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Journal Post

When I first began teaching yoga in 1981, yoga wasn't exactly entrenched in the mainstream as it is now. I had been meditating for four years and doing asana out of a book daily. There was never a thought about becoming a yoga teacher, as I had four children, ages 7-14, and it was all I could do to stay afloat and meet my commitments as an Air Force wife and mother. My daily meditation practice helped more than anything else to keep me on a fairly even keel during those challenging days.
As the yoga boom continues to grow and new studios pop up everywhere, the question arises of how to offer classes in order to appeal to both new and experienced students. Yoga studios usually choose one of two options for class registration. One option is class cards, where the student pays for a specific number of classes over a certain time period. This is often seen as most convenient for the student, as they can go to any class on the schedule without committing to any specific class.
Not long ago, I was troubled to read in the Washington Post that local hospitals are having to expand to accommodate increasing numbers of aging, ailing Baby Boomers - a generation of which I and many of Willow Street's students are a part. We're living longer than our parents did, and of course we want to grow older gracefully. Yet even as health care is one of our highest concerns - as it is for people young and old - right now, we're most worried about our pocketbooks and retirement plans!
Have you been in a class at Willow Street where your teacher set the theme of the class as "change"? In our practice of yoga, we experience change in many ways, from the mat to what we take from the mat into our daily lives. Whether planned or unexpected, change permeates the flow of life. Change is the one thing we can count on.
I write this from the vantage point of 37,000 feet above our earth, looking both up at the bluest of blue skies and down at cloud patterns of marshmallow fluff, and am seized with a sense of gratitude for the supreme beauty of our planet, and all that is in my life since I embarked on a spiritual path over 30 years ago.
Teaching to nonnative English speakers is challenging, but these tips will help you make sure your teaching transcends all language and cultural barriers.
Once, while teaching in Paris with a translator, Nischala Joy Devi, international teacher and author of The Secret Power of Yoga and The Healing Path of Yoga, was asked by an English-speaking student if she would return to teach there again. "There are certainly worse places I could come back to
than Paris," Devi replied, smiling. The translator delivered her response to the group and, upon seeing the ensuing sea of horrified faces, Devi stammered to the translator, "What did you say to them?"
Explore the pros and cons of hands-on guidance and learn to use skillful assists to empower
your students.
By Sara Avant Stover
"Come on! Extend, Karl! Don't be so stingy!" exclaimed Sharon Gannon, cofounder of Jivamukti Yoga, to student Karl Straub, as she assisted him in Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose). Straub, a Jivamukti Yoga teacher himself, as well as a Thai Yoga Bodywork practitioner, recalls the potency of Gannon's assist-one that he revisits every time he practices that
Learn how to use your personal challenges to find your authentic voice, fortify your teachings, and inspire your students.
By Sara Avant Stover
Amy Ippoliti, a senior certified Anusara Yoga teacher based in Boulder, Colorado, felt vulnerable and fragile as she attempted to pull herself together to teach in New York City following September 11, 2001.
"Despite my own grief, I tried to acknowledge the pain everyone felt and uplift them in the face of such madness," she says.
When and how can you get your students to commit to one practice- and should you even try?
Walk down the street and witness the shapes and sizes of pedestrians, the colors and makes of passing cars, and the dazzling array of merchandise in shop windows. Abundance bombards us from every angle.
This smorgasbord of options also seeps into yoga. Ashtanga, Anusara, Bikram, Iyengar, Sivananda - the list goes on.
At a certain point you need to make some important decisions. Just as you determined whether of not you would be a vegetarian, how you would earn a living, or in what neighborhood you'd live, must you also settle on one style of yoga?
How to work with, not against, your fellow yoga instructors
Many of us turned to yoga for its promise of happiness. The four walls of a studio and its community of like-minded Sun Saluters offered solace from the rat race outside. When we stepped onto our yoga mats, we stepped intoa world where joy and harmony reigned.
Later, we became yoga teachers. Sometimes this entailed leaving behind careers that brought big paychecks (for some) an even bigger burnout (for most). Ready to serve students by offering them the scrumptious fruits of yoga, we were bright-eyed, enthusiastic, and, in hindsight, naive.
