Posted by terrepruitt on March 29, 2017
When I participated in yoga training one of the things we did before we started with the training was to come up with what we thought was a list of “Yoga Etiquette.” This was a great idea because everyone piped up with what they thought was proper etiquette for a yoga class. And then, of course, we were to use the list and apply it to our yoga training and the classes we were to be participating in throughout the training. Most studios will post a list of yoga etiquette on their website or in the studio. It is helpful to know the different ideas of etiquette for each studio. Some studios lock the doors so that the class, once it has begun, is not interrupted. Since not all studios lock the door it is really good to know so you know that if you are 10 minutes late (or whatever their stated time is) you will not be allowed to enter. That is just an example. Here is the list that me and my fellow trainees came up with:
I would say that most of these are fairly common rules of etiquette, but I will also say that even though they are common they are not commonly practiced.
Some of these might have you questioning the reason, or perhaps wanting more of an explanation. If so, ask away. One I will address because I often hear people ask what “appropriate clothing” is and why that matters. I mean, many people feel that people should be allowed to wear what they want. Especially now-a-days where clothing and what people wear is such a topic for debate. But this is a pretty important one especially for teachers. While someone might feel absolutely comfortable with a low cut top or bottom, when they bend over and all that the other participants in the class can see is either breasts or butt, it is somewhat off-putting and distracting. Even if the wearer is comfortable exposing his or her chest or bum, yoga class is really not the place to let it all hang out. Also really tight fitting clothing is not appropriate if it keeps you from moving. I would say jeans whether loose or tight are not appropriate yoga wear. The clothing should allow you to move and be comfortable, yet fit properly. I also think for many yoga classes, layers are a good thing. When the class first starts it might seem chilly, but then the body warms up. At the end, shavasana, it could be the time to cover up again. While the yoga studios that I have seen have not dictated what people wear, the do usually provide guidelines.
Do you agree with all of these rules? Do you have any to add? Do you have any you would like to see followed?
Posted in Yoga/PiYo/Pilates | Tagged: appropriate clothing, don't step on others' mats, personal hygiene, shavasana, Yoga class, yoga etiquette, yoga studio, yoga training | Leave a Comment »
Posted by terrepruitt on May 23, 2016
I have written and posted about shavasana (savasana) before. This asana can be used to start a class or be done anywhere in the sequence that you see fit to use it. It is used in many yoga classes as the final pose. I think of it as a Challenging Easy Pose. It is a challenge because many of us have busy lives and things to do all the time. Many of us have a lot to think about. Many of us are challenged with quieting the mind. Not necessarily having no thoughts because I am not sure that is even possible, but not having a lot of chatter in the mind. Having focused thoughts. The thoughts focusing on breath, body, and the practice just experienced. Some people are further challenged with just being still. So in addition to the busy, moving mind, there is the busy, moving body. For some just relaxing and not fidgeting is a challenge. I find that being comfortable really helps. When doing shavasana as the final pose, I instruct my students to put on their jackets, if they want. I encourage them bring blankets. I almost plead with them to bring sock, nice, comfy, fluffy socks — and use them during shavasana.
I think this one simple thing will change your shavasana. It doesn’t matter what the temperature is. The room could be hot and the last thing you would think to do is put on socks, but I invite you to try it. I reserve at least 7 minutes for shavasana. I shoot for 10 minutes but sometimes that doesn’t work. But we do at least 7 minutes. So there is plenty of time to sink into relaxation. It could be that in my classes, with all of that time the feet have a chance to cool off so socks are great. When the feet are chilled it might keep you from completely relaxing. You might not even realize they are chilled. So socks can help.
Also air moving around your more than 7000 nerve endings (in each foot) might distract you. With many yoga classes there are some standing poses, so you’ve activated the nerves in the feet. Perhaps sensitized the feet during the class. So nice socks could help keep the distraction to a minimum. COMFY socks might help bring some calm back to those nerves. So if possible use warm and comfortable socks. Not dress socks, because those do not help with warmth.
I am not sure the ancient yogis would endorse or even agree with such a recommendation, but I think of socks as a prop to help me achieve the purpose of the pose. If props are used and recommended for other poses why not shavasana. I do know that some people use bolsters when they are available, so why not use socks?
