Webinar - 7 PM
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Q - 00:31
A - 02:42
Tiffany B: With your technical glitch, it was interesting, in the context of Covid and general online teaching, to get a chance also to see you teach a non-interactive class with no students in the room (apart from Nick briefly). But am I right in thinking that you prefer to have someone with you whose real-life experience you can work with (either a ‘model’ or an actual group of students) when you are teaching online? Of course, either way, the core principles remain the same and posing questions and setting up your errands of inquiry is key. But can you summarise any ways that you do intentionally adapt your teaching when you are in the room alone teaching to a camera to minimize the chance of copy-cat Yoga and to most effectively shift students from passive involvement to active engagement? What do think are the key additional skills Yoga teachers need when teaching on Zoom etc – where, beyond the limitations of everyone being in small 2D box, I find it can be difficult to engage at all with the personal practice of some students as they struggle to set up their rooms in a way that they are meaningfully visible?
Q - 10:53
A - 12:00
Janet M: I am finding your approach to breath very interesting. I mostly notice I am breathing with Ujjayi as this has long been my practice and it has been a great support to me. Until starting this training I was teaching students via breath cues, inhale do this, exhale do that so I am very liberated by moving away from this and trusting students to breathe in a way that supports them and instead guiding curiousity about their breath. My question is how and when do you introduce new students to Ujjayi breath? I would previously teach it as the very first thing in our class together, along with an awful lot of other information that I now realise was probably overwhelming. Do you work first with establishing yield and Who breath before introducing Ujjayi?
Q - 16:57
A - 17:51
Catriona M: Would you teach this to your (non teacher) students? I teach Abdominal breathing in supine or Sukhasana and the importance of allowing the diaphragm to move freely. I also encourage my students to experiment with using Ujayii breath during postures where it feels right for them. Whilst I like to explain the benefits of practices, I wonder if moving into the realm of tone with breath is too much information / may complicate the breathing practice for them?
How do you work with students who do not know how to release their abdominal muscles during Abdominal breathing? I have had a couple of these students and the issue is so unfamiliar to me (!!) I'm not sure how to explain to them how to let go other than the classic instructions for Abdominal breathing. I feel they need more guidance in letting go.
Q - 23:42
A - 23:54
Wendy T: Have you ever come across any research that records how ujjayi breath can damage the vocal cords. I heard this from a yogi who was also a voice coach.
Q - 27:01
A - 27:21
Carolanne W: My attention was caught by the mention you made to the work of Thomas Myers regarding how we learn movement. I work with young children in the primary school system here in Germany and I am always open to anything that I feel might help with finding connections to learning through movement. I looked and found he has published a number of books and wondered if you have a recommendation or further suggestions here? And ...
I am REALLY struggling with the Virabhadrasana I vinyasa. I can't seem to find a stance that will allow me to feel comfortable bending/releasing my back leg (for the coil/yield before the push off to raise the arms) without causing distress/discomfort in my achilles on one side and my knee on the other. I am trialing changing the angle of my back foot, width of stance but am not able to get comfortable here. I find my front knee popping over the front foot and the temptation to default to lock and hold is great. Any tips here would be very welcome.
Teaching Children & Practice
Q - 34:11
A - 34:38
Carrie S: You mention there are many different ways to do a Body Weather Reading. I have been using them to start my personal practice and a lot of my classes. I find them a wonderful way to start. Sometimes they feel like a mini Yoga Nidra. Do you have any suggestions where I can find out/read about the different kinds of body weather reading for more inspiration on them?
Body Weather Reading
Q - 39:15
A - 39:34
Barbara D: Donna, you speak about the energetic centre in the deep belly named in many ways by different traditions. Could you say more about this and how you experience it in your own practice or convey it in your teaching?
Q - 47:13
A - 47:33
Barbara D: In Module One Manual on p. 45 you describe yielding as follows: Yield underlies push underlies reach. Would you be so kind to describe this with different working. I cannot find a good translation in the German for “to underlie”.
Q - 49:22
A - 50:16
Catriona M: I have developed a daily morning practice over the years which I really enjoy. It is a blend of calming, stabilising and energising practices/postures and provides the regular strengthening practices I need to underpin my degree of hypermobility. It also helps me to feel calm yet energised and excited about the day ahead. However, it is an ingrained daily routine so lacks spontaneity or variety other than ramping up or down the different elements of the practice (for example, when I feel tired I may emphasise the calming over the energising aspects or drop the energising aspects altogether). I'm loathed to break away from my routine - what are your thoughts on this?
Q - 54:10
A - 54:49
Justine J: Part of my teacher training embedding a trauma informed approach into yoga. We learned about how breath work and control can act as a trigger for some. It is also common for trauma survivors to disconnect from bodily sensations. I am curious about how we can bring breath into a class in a sensitive and supportive way when there is such a range of experiences in the room.
Trauma and Breath
Q - 57:49
A - 58:23
Mariëlle: Thank you for all your interesting tips and tricks, Donna. I would very much like to introduce a light tone into my classes, with some more humour. All this discovering of oneself (one’s Self) weeks and months in a row can sometimes become a little heavy. Therefore, every now and then a class where the tone is more fun, would be appreciated I feel. Would you have any suggestions on this topic?
Teaching - Fun
Q - 59:14
A - 59:23
Amanda M: I enjoyed your description on vatta and khapha could you give an example on pitta?
Q - 1:01:45
A - 1:03:55
Laurence L: (additional answer to 11 AM topic) I understand very well the concept of self-inquiry and "trust yourself first" and I do not interfere when some of my students modify the postures to tailor them to their bodies and needs, ask for a variation or refuse to do a posture which they feel it is harmful to them, and I often suggest variations straight away or when I see some people "struggling". All that said, what do you do Donna when you see someone doing from time to time, between the suggested postures of the sequence, movements which he/she probably thinks do him/her good, but are, in fact, detrimental? I am thinking of one student in particular. She is quite new among my students, but she has been practising yoga for a long time and, obviously, she is too flexible and lacks stability, especially, I suspect, sacroiliac joint stability. And, often, between poses, she does thinks like deep flexions, for example Prasarita Padottanasana, throwing her chin and chest forward, without any containment. Although, in my teaching, I try to speak about containment and stability and to give instructions in this direction, she looks totally unconscious of the phenomenon and what I say just cannot sink in her, probably because yoga for her equals suppleness. All that said, following your advice in session two, I tried to get her actively engaged to make her conscious or more conscious of her body pattern by using my hand on some part of her body, especially her back, and asking her to come closer or go away from it. And ... something happened! Of course, for the time being, she needs the reminder, but something unconscious has become conscious and, gradually, it will change, I think.
Q - 1:11:30
A - 1:11:38
Ingrid L: Can you give an example of that pressure to the body of a hyper mobile person?