Tuesday, February 2, 2010
One of the ways I have been trying to keep my Ashtanga classes (and myself) energized is by doing a once a month (roughly) technique class. The Ashtanga system – Contemporary or Traditional – doesn’t lend itself to breaking down poses in class. It disrupts the flow and the internal meditation the student should be working toward.
I come from a studio that has a very strong tradition in alignment and asana safety, which has definitely influenced my own teaching. And while a Vinyasa or Ashtanga system tends to allow more for letting the body find its way to the pose I have found that doesn’t always work. Occasionally you need to stop, step back and break down the fundamentals of asana.
So last fall I started Technique week, where we do the standing sequence to warm and limber up, then take the last hour of class and break down 3-4 poses. I feel this gives the students to move beyond just the gross anatomy of the pose and start to feel the internal alignment. It is fun to watch “ah ha!” moments, when I bring in a prop such as a wall to demonstrate what I mean in such-n-such verbal cue.
I do announce Technique Week ahead of time, and I have observed that those classes are a bit lighter in attendance, but that’s okay. Those who are interested come, those who aren’t don’t.
So far we have done:
Padangushasana and Padahastasana
A little bouncing around, but it’s meant to keep it fun. A couple poses that are tied together then one fun pose. I also want to start doing more pranyama, but wow, suddenly my hour is over and it’s time for deep relaxation!