We do not know how to teach

is the title of an article by Lois Steinberg, just published in Yoga Samachar Fall 2018 / Winter 2019.

Lois talks about how to teach beginner students, which should not be how we teach for the assessment, and generally talks about why there are so few younger students in Iyengar classes, an issue I had already discussed here. She advocates for more dynamic classes.

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Lois Steinberg

Overall, I thought it was a good read and I agree with the points raised. She asked to comment on the US Iyengar Yoga association facebook page to further the discussion. Thinking my reply would be very long for a facebook comment, I am writing a blog post with hopefully an extensive response, which I will link in the comments there.

But first, why I think I have some things to contribute to on this topic. First, for a couple more months, I am still in my twenties, and as such I feel like I can relate quite a bit to the “twenty-year old students” she mentions. Second, I have experienced Iyengar yoga being taught in several countries, mainly the Netherlands and now the US but also France where I come from. Though I have never been to Pune, I have thus experienced Iyengar yoga being taught in different cultures. I also didn’t start yoga with Iyengar yoga, but I initially studied Anusara, which I started practicing at 22, and moved to Iyengar yoga when I moved to Utrecht, and looked for a new studio.

First, you gotta understand that the yoga scene in France in 2011 was quite different from what it is now, and from what it is in the US in general, even 2011 US. When I started practicing, my main concern was that I wasn’t getting into a religious cult. It was still seen as a very esoteric pursuit, and I chose a “californian yoga” because it seemed way less risky. Now, I fell in love with the practice at first class, so all my apprehensions quickly disappeared. When I moved to the Netherlands, I wanted to find a “good” class, which at this point for me basically meant a class with inversions, which was surprisingly hard to find.

I started going to a yoga studio called Yoga Moves, which offers multiple types of yoga, and through an unlimited class pass, I tried many different classes, hoping to find a teacher I liked. I ended up getting into Hiske‘s class at some point, and I knew I had found my teacher then and there. When she opened her studio with Claas, I followed them there, and when she started a teacher training, I enrolled immediately. If you’ve followed my blog for a bit, you know I got my Introductory certificate last year in 2017, and then moved to New York where I’ve been living for almost a year now.

It is very clear to me that if I had moved to NYC when I moved to Utrecht, I would not be a CIYT now. And one thing Lois does not mention and I believe is a huge issue here, is simply the cost and availability of Iyengar yoga compared with other styles. I was able to pursue my PhD, go to classes at least three times a week, assist in one class a week, and attend weekend teacher trainings, all at the same time. My commute, by bike, was half an hour at most after the studio moved away from its initial location, before that it was 15 minutes. The classes were all at times I could go to after work. Trainings, as I mentioned, on the weekends. Classes, even workshops, on holidays (whilst here the Institute is closed on holidays). Overall, relatively easy to combine a busy work schedule with classes and even teacher training. Plus, the cost. Unlimited classes for 65 euros per month, 1000 euros for a year of training including books, with discount on classes and workshops.

Now, I realize that the rents in NYC are not the same as in Utrecht, so clearly, class prices have to go up. But one non-member class at the institute is $27. So for the same price as I could get unlimited classes in Utrecht, I can go less than once a week to the Institute (though to be fair if you get a 5-class pass it’s a bit cheaper, but not much). And my salary isn’t much higher here. I live in Queens, with my boyfriend, so we can afford a two-bedroom, which means I have a practice and teaching space. But what about people who can only afford a studio? If it was my case I would most likely go to a place that offers an unlimited package. As the classes at the Institute are also inconveniently timed for me (and the institute itself is far both from my work and my home), I try and go to workshops in the weekend. I just purchased a couple for January and February, which added up to around $500, which places my yoga budget almost as high as my food budget of $300 per month and the second most expensive item after rent.