For me, once I started using socks, my shavasana changed. I hadn’t even really thought about my feet affecting the pose until one day I decided to put on socks. The few students of mine that have decided to use socks during their shavasana mentioned how it made a difference. We all marvel at how it did!
So . . . whether you love shavasana or not . . . whether you are challenged by it or not . . . I suggest trying it with socks on. See what you think. Then let me know.
Posted in Yoga/PiYo/Pilates | Tagged: 7000 nerve endings in your foot, asana, bolsters, fluffy socks, relax with socks on, savasana, shavasana, yoga poses, Yoga Practice, yoga props, yoga sequence | Leave a Comment »
Posted by terrepruitt on December 10, 2015
I’ve been thinking lately about when a student once asked me what exercises to do so that s/he would be able to do yoga. My reply was to just do the poses. I explained that doing the pose in the way that s/he could at that moment is the way to “do yoga”. I got the feeling that this answer was not satisfactory, because the look on her/his face. Then the following week after class, the student had a little booklet. This person said that her/his spouse was given the booklet by their doctor and was told to do the exercises. The question being asked was what exercise could the student do that would enable her/him to do yoga. I softly sighed and took the booklet and flipped through the pages. I pointed to the exercise that were pretty much like some of the poses we had just done. I suggested s/he try them. I’ve been thinking about this because of two things: One, yoga is not about DOING a specific pose. This is very difficult for people to accept. And, two, I think I will start suggesting one pose that will help with all poses when asked this type of question.
I’ve been thinking about how yoga is not about “doing a pose”. Doing yoga is so much more. And I am specifically just talking about the asana here. In regards to do the asana the way to do them is by doing them. As we do them, they might get to be more than what it was when we started. An asana is not like running a marathon. One needs to plan and prepare for a marathon. One needs to train to run a marathon. One needs to build up to being able to run 26 miles. But even the training for a marathon consists of running. It consists of DOING the thing it is you are going to be doing.
Warming up the body with easier poses or very highly modified poses before doing the most challenging pose is recommended. But doing other exercises so that you can do yoga is not necessarily the point of the postures. Part of the beauty of yoga is that you do what you can when you can and you continue to do it until you can do more. Then you continue to do what you can do, until you can do more. You keep practicing until you think you have it perfect, then you do more. “More” could be matching the perfect pranayama to the pose. It could be concentrating so well that you can sense “every” muscle required to do that pose. It could be making your mind quite. It could be moving ever so slightly while in the “perfection” of that pose to see what it is like when you move a little more forward/back/up/down. There is always “more” to a pose.
I was really trying to convey this to the student, but that was not the answer s/he wanted to hear. S/he wanted to know what to do so that s/he could get into the poses and do the poses. I know there are things in my life I am impatient for and I just want the end result without having to do/wait for it. But with yoga there really is no end. It is like life it is the journey.
But regardless, when I get this question again, I might just reply with the most challenging of all poses . . . . corpse pose or shavasana. I might just suggest that the student try practicing shavasana for three to five minutes. I think that might actually help. Once the practice of being still (in the body) and being quiet (in the mind) is achieved or at least better understood, then maybe the answer about doing yoga to do yoga will be understood.
I’ve heard many people say there aren’t flexible enough to do yoga, well, you do yoga to GET flexible.
So, what do you think about doing something in order to do it?
Posted in Yoga/PiYo/Pilates | Tagged: asana, exercise class, perfect poses, shavasana, Yoga class, yoga student | 2 Comments »
Posted by terrepruitt on October 7, 2014
I often tell my students at the end of class that making them get up is the worst part of my job. I have posted blog posts about savasana. The restful period of time at the end of a yoga class where you take time to relax letting the body and mind absorb the benefits to be had from the asanas that were just practiced. Let the body remember the stability and strength. Give the body time to become accustom the space that was created. Allow the mind to reflect on the stillness. Well, in Nia we often end the routine in Floorplay. Floorplay is either playing with gravity to experience the muscles or stretching or . . . it can be a combination of both. There are a lot of ways to play on the floor. There are a lot of ways to end the class. Our Nia training DVDs have floorplay and ending movements, but they are not choreographed. So there is a lot of freedom in the last songs. Nia teachers can either duplicate what the trainer does on the DVD or they can create their own movements to the songs and end the class in their own way. I know I sometimes do what I sense the class needs so sometimes I lead the class through movements and sometimes I instruct them to do their own free dance. Often times we end by lying on the floor in a restful pose. Just like in my yoga classes I don’t like to have to make my students get up.
