Newbie

by Annie Carlin

The Wall, Part II

One of the local teachers told me that wild fires are caused by human error or stupidity 90% of the time. And to that I can only say, “Thanks guys…thanks. a. lot.”

In addition to my usual slew of physical issues, the ash and smoke in the air set off my first real asthma attack in a very long time. I was completely unprepared, and boy did I forget how hard yoga can be when you can’t breathe. Really – try it for a few minutes if you are interested (don’t hold your breath obviously, but only take shallow breaths through your mouth). It’s completely bonkers.

But I had learned. My last go around with “The Wall” taught me that my first priority was to take care of myself, that I was the ultimate expert on what I needed at that moment, and that I had absolutely nothing to prove to anyone by “toughing it out.” So I didn’t. There was no crying, no frustration and no anger toward myself – just “metta” or loving kindness and support for the body that had carried me through despite my physical limitations. How fitting for Session III of the Prajna training, in which we spend a lot of time on how the body and mind deal with trauma and injury.

As a result, I was given a wonderful sequence for those suffering from asthma or other respiratory issues full of awesome supported backbends and energy channel openers. Not only will the sequence be invaluable to me when I suffer from breathing issues, but I will be able to pass along the knowledge I gained by doing it over and over for the last days of training to my many friends who also suffer from asthma. Would I have gained something so useful had I not been “defeated” by the smoke related asthma attack? I don’t know, but I do know that I appreciated the added benefit from practicing “right effort” for my body.

Supported and Supportive Yoga

As I write this, I am in the Pre-Natal/Post-Partum Yoga workshop.  I signed up for this workshop with a kind of disinterested, I guess I need the hours, like of attitude.  To be frank, I was more interested in sleeping in than I was in going to class.  Still, I did need the hours, and I’d promised several friends, pregnant or new parents that I’d come home with information for them, so I got myself there.

It turns out that this should have been the section of the training about which I was most excited.  There was the hilarity of everyone trying on the empathy belly and the fascination with the biological process of pregnancy, but it was the asana that got me really excited!  Far from being irrelevant to me, here were the modifications I knew felt amazing in my body: ardha chandrasana at the wall, upavista konasana with the head supported etc… As I pointed out this morning, these poses are incredibly beneficial for anyone struggling in their body whether it’s because of pregnancy, injury, or, in my case, carrying more weight.

These modifications and poses are so important that I would suggest we call them “supported” or “supportive” yoga rather than just pre-natal yoga.  I would encourage anyone interested in working with diverse bodies to pay close attention to this practice.

NEWBIE chronicles the journey of a new yoga teacher.  From teacher training to building a business, follow Annie Carlin as she details the highs and lows of finding her place amidst one of the worlds oldest practices. 

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About The Mala Yoga Blog

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