All of that to say that at least in New York, not taking into account class prices and ease of accessibility might be a big reason why there just aren’t young people in class (and in Teacher Training, someone will have to explain me how you can have a full-time job and do YTT here?!) . If I had done my PhD here, not only wouldn’t have I been able to afford teacher training, but I wouldn’t have been able to take a whole weekday off to go to training.

Now, about the teaching itself. In my teacher training, we learned how to teach a class, and how to teach for the assessment. They are different skills, as Lois mentioned, and while I understand why the assessment is the way it is, it also means that even if you get your certificate, you might not be a good teacher (yet, hopefully it will improve). Is that an issue? I’m not sure. The bar for certification in other systems is so low that I am sure anyone Iyengar-certified is at least an OK-teacher, in that they will not endanger their students. But the style can feel SO RIGID, as I had mentioned in my previous article on the topic, I feel it’s really a pity. I remember my teacher saying during teacher training “Anyone can learn to say “turn your right foot in, left foot out”. I’m teaching your to be yoga teachers, not instructors” and I think this hits right on the nail. I’ve always felt the odd one out as I do not write sequences before teaching. It’s not that I don’t think about the sequence, or the poses, or don’t prepare class. I did write sequences in the beginning, but I quickly stopped when I realized I could never follow through. If I planned twisting, half of the students would be menstruating. If I planned X or Y, students would have knee pain or be pregnant or or or… When I started teaching at the shelter, I not only had to take into account the limited abilities of the students, but also their mood, as if pushed too hard on the wrong day, they would not come back. So now I think about a concept I want to explore, and teach based on what I see, which might mean that I might not talk about said concept at all.

I was quite surprised to read in Lois’ article that many teachers teach the way we have to teach at the exam. As I mentioned, in the Netherlands I have never been to a class taught “the assessment way”. I haven’t been to any here either, but I tend to go to non-beginner classes, so that might be why.

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Astavrakasana, eight-angle pose

Finally, about dynamic classes and “fancy” poses. I love both. I have learned to love “fundamental poses” such as Trikonasana and Tadasana during teacher training, but my love of Sun Salutations, Handstands and arm balances was immediate. I’m not sure I would have gotten into yoga at 22 if the first class I dropped into didn’t have those. I remember being in awe of my teacher demonstrating Astavakrasana and thinking I would never manage to do it (spoiler: I eventually did). And starting one’s yoga journey through a dynamic style does not prelude of an incapacity to appreciate the tiny actions one can do to go deeper inwards. In my case, it was a logical progression. And I still enjoy a dynamic, non-perfectly aligned once in a while, and it’s a pity that it has to happen at home or in a non-Iyengar studio. I know of other teachers who guiltily go to a vinyasa class once in a while to get their “dynamic fix”, and that truly shows an issue with the Iyengar world as it is now. We have lost the fun of the practice, the exploration, and it’s not attractive for younger students. I had tried other Iyengar classes before I found Hiske’s, and I thought they were boring. I am glad I gave Iyengar another shot, all these years ago, for my life, and my practice, would not be the same if I hadn’t. Let’s get more young blood in!

Thank you Lois for raising up this important topic. As I have the opportunity to start teaching a beginner’s course for the postdocs of NYU Langone (more on this exciting opportunity soon!), a group in their late twenties – early thirties, this is a good reminder to add up some fun and movement, especially since there essentially won’t be any props available.

 

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Goodbye Geeta

On Sunday, Dec. 16th, I woke up and checked my phone. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Geeta Iyengar, the daughter of BKS Iyengar, seniormost teacher in the world, had passed away just after the workshop celebrating the 100th anniversary of Guruji had finished.

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Celebration blanket I received from the Dutch Iyengar association for the centenary. 

The loss was brutal. Only two days before, she was teaching at the convention. Apparently, she had said multiple times that she was hoping to see the celebration through, as it was both her duty and her destiny to honor her father and guru.

