee into his chest, place his index finger and middle finger between big toe and second toe, and extend his leg. Still dead on in Utthita Hasta Padanghustasana.

Then he asked me about the ropes that we have attached to the wall. They are Iyengar props, and you can do lots of neat things with them. So we did Down Dog, using the ropes around the hip to support your weight, and then you can really reach out with the arms and extend the spine and lengthen the back of the legs. Then we placed one foot against the wall at hip height, pressed the other foot into the ground, and extended the leg. Then we did a crazy prep for Arda Chandrasana, where you put one foot against the wall, square hips and shoulders to the side, press one hand into a block beyond the front foot, and bring the other arm up.

What I learned today: that you need to have a bunch of poses under your belt when you teach a teenage boy, because they move really fast. And that it helps to count the breath aloud, instead of asking them to quietly focus on their breath. And that they can do many crazy balance poses without even realizing that they're doing something pretty special. Without any visible effort, my student could do this.

Tomorrow I'm doing a dry run of the class at the hospital. This will be an entirely different experience. Usually you start with the more concrete experiences, such as moving the body, as a way to focus the mind, and then gradually work toward the more subtle tools, such as breathwork or meditation, Tomorrow I'm jumping into the pool from the high dive, so to speak, and moving much more quickly toward the subtle stuff.

It'll all be new. Of course. Definitely taking my knitting with me to work on during the hours to kill between the class at 11 am and anatomy at 6.

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