I had a core yoga session today – and it just wasn’t very good. And it pains me to say that, for a variety of different reasons:
- First and foremost, I don’t like to be negative. I have spent too much time in my past being pessimistic, and I don’t want to live that way any more. Now granted, “honest” isn’t the same thing as “negative”; if an experience is poor, then it’s poor; and me recounting that the experience was poor isn’t being negative, persay. But – that action is perpetuating a negative tone to some degree; so I still don’t like it.
- I am spending precious free time attending these sessions; and I have paid quite a bit of money for that privilege. So to feel like I have wasted time and money by willingly, voluntarily giving both to a poor experience is wildly frustrating to me.
- I don’t want people to get the wrong impression about this overall program – because truly, for the most part, it is an amazing experience. I am learning so much, and am developing my physical skills at a much deeper and more thorough level, and I feel true joy and delight during much of the time I am engaged in this teacher training work. And yet, there are experiences like today that are just not very good. I’d just hate for people to lose sight of the forest for one or two awkward trees.
Okay, so all that being said, I have committed to sharing this teacher training journey as it occurs – even when it occurs in a way that I don’t necessarily like, and that I wish were different. So, here was my experience of today’s session…
The topic of the session was nadis and bandhas. The class began with a brief centering practice, which was quite lovely; and it also served as an excellent reminder to me regarding the importance of centering a class before digging into it, regardless of the primary topic of the class. So the afternoon really was off to a good start.
However, after the centering practice, things quickly started going downhill. Prior to this session, I had zero clue what a “nadi” was; and while I did have a vague idea of what a “bandha” was, I was looking forward to clarification and more detailed instruction on the topic. Any guesses where this is going?
The teacher started off by telling us that “nadi” translates as “river”; and that the nadis are energy channels that run throughout the body – similar to meridians in Eastern medicine. Thank goodness I have some familiarity with the concept of meridians; because that was the only definition about nadis that I received.
The teacher then started going off on a few different tangents about sushumna, and kanda, and granthis – and she failed to define any of these words as she went along, except to say that “sushumna runs up and down the spinal column”, and “kanda translates as ‘bulb’”, and “we have three granthis in our body”… Okay, I guess, but what the hell are these things??! Seriously, this is how this teacher is choosing to teach this session?
I understand that some instructors are more extemporaneous and “off-the-cuff” and don’t like to follow a written handout or set structure but instead ‘go with the flow’… I get it. Everyone has their own personal style. Different strokes for different folks. I get it. BUT. If a teacher is going to teach in this as-we-go-along kind of way, they still need to successfully convey information to their learners – they still need to teach. At this point in the class, I felt more like an eavesdropper into a pre-existing yoga conversation that I just happened to stumble into mid-stream than I did a novice student trying to learn about some pretty unusual ideas and concepts (to a Western mind, anyway).
And basically, that is how the first half of the class went. I could offer more examples, but I’m not going to; you get the general idea, and going into more detail isn’t going to help anyone.
After two hours of struggling to understand a foreign language (literally – many of the words used in the session were Sanskrit) and obscure topics with minimal assistance, I was both delighted and relieved when this whole nadi/bandha class ended. Usually our core sessions are four hours long, but mercifully today we were only scheduled for two hours due to Hanukkah – so lucky break for me. After being frustrated for the better part of those two hours, I was more-than-ready to get in my car, go home, and relax for the rest of my Sunday. However. At the point that I was about to put on my coat and leave, another teacher came into the room, and said, “Okay, take a 5 minute break, and then we’ll get started on reports.” Um, what? No, see, today, we were supposed to just meet for two hours, not for the full four…. Oh, but apparently the schedule had been changed – but the majority of the class hadn’t been informed of the update. What? Seriously? Seriously?! For the love of…. People, you are really killing me today. Seriously.
But what could I do? Once again, I felt “stuck”; and that is a crappy way to feel. So, I breathed deeply – and breathed deeply again. Then I sucked it up, and sat my ass back down on my mat. Because, again, what else could I do?
Unfortunately, this second section of class was kind of a train wreck, too. During these two hours, we were supposed to study one pose, and then one niyama. The pose we studied was fine; the presenter was very well-prepared and gave a clear, thorough description and explanation of the pose, so honestly, kudos to her. The problem is that we spent 90 minutes on this one pose. Ninety minutes. Nine-zero. Granted, there are three variations to the pose; but still, NINETY minutes on a single pose? Again, people, you are kind of killing me.
So for the last 25 minutes of class, the other students who were supposed to teach us about the niyama of surrender were forced to rush through their presentation – which is totally unfair. Yeah, yeah, I know, life isn’t fair… But things could have been managed differently by the teacher overseeing this two-hour section of class; these students could have received equal time for their presentation – and we all could have had more time to work with such a massive topic as surrender. (And that also would have spared us from the 90-minute examination of the single pose.) Alas, it seems that today was just about checking the box to say “Yeah, yeah, you’ve all been trained…” instead of actually transmitting real, substantial knowledge. And that just sucks.
So. After all of this I went home, decompressed, vented to my husband, ate dinner – and then went online to fill in the holes that this class session created. I now have what I think is the information I should have received from today’s topic; but if you are a yogi, and have information to share regarding the concepts of nadis, bandhas, or Ishvara Pranidhana, please let me know. I’m definitely open to learning more.
And that’s all I have for this post. Thank goodness.