I wish I had gone to the celebrations. Now I won’t ever have a chance to learn directly from “the source”, though of course Prashant and Abhijata remain. But it truly feels like a new generation. A new generation of teachers and practitioners who will never have met Guruji or Geetaji, and I am part of it. I am quite sad about this lost opportunity. Even though Prashant is still there and teaching, I personally cannot relate much to his teaching. I think the fact that he refuses to travel is for much of that, as it makes him a bit unrelatable to me, notwithstanding the fact that his teachings are much less asana-based, and more philosophy-based. While I enjoy reading the prashnayantra problems and incorporating them in my practice, I don’t think I would ever be an Iyengar practitioner if Prashant had been the one developing the practice.

But now Geeta is gone. I have been reading the homages, and the ceremonies following her death. And today is the day when, according to Hindu tradition, her soul leaves her body. As thousands of practitioners mourn, I have nothing to offer but gratefulness. For I, and thousands, if not millions of others, through her and her father’s teaching, have lit the flame of yoga. And for many of us, that light has become a fire.

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It took me a while to write this post. I felt unprepared. Even though I never met her, I deeply felt her loss from the bottom of my heart. But there is only one thing to do in her and her father’s memory: practice. Practice. Practice.

Goodbye Geeta. The title of your book could have described you as well: a gem, for women, and all yoga practitioners. 

Last night I dreamt of yoga

I don’t know why, but last night I dreamt of yoga. Well, asana. I dreamt I was practicing backbends. I was easily getting in Rajakapotasana (King Pigeon pose) and it felt great.

Rajakapotasana (credits go to Sandy Blaine)

It’s quite interesting because I don’t think I have ever even attempted to do this pose. But in my dream, my feet reached to my head so easily, and my back felt amazing.

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I also did this variation in my dream. (BKS Iyengar, LOY)

I think I remember I could do this quite easily as a kid. Which is quite interesting, because I wasn’t a flexible kid, funnily enough. I couldn’t do the splits, I couldn’t put my foot behind my head, and all of the “crazy” things that sometimes come naturally to children but we lose as we age, I couldn’t do any of those. I was terrible at cartwheels, and not great at gymnastics in general. I was always, however, a dancer. I’ve got good rhythm and moving my body to music feels very natural – and I often surprise people that way (as I am relatively shy, people are often floored to see me dance unrestrictedly).

I think it’s the first time I dreamt about yoga. And to be fair, I’m really wondering why now. Maybe it’s because of the Iyengar Centenary Celebrations in Pune, that I keep on seeing pictures of and wished I could have gone too. Maybe it’s because I miss my Dutch Iyengar community, as I’ve found it really hard to integrate in the one here in NYC, partly because I just don’t manage to make it to class, and partly because it feels a bit more closed up than the Utrecht / Dutch community.

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The Dutch contingency at yoganusanam 2018

It’s also interesting because even though I have not been to classes recently, my practice has picked up again. My handstands are finally somewhat stable when free-standing, I can lift up in Lolasana (with blocks) and do a L-sit* (with a belt, but still it proved to be that my arms aren’t so short that I can’t do a L-sit, and taught me a whole lot about where my butt needs to go if wanna have a chance to do it without). I’ve started considering taking the Junior I exam again, either going back to the Netherlands for it or taking it here – where I know that I will clearly have less chances of passing, as interestingly the way of teaching is different from the Netherlands in subtle, but real ways.

In a way it’s funny to think about the assessment. I understand why the assessments are so rigid, but as the teaching is different here and in NL, it sometimes makes me feel really awkward as “a teacher” that things are done this way (here). For exemple, I’ve learned  how to get in headstand (Sirsasana) away from the wall by drawing my knees to my chest and slowly using my core to lift up my legs, until my knees are up to the ceiling, after which I can stretch the legs up. Here, I should teach getting into headstand by jumping the legs up and back until the feet are on the wall, and from there stretch up one leg after the other. I had never seen anyone get up that way before I moved here.

