Thursday, February 7, 2013

YogaFit Training: Level 1

Weekend training is over and I've had a chance to digest and apply some of what I learned.  It was about 16 hours of Level 1 intensive over Saturday and Sunday.  My short version:  some of the better training I have received especially as it relates to pose/asana dynamics and safety.

The long version: while a long weekend, especially with the Props session on Friday, this was not as mentally or physically challenging as other training (Ashtanga based) I have taken.  I was able to enjoy the weekend, rather than feeling exhausted, numb and overwhelmed.

Day One:
Introductions all around.  18 people in the session, with a range of abilities.  Group was predominantly fitness instructors looking to expand their class options.  There were 2 people who had taken one yoga class (yes, one) and seven yoga classes and decided they wanted to teach.  There was one gal looking to bring some idea back to use with cancer patients and their families, and then a couple straight up yogi's like myself.  So very diverse group.

The instructor was absolutely fantastic.  Her depth of knowledge as it relates to the human body, how it moves, the muscular system was just great.  She had an undergrad/masters in Exercise Physiology and Biomechanics and was pursuing a Doctorate degree in Kinesiology.  I don't recall how long she had been with YogaFit as a Trainer, but I thought I heard something like 15 years with the organization.

We touched on the philosophy of YogaFit covering their Principles of Alignment, the Three Mountain Format, the Foundational Poses, and the YogaFit Essence.  Then she took us through a 90 minute class which I absolutely loved.  Some more discussion and off to lunch.  In the afternoon we began to break down the poses YogaFit has deemed acceptable for a newbie to teach.  At least that was how I viewed it.

At any rate, it was some of the best pose breakdown I've participated in to date.  It was more than here's the pose, here's how you do it; it was more, here are the dynamics that make the pose what it is, here are some strengths and weakness of the pose, and here are some variations on the pose to adapt it to a wider range of people.  Nicceeee...

Homework was assigned and out the door we went.

Day Two:
Another 90 minute session.  Room was a little warm at 92*, but the instructor managed to get the temp down to 85* by the end of practice. 

After a quick break, we moved into our homework assignment and partner work, which was talking people through a series of poses.  Some confusion here, but she got us straightened out and we did our talking.  The small room was not conducive to 18 talking through a 'mock' session, but we managed.

Lunch break.

And more partner work to build on the mornings session, switching partners for the second round.

We broke again and she led us through some things people might expect to see in a yoga class, such as people with injuries, arthritis, high/low blood pressure, glaucoma, diabetes, scoliosis, osteoporosis, etc.  She further discussed some YogaFit philosophy, verbal cuing and very briefly touched on props.

Again, ultimately, a great session.  My only complaint/criticism is the homework and execution was not as smooth as it could have been.  It was given to us as "Find 2 Transformational Language Cues for Each Pose" when, I think it could have been elaborated to include, "find transformational language cues for each pose as if you were going to lead a class..."

I also thought switching partners 3x fragmented the homework too much and didn't allow the class to really feel what it would be like to do a session, even if it was a mini-session.

The manual handout that was given at the start of class was much appreciated by myself.  Very well done, with a binding that would lay flat for ease of taking notes.  Though it did leave me wondering if buying the book was really necessary - everything seems to be provided for at the class.  Well, no matter, book is bought and now marked up with notes in preparation for a class where we didn't use it.  

Lastly, and this is my personal quirk, I don't like to be given "options" during a yoga class.  I'm there to turn off my mind, to move with the flow, and I find it very jarring to be moving and breathing and have the teacher say, "Now do whatever you want, whatever feels good, for the next five minutes...".  Wha..??  No, no, no.  Now you just made me think, when my brain was happily turned off.   Grrr.


Sara said...

Ha ha - I often let my students do whatever they want at the end of class. This grew out of observation of my classes - they were always wanting to do a few last minutes things on their own anyway so I have just incorporated it into my classes. Of course my classes are generally very slow and by the time I give "free time" we are already laying down so some folks go right to Savasana.

Also, I don't think of it as having to turn your brain on, but rather as listening to your body and flowing into whatever you need before settling in for final resting position.

Kristin said...

Hi Sara,

End of class free-movement is actually okay with me, as the body might need a little something to find that place of stillness.

It was middle of the class free-movement that I found unsettling. When a nice flow has been established, I'm settled into my breath and following the intonation of the instructor voice and their reminders. Then was told, "Now do what moves you!".

For a flow class, that just didn't feel right.

Thanks for the opportunity to clarify - I agree, end of class is appropriate.

Momma J said...

Thank you so much for this thoughtful post! I have been practicing Yoga for about 15 years (with a 2 year gap due to back problems), and I have recently decided to take the plunge and get certified to teach it. I have been teaching group fitness classes for 16 years, but Yoga was kind of intimidating. I never thought I could be as good as some of the awesome instructors I took from. I have been looking at various certification entities, and I think YogaFit is where I may start my journey! Thank you again, and Namaste.

Unknown said...

Yogafit trainings are wonderful because with the right teacher trainer you will see that yogafit provides safety throughout the poses and it goes with all the forms of yoga (except a few like kundalini, hot yoga, etc),but I believe yogafit is built to teach even the beginning yogi or yogini the benefits and orientation of incorporating yoga into the lives of all. If you end up not liking the style, it is registered and your credits can transfer, just make sure you get and keep copies of your certificate at the end.