Take your seat in style and discover how what you wear affects how you feel and how
others feel about you.By Sara Avant Stover
Whether you buy your yoga wardrobe from WalMart or Lululemon, you can find just the right fashions to suit your size, budget, and mood. As a student, you might search for styles that show off your body or personality, but, as a teacher, there's more to consider. When you step into the seat of the teacher you become a role model. Then what you wear has a greater impact not only on how you feel but also on how others feel, too. The task is to dress in a way that uplifts your words, actions, and spirit in service to your students and your subject matter.
Learn how seeking constructive criticism from more experienced teachers can improve your teaching skills.
By Sara Avant Stover
At one point several years ago, Elena Brower, Anusara Yoga teacher and owner of New York City's Vira Yoga, received letters of constructive, critical feedback from two of her teachers-both on the same day.
While this initially ignited her inner critic and bruised her selfesteem, she soon came to realize how fortunate she was to have received such wise and attentive care from her trusted mentors.
"It ultimately brought more clarity to my teaching and gave me more respect for my teachers and more trust in myself," Brower says.
I reviewed my first video for Yoga Journal in 1991, and since then I've reviewed at least a couple in every single issue for the last 18 years. Just this year I reviewed my 300th video (though I've probably watched at least half again as many that didn't pass muster), and by some strange alignment of planets or more likely some cosmic comedy of karmas, it was a presentation by our very own Rod Yee.
My journey of yoga is one of Gratitude; for the insights, healing, blessings, and the complete transformation of my life. I cherish every moment, every breath, all the experiences it has taken to get here.
I found my first yoga class at a church in Ocean Springs, Mississippi, where yoga was anything but mainstream. I was unhealthy, worked in a casino, smoked 3 packs of cigarettes a day, ate a terrible diet and wore a hard brace on my neck due to an accident. Yoga was a last resort. I was willing to try anything to get out of the pain - even yoga. If I also found flexibility and stress relief, I would take it but I was skeptical. BUT, I wasn't turning off my pager or my phone! The teacher smiled and handed me a yoga mat.
See God in yourself and see God in others". When I heard this from meditation teacher Swami Muktananda in the 70's it was a revolutionary concept to me. However, something deep inside resonated with this teaching and I felt especially uplifted. It felt like a way to connect with the best in myself and with the best in others.
This past summer I turned 60 years old, a milestone age, I feel. Ten years ago, when I turned 50 a friend gave me a button that said,
"Youth is a Gift of Nature;
Age is a Work of Art".
I still have the button on my bulletin board as a reminder of that bit of wisdom. Since we are all getting older it's something worth considering. As we move along in years, I think the pertinent question to ask ourselves, is not how many years have we lived, but what are we making of our lives? And how can we make our lives a work of art? How can we turn our lives into a masterpiece?
Anusara means "flowing with Grace" or "following your heart." Developed by John Friend, Anusara is a style of hatha yoga that encompasses the physical, mental, and spiritual dimensions of yoga.
Anusara Yoga is an exceptionally therapeutic system because it is founded on Universal Principles of Alignment that bring the body into balance. This specific alignment positions the joint and muscles for maximum stability, flexibility, and safety and optimizes the circulation of blood, vital energy and other internal fluids for the healthiest flow. Anusara also teahes 7 Loops & Spirals that act as fine-tuning dials for the energetic and structural alignment in the body.
Sometimes it's nice to site back and reflect on where we have been and where we are now...My husband and I moved to Florida from Virginia five and a half years ago, after he retired. Initially I kept my yoga center in Virginia and went back regularly to run it, so I did not start teaching in Florida right away. However after comparing winter up north with winter down here, I sold my yoga center and decided to focus on Florida! In August of 2000 an opportunity came up to teach in the community where we live. We initially offered two morning classes, with my husband Dave teaching one class and me the other; we had a total of 18 students.
Desire is not typically a very welcome concept in spiritual circles. In fact, most Eastern spiritual disciplines regard desire as the root cause of all suffering, observing that desire causes mental agitation as we think about what we want that we don't have. Desire therefore causes people to lose the peacefulness that they are searching for. Followers are taught to reject, suppress, or sublimate desire, and to take a more ascetic approach toward anything connected with the senses, because the senses pull us away from our inward focus toward oneness and peace.