I don’t know if one technique is better than the other, but I know that if I taught “the Dutch way” at the assessment here, I would likely not pass. And of course it’s not only for one pose that these subtle changes might be an issue. On the other hand, I don’t *really* care whether I pass or not, I kind of just want to take it to see how my practice has evolved. Still, I also don’t want to take the exam knowing I will fail, and lose everybody else’s time.

Another issue in terms of teaching, is that I don’t have all the material that a studio usually has at home. In particular so far I was missing a chair (which I will get for Christmas, yay!), but I also don’t have ropes, and not really enough blankets or blocks if I have more than two students. Which is annoying, especially when on my syllabus are poses like Dwi Pada Viparita Dandasana (and a certain way to do the pose once again).

Shoulder stands - dangerous? : yoga

Supported Dwi Pada Viparita Dandasana. Credits

Anyways, I am a bit uncertain about what to do. Since yoga isn’t my primary occupation, I sometimes feel guilty of not practicing and/or teaching more, but my practice has to stay sustainable while living in a large city, with a demanding job, and spending time with my loved ones. I think I might take a plunge, pay way too much money for a couple of private classes with Lara Warren and ask her opinion about it all.

Meanwhile I will be happy for my friend and early-morning-yoga-partner Tally who took and passed her Intermediate Junior I exam brilliantly!

*I don’t think this is an “official” asana, though the word “Bramcharyasana” keeps on coming back when I search for it. Though I guess it is practiced as jump through / jump back transitions in sun salutations?

If it fits, I sits

In case you don’t know the meme…

My practice has changed, recently. Or rather, my home practice. I’ve been getting up earlier, and if we don’t have a guest home (which is pretty rare at the moment, as it seems every single person we know has decided to come and visit us in NYC – not complaining) I go to our second bedroom and go through a couple of sun salutations, handstands / forearm stands and diverse standing poses before breakfast. It’s a very short practice, usually 15-30 minutes just to start the day right.

My main practice happens in the evening, when it happens at all. I wasn’t expecting my job and commute to be so tiring, and often once I have cooked dinner I only want to sit in the couch and watch something with my boyfriend. Luckily, he often has more energy than me and goes to the gym, which leaves me with some time to dedicate to yoga.

Even so, my practice recently has revolved a lot more around restorative poses and sitting. It’s funny for me to reflect on, as when I started yoga I only wanted to do the “fun” stuff like arm balances, backbends and inversions, especially at home. Now I keep these for the weekends when I have more energy, and try to get to a workshop to compensate my lack of classes during the week. Don’t misunderstand me, I still absolutely love these more “physical” poses. But in my home practice right now, they’re not a priority. I’m too tired and I don’t want to practice poses which will give me energy and prevent me from sleeping.

I remember some years ago, I had a period when I was working really hard to “get” padmasana. I would sit in half-lotus and twist, and catching my foot and twisting would feel amazing for my back, though my front hip would kill me.

parivrtti ardha padmasana

One of my favorite poses from then and now, though the twist doesn’t feel as good anymore.

I spent a lot of time and effort working on padmasana, until I finally “got it”, interestingly I think mainly because of standing poses work and understanding how to turn the front leg in trikonasana (I’ve got lazy thighs who don’t want to turn out).

Then of course I did something stupid, injured my knee, and started from scratch. Now, I can do padmasana, but it feels far from “comfortable” to sit in padmasana (not that it ever did even before I injured my knee), and any pose with hip extension + padmasana is excruciatingly uncomfortable.

This is very much ouch. 

Actually there are very few poses in which I have issues breathing (for exemple I have no issues in backbends like ustrasana or urdhva dhanurasana), but padmasana is one of them along with urdhva hastasana. I sometime even get close to panic while in padmasana, though it stops as soon as I uncross my legs. I’m still unsure why that is.

