Spring Cleaning for Yogis

A couple of weekends ago my friend and yoga teaching mentor, Chrissy Carter, held a three hour workshop at my neighborhood YogaWorks to clean up our standing poses. I remember having my mind blown when I learned in teacher training back in January that our pelvis wasn’t supposed to be squared to the side in trikonasana (triangle). BOOM. I’d been taught early in my yoga career to “pretend you’re in between two panes of glass” so I’d always been squaring my hips to the side. Same for ardha chandrasana (half moon). So, at the last minute, I decided to get up and go down to the studio for a reminder about these seemingly “basic” poses and two my teacher trainee friends showed up, too.

Here’s some of what I was reminded of:

Trikonasana:

  • Let your greater trochanter turn in a little bit – otherwise your femur is going to be running into your pelvis and you won’t be able to tilt your pelvis.
  • If you hinge your pelvis too far, you’ll be sinking your great trochanter into your hip joint. Ow.
  • Key actions include: front thigh turning out, back hip point rolls forward, rotate your torso to the sky.

Virabhadrasana 2: 

  • Your pelvis should be level. You can achieve this by swiping your front great trochanter downwards.
  • The back frontal hip point rolls forward so you can align your knee over your ankle.
  • The back leg appears to be internally rotating, but it’s neutral.
  • Key actions include: Back thigh rolling out while hip point keep rolling forward,  keep lifting your back thigh upwards, the weight in your front leg should be in the heel, not the toes.

Virabhadrasana 1:

  • It’s a neutral standing pose (because the front leg is neutral, duh).
  • The pelvis is in external rotation; it will never be squared forward.
  • Your back leg is externally rotated just a bit.
  • Key actions: Press the back thigh back by lifting your back inner arch while keeping your front knee over your front ankle; roll the back ribs forward.

Parivrtta Trikonasana:

  • Your pelvis IS squared forward in this pose because the stance is shorter so the stretch on your quad is less intense.
  • You can let your back thigh drop just a tiny bit.
  • But like the last two poses, aim to keep your back thigh bone moving backwards the entire time.

That’s just some of what we spent 3 hours on a Saturday reviewing. The whole concept of your back frontal hip point rolling forward while your back leg is externally rotating is still a mind blow for me, but I’m working on it.

Week 1: Done

I can’t believe week 1 of teacher training is over. I was so nervous the night before it started that I barely got any sleep on Sunday and apparently my teacher, Chrissy, didn’t either. I’m sure it was the same for a lot of people. We all sat in a circle and nervously surveyed who else was in the class. By day 4, when we sat in a circle in the studio at the end of the day, Chrissy said something like, “Can you believe how well we’ve all gotten to know each other in just four days?” And it’s true. We really had.

There were pose myths debunked. Super long asanas flowed through. And we learned the secret formula for YogaWorks sequencing. Personally, my mind was blown to find out that our hips are not squared in Trikonasa or Ardha Chandrasana. I was also blown away to find out that there’s a specific method to the madness of YogaWorks’ sequences. From here on out, I’m pretty much going to be keeping an eye on my teacher’s sequences to see if they break any of the rules. I’m annoying like that. We’ve had a ton of anatomy lessons, too. I’m going to really have to work hard to became even the tiniest bit memorized with some of the names.

We’re reading the yoga sutras by Patanjali and they’re so interesting and relevant even in modern times. 

The group of men and women (okay, there are only two men, but that’s okay!) are so incredibly diverse, from all parts of the world, and I’m so happy to be getting to know all of them. 

By Day 4, I was incredibly sore. And after the long asana yesterday, I was even more sore, in addition to exhausted. Today I woke up at the incredibly late hour of 9am and took a bath while doing some anatomy reading and then I stretched and flowed a little. 

And now it’s snowing, so I’m watching the snow out my window while J reads and Playbill sleeps. Happy Saturday!

Still Breathing.

If I’ve been a little quiet the last couple of weeks it’s because a) the atrocity of the election, and b) I was laid off two weeks ago. The first part of that sentence makes me way more sad than the second part. 

My layoff was not really a surprise. There was a hiring freeze, so there was no recruiting to be done, and running the office and HR for a staff of 15 was not a full time job. Honestly, I was bored and just sticking around so I wouldn’t look like I was jumping around again on future resumes. The office felt cold for the last few months. But I do miss most of my colleagues. They were (are) a good group. 

Since I have savings, I decided to take a week off before I dove into job hunting 100% and after the election on Tuesday night, I could not have been happier to not have to show my face to the world or be forced to talk to people in an office. The Democrats fucked up and nominated a bad candidate (not saying she was unqualified, just not a good candidate because she was too strongly disliked). I never thought Clinton had it in the bag, despite what polls told us, and my deepest fears were confirmed that the American people are, collectively, pretty stupid. Clinton included. She didn’t even GO to Wisconsin. Come on. 

How did I cope on Wednesday? I ordered a Trump cat toy off Amazon so she could scratch his face off and went to yoga. 

The toy didn’t go as planned. She likes to sleep with it. I pretend she’s smothering it.

I’ve spent the last two weeks going to yoga daily, cooking, sending out resumes, chatting with recruiters, and hanging out with my cat (her birthday is tomorrow, so I’ll tell her you all say happy birthday). I’m also shocked at how much fun unemployment is with a cat. Speaking of cats, I’m volunteering with a few adoption organizations to clean and feed cats who are waiting to be adopted at the UWS Petcos. This is also fun. And kind of sad. I might adopt 5 more cats. Who knows. No promises.  

And while contemplating my next steps, given my savings and severance, I’m considering doing a 200-hour yoga teacher training course in January with one of my favorite teachers. I don’t know if I necessarily want to teach yoga, but it’s been a constant thing in my life for so many years now and I want to deepen my understanding of the practice. So, I might sign up for that and do temp work until then to keep myself afloat. 

Lastly, I’ve been sucking at this blogging thing lately. I’m still backlogged on my Poland posts and I have so many things that I could just ramble about. So, I’m going to try write once a day if it kills me. Starting today, starting now. Here’s to post #1!

(Really, lastly, don’t forget to donate to Planned Parenthood.)