I recently attended the Anusara Certified Teachers Gathering in Denver, CO. A group of 150 certified teachers came together for 5 days of inspiring practices led by Anusara founder John Friend and transformational presentations by Paul Muller, an internationally recognized scholar in the field of Tantric philosophy. One of the major emphases in Anusara is to take our yoga off the mat and into the world, so that we are living our philosophy that we are all part of One Big Spirit. To that end, John invited the Karma Krew to come to our gathering. Karma Krew is a yoga-inspired non-profit organization created by two like-hearted yoga teachers in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
The Tantric Philosophy that underlies Anusara Yoga is a philosophy of intrinsic Goodness. The absolute essence of everything is Supreme Consciousness that pulsates with pure Goodness. Out of its infinite freedom, Supreme Consciousness chooses to limit itself by becoming embodied as the material universe in order that it may enjoy the experience of diversity.
In September I read a seminal book that I found transforming: Waking the Global Heart by Anodea Judith. I could hardly put it down! It spoke to me at a deep spiritual level and validated many ideas that I've been contemplating. We've chosen it for discussion at our next book club meeting on February 12 and I will be presenting a short overview of the book. If this resonates with you, please join us!
John SchumacherHappy Summer Solstice! Just as we asked you to invoke the goddess last month, the longest day of year begs us to inspire the fire inside that is masculine energy. Yang energy is strong, aggressive and passionate. It is the fiery energy of summer. Spiritually, we can practice tapas or discipline, austerity and consistency. Burn your internal fire to overcome difficulties and purify yourself to cleanse the toxins and feel your personal best level of health and vitality.
Practice at home with Betsey and Jaye as they lead you through 12 progessively taught 55-minute sessions in Anusara Yoga. Betsey and Jaye teach a logically sequenced series of poses within each class, gradually advancing the poses across a series of 12 classes. Perfect for beginners or experienced students looking for inspiration in their home practice. Get the entire set and experience the fun and power of progressive teaching. View Samples of the Videos and Download...
Fall LeavesSeptember has arrived and is nearing time to put away our summer clothes in preparation for the chillier days and nights of Fall. The change of seasons from summer to fall is the ideal time to "Take Stock" for the Wintertime: assess how we have grown over the summer months, put aside what no longer serves us and begin to save some of our energy for the long winter months ahead.
Colorful TurbinsAhhh August! Summer begins to come to a close; a bittersweet feeling. But this also means the cool winds and vibrant colors of Fall are on their way. iHanuman is busy upgrading our website to offer our teachers and students new web features and communication tools, We hope to roll out our new features next month, September, so please stay tuned.
Lord ShivaHappy July Friends! iHanuman has been busy this month working on upgrading our website to offer our teachers and students new web features and communication tools, so we do not have a new feature this month, but we do have 6 new video classes with Anusara Yoga Teachers Betsey Downing, Ph.D and Jaye Martin.
Fine tune your approach to Corpse Pose through an exploration of varying teaching philosophies.
By Sara Avant Stover
Discover how using themes can turn your yoga class from mundane to memorable. We all have yoga classes that stand out in our minds. Perhaps we found ourselves in a puddle of cathartic tears durning Savasana (Corpse Pose) or euphoric after rising into an unassisted Sirsasana (Headstand) for the first time. Something that the teacher said, or simply her way of being, can stick with us for years. As yoga teachers, we all want to deliver such classes. We want to touch our students' hearts, even long after they leave their yoga mats.
So, then, what is it that sets an exemplary yoga class apart froma forgettable one? Is there a method behind the magic? The Power of Themes
Happy Holidays!
We have some special early gifts for you to help you celebrate. Give yourself the gift of yoga this year and enjoy a free class with Senior Anusara Teacher Betsey Downing. Our way of saying thank you for supporting us during our first year. We have some other gifts for you coming soon. So stay tuned. We are working to improve our communication with you through our newsletters. Please feel free to let us know how we are doing by contacting us as newsletter@ihanuman.com. Happy Healthy Blessings to All. Thanks for helping to build the bridge with iHanuman. Namaste. The iHanuman Family.
Casa De MilagrosAnusara Yoga teacher Tanya Beilke is leading a Yoga and Seva Retreat May 10-19 to the Sacred Valley in Peru. While there the retreat participants will be volunteering at Casa de Milagros (House of Miracles), a home for orphaned and abandoned children.
hatha yoga teacher foundation course
chiang mai, thailand
nov 20 - dec 17, 2006
This course will give you an opportunity to acquire the skills and confidence necessary to teach yoga. By the end of the 28 days you will be able to incorporate postures, breath awareness, meditation, chanting, scriptural and self-studies, safe biomechanics and an attitude of service into creative and adaptive teachings. This foundational training will emphasize deepening your personal practice, as getting to know yourself better is the source of inspiring teachings.
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