I find it really interesting that padmasana is such a hard pose for me (though I know I’m not the only one). I was teaching it the other day, and all 3 students in the class got into it on the first try with relatively limited preparation (I was teaching it from having legs up the wall, and I had planned to stop at ardha padmasana, but when it seemed so easy for them I gave the full pose a try).  As I’m one of these very-flexible-possibly-too-flexible-can-overextend-tend-to-work-from-flexibility-not-strength people, having “stiff hips” helps me relate to my students with short hamstrings.

Anyhow all of that to say that even though I am working on being able to sit in padmasana for longer periods of time, as this point it’s still very much uncomfortable, and so I am learning to appreciate sitting in ardha padmasana and sukhasana. I even have the feeling of rediscovering these poses, and how quietening it can be to simply sit down. So I sit in sukhasana, palms on  my knees, close my eyes and breathe. I’m not even trying to do pranayama at this point – I just sit and breathe. And it helps. It’s different from my yoga practice used to be, but it’s still yoga. And it’s still me. I just… changed. And the practice changed with me, to accompany me better in this new chapter of my life. It’s ok that I’m not doing inversions every day at this point. I’ve struggled with accepting that, as inversions are the central pillar of Iyengar yoga practice. But I genuinely think I’d better sit and breathe rather than not do anything because I’m too tired to do headstand and shoulderstand. It’s not very yogic to guilt-trip myself, is it?

 

A balancing act

With a title like that, you probably thought this article was going to be on balancing poses. Sorry to disappoint, but this is actually going to be on balancing life. Hopefully you’re still interested!

How life feels right now, except I wish I could get into Mayurasana 😉

So, it’s been a few months since I moved to NYC, and I am now relatively settled into a routine. Work is going well, teaching at the shelter and living with the boyfriend too, and I am enjoying what the city has to offer in terms of art and events.

Yet I find it difficult to practice as much as I would like. Or rather, the way that I would like? Kind of both. It’s not like I stopped practicing, I still do – but less than before, and always self-practice. While I did probably not do enough of it while living in Utrecht, I feel like doing solely self-practice is making me stagnate a bit. While I rarely have the issue of “what should I do now?” which I often think of as the “entry barrier” to self-practice, I feel like I’m not exploring as far as I did in a class / teacher training setting. I guess I miss the teacher’s push to go deeper. I wish I were already at a stage where self-practice is sufficient to “unlock” new aspects of poses, but it simply doesn’t seem to be the case. So self-practice sort of “maintains” my level of yoga, but I’m not managing to go further. And I’m not talking physically, as I can feel that my handstands for exemple have progressed – I can more easily balance now than six months ago, but more at an understanding-of-the-pose level.

This is an issue as I fully intend to keep on deepening my yoga practice as well as my teaching. I initially planned to take my intermediate Junior I exam next year, but this feels premature at this point. For one, the style of teaching in the US is actually quite different from the Netherlands, which I find quite weird considering of all the rules we have to follow. Not that it is better or worse, simply a different way to present things, use props, or talk about certain movements. This might also be due to the fact that English is first language here versus in the Netherlands and even for myself (though teaching in French is always a bit weird for me as I very rarely do it!).

Turning the Mind Upside-Down | Through the Peacock's Eyes

Pincha Mayurasana, one of the balancing poses on the Junior I syllabus

Anyhow, I already mentioned that it is difficult for me to get to the Institute here in New York, because of very unpractical class times for working people added to a very impractical commute from work. It is quite frustrating to know that great teaching is happening so close, yet I cannot benefit from it.

Added to this is the difficulty to take holidays or days off as a scientist. Officially, I am not entitled to any days off this year. Unofficially, my supervisor is nice enough to have let me take a day here and there, and even a week in October. But clearly, I cannot take a day off every other week to go to a yoga workshop, or half a week to go to the IYNAUS convention. Let’s not even think about taking a month off to go to Pune… when I already have issues planning a trip to Europe to see my family.

Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute - India - Pune

So  finding a life-work balance is proving difficult. I’m not ready to become a full-time yoga teacher yet, if ever. As much as I like teaching, I also genuinely enjoy my research and I hope it will result in a drug which will save lives within a few years. And even if I did quit my job (which, reasonably, I anyways cannot do for visa reasons, but assuming I could get a different visa), I would like to spend more time doing animal rights activism and possibly finding a job in science policy. I could see how this would fit more easily with a yoga schedule though. Then again, in a few years I will likely want to raise a child, which will also take time. So is it possible to have it all? Am I too involved with my “day job”? If you truly want to teach yoga and walk forward on the yogic path, is there no other way but to become a full-time yoga teacher?

I think of Mr. Iyengar and the path he took away from the “traditional” yogis, as a house owner (grihasthin) and not a renunciate (sannyasin). At the time, being a yoga teacher was most certainly weird, and a very risky career choice… Yet it enabled him to spend hours and hours mastering the craft, and he not only mastered it, but spread it all around the world so far that nowadays everyone knows about yoga. He knew it was his calling, and he answered to it, leading him to create an amazing community and recording an incredible depth of knowledge. While I feel truly grateful for my situation as well as everything I have achieved so far, I can’t help but wonder: what do you do when you have more than one calling? Is it a case of “jack of all trades, master of none”? Or is it simply one of our time’s illness, and my inability to truly get to the essence of yoga, “stilling of the waves of the mind” (Yoga Sutras of Patanjali I-2)?

Internet Marketing Jack of All Trades and Master of ...

I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments. How do you manage your practice / teaching and your regular job + family life? Were there times when it was more difficult? What tips and tricks helped you to find your balance? What made you want to teach full-time?

 

Don’t be like toothpaste, be like broccoli!

Last weekend, I went to the New York Institute to follow a workshop with Gabriella Giubilaro. Gabriella is a senior teacher from Florence, and she has been spreading the Iyengar yoga knowledge for numerous years, as you can see in the video below:

More interestingly for me, is the fact that she has a PhD in physics, so I can relate to her pretty well. She’s a great role model, and from her teaching you can see she allies the strictness that is sometimes associated with older Iyengar teachers (as yoga is, and should be, serious business) with a softer, caring side and a great humour.

It seemed to me that she was a bit disappointed with the practice level during the workshop (though she did not say anything of the sort). She had planned to work on the hips in headstand for exemple, but made us all come down and look at Bobby Clennel (who was participating) to show what a stable base looks like). I could only go on Sunday, as I am working on Monday, but the whole workshop was open to Level 3+ students. But somehow already previously have I noticed quite a big gap between the practice at Level 3 and Level 4, and a difference between what these levels mean between the Netherlands and the US (or at least NYC). Most definitely the headstand practice is not as strong in NYC. I’ve only been to a Level 2 class  in NYC once, and I was a bit flabbergasted to find out that everyone was expected to do headstand at the wall. In Utrecht, 90% of Level 2 practitioners would do headstand away from the wall, if not in the middle of the room. But then again, I always find the headstand practice too short during classes at the NYC Institute. Now, the Level 4s are true Level 4s, but I was under the impression that these are really targeted at full-time teachers (since who else can make it for a two hour class in the middle of the day?).

Anyways, back to topic. It was a 3-hour workshop, so relatively short. And initially, during the first hour of standing poses, I didn’t feel very inspired. I felt like I wasn’t learning anything, mainly because the cues were going everywhere. She did try to focus on the core / hips and even extension of the trunk, but she constantly was getting back to legs and arms, I guess because stability in the poses was lacking. But once we started working on sitting poses, I starting getting much more out of the workshop.

It was mainly a twist class, with the focus on even extension as I mentioned previously. In all poses (also standing) but especially forward bends, we should pay attention to getting an even extension of the front and the back of the body (true for all lims, but here she was talking about the trunk). As we learn to straighten up and lengthen the spine, the tendency is to push the lower ribs forwards / lower back in, which is fine to do in the beginning to get the lift or when beginners learn to stretch, but once more advanced practitioners bend forward the lift or extension has to be even on the front and back body.

We did Bharavadjasana II and Gabriella was very careful about how we should hold the Padmasana foot and said “it’s the foot that holds the hand, not the hand that holds the foot!” which resonated well with me as giving the power to the foot instead of trying to pull with the hand is not only less risky for the Padmasana knee, but it also left me feeling more even. At this point she was trying to get us to lift the spine more, and so she said this amazing sentence “Don’t be like a tube of toothpaste, be like… (she was looking for an exemple here) a broccoli!”

Would you rather look like this?

Or like that? Look at that extension!!!                                                                                                                           (now I keep on imagining my chest as a broccoli during twists)

After that, we practiced Janu Sirsasana and she mentioned that you do not want to turn the chest towards the straight leg, but instead you want to slide the ribs from the straight leg side out, while you slide the ribs of the bent leg down. Really interesting perspective on the pose, which I found very helpful to keep the chest more even.

Finally, in Paschimottanasana, she mentioned that having weight on the ankles help to improve extension. While we are supposed to keep the ankles heavy by ourselves, she said that we could also put weight on them to help feel the extension ( we did not do that in the class).

So overall I did enjoy the workshop and learn some new things. Gabriella is a great teacher, and you can get some pearls of wisdom in the classes available (for free) on Roads To Bliss on Youtube:

 

Moving on

Sorry I’ve been pretty quiet here recently. But that’s for a good reason: I finally moved to NYC! New country, new apartment, new job, and lots of things to take care of. There is still some furniture waiting to be assembled, but most of the paperwork has been take care of.

What still hasn’t been taken care of however, it my yoga practice and teaching. I bought a 20-class pass at the New York Iyengar Institute, and I’ve been exactly… once. When I bought the class package. I gotta say, even though it is not very far from work, it’s still a good 20′ walking (no subway), which with changing means I would need to leave work 30′ before class. And since I don’t really want to go for a class that’s less than Level 3, the timings simply don’t work. I mean, two level 4 classes are 12:15-2:15PM and the third one is 5:15-7:15pm. I can’t really leave work at 11:45 and come back at 2:45PM (and if I did, I would probably be very stressed out when coming back!), nor can I leave at 16:45! I thought I would be able to go to Level 3s, but it’s the same: leaving at 5PM is too early and arriving after 10AM doesn’t really cut it either. It might be ok if I do that once every two weeks? I’ll see. Anyhow, the last class that I could manage to go to is the Saturday 4PM, but my weekends so far have been busy settling down in the apartment and prepping the rest of the week. Anyhow, if the only time I can go is during the weekend, I’d rather go for workshops, so I’m kinda regretting getting the 20-class card. I feel a bit frustrated to be so close to great teachers and not manage to go to class…

Meanwhile, there’s a yoga studio less than 10′ away from the apartment, and they do offer Iyengar classes! So I’m planning on visiting, since it’s way cheaper and more convenient (also time-wise: Saturday 12:30PM and Monday 7:45PM). But obviously the level might not be the same, so I’ll have to see if it really does bring me something. If not, it might also be an option for teaching, as I am still looking for opportunities. I have applied to teach at the BRC (I am mainly trying to volunteer / teach for free because of my visa) but they have so many applications the next volunteer orientation is mid-March, so I have to wait to see what comes out of it. Another option is the gym in my work building, which has a studio. They already offer yoga classes, so I want to try one out tomorrow, and see what I think of it – but in any case their schedule is far from full so I should hopefully be able to teach some kind of free class there. Just got to figure out the details. This would really be ideal, as I’d like to teach twice a week, and I already have a 50′ commute to work, so I’d rather not add to it.

Anyhow, I’m sure this is gonna be resolved soon, and I’ll keep you updated on what turns out to happen. Meanwhile, I have a lot of space to practice in my new apartment, so I’m enjoying a renewed interest in self-practice: see below!