In the studio I rent, I think that I should rent an extra 30 minutes so we can just lie there. Sometimes I sense the class could easily just stay there for an extra 30 minutes beyond the one hour Nia class. In the classes I teach for the San Jose Park and Recs Department, I sense they could do that too, but we need to end on time. Sometimes there is a class right after us so our restful period is interrupted. But when it is not, it is a challenge to know when to interrupt the peace.
Recently I taught a class and I really didn’t want to tell them to get up. The clock in the room was not working so I snuck up to check my phone and as I was returning to the circle I saw such peace and relaxation I didn’t want to bother them. I toyed with the idea of just letting them stay an extra 5 or 10 minutes. But without having planned that in advance, I didn’t want someone lying there past the hour and not knowing it. Many people workout on their breaks so they need to get back to work. Or they just need to get on with their day. So as much as I don’t like interrupting their peace and as much as I would like to just let them relax, I need to keep to our schedule. But it really is the worst part of my job when I feel they would love to just stay.
But, on the other hand, it really is a great part of my job when I can be in the presence of those that can just relax and let go. After dancing and getting all sweaty it is so nice that they can just take a deep breath and melt into the earth and relax. I get a huge sense of peace when I am in the presence of their stillness . . . . that is why it is so hard to disturb them.
Do you take moments out of your day to just relax and experience peace?
Posted in Nia, Yoga/PiYo/Pilates | Tagged: asanas, body weight exercises, Body-mind, dance exercise, gravity exercises, Nia class, Nia DVDs, Nia flooplay, Nia Free Dance, Nia Practice, Nia routine, Nia routines, Nia songs, Nia students, Nia training, Nia workout, restful period, San Jose City Nia classes, San Jose Park and Recs Department, savasana, shavasana, Yoga class, Yoga Practice | Leave a Comment »
Posted by terrepruitt on February 25, 2014
I love my students. They are a great source to me; they teach me and they make me laugh. Recently one of my students happen to mention a policy that was told to her – a facility stated she could try the class for 10 minutes without charge, but would have to sign up for the class to stay longer. The comments from those that she was sharing this with was that 10 minutes was not really long enough to get a sense of the class and if they would like it. She said, “I know, if I would have only stayed 10 minutes I would have missed the nap time at the end!” That was the best. She, of course, was kidding . . . sort of. She was talking about Shavasana. A very important part, yet for many, one of the most difficult times in yoga.
She was kidding in the sense that we all know it is not nap time, but not having been familiar with yoga she would have missed seeing that part of the class if she had only been allowed to stay for 10 minutes. Shavasana is a pose of total relaxation. It is where you allow your body to rest and relax from the workout it just participated in. In some classes this is a necessary time for recuperation of the body, but in others it might not be so much about the body. In a Gentle Yoga class it could be more about the mind. In Nia we have BMES – Body, Mind, Emotion, and Spirit. We could say that shavasana is a time for those four things. So after a nice gentle class it could be more a time more for the mind, emotion, and spirit to relax. While the inner dialog should be kept to a minimum while practicing the asanas it is even more important to do so during shavasana. This is the time when the body absorbs all the goodness from the poses it just performed.
I had once thought that you DID shavasana IN the corpse pose, but the name comes from the Sanskrit words Shava meaning “corpse” or dead body and Asana meaning “posture”.*
One of the reasons shavasana is so difficult is because there is not supposed to be any inner dialog going on (as I just mentioned). This is not the time where you begin making your shopping list for your trip to the store after class, or where you decide what you are going to say to your boss/friend/spouse. This is a time of quiet, a time of reflection, a time where you do a “body check”. Check in with each body part or area of your body to see if it needs any attention, see if it needs to be relaxed and focus on allowing it to relax. Sometimes because of this relaxation one might fall asleep. When I first started every time I did shavasana I fell asleep. Now I don’t, I am better at being mindfully relaxed. It is a practice though. This might not be something that comes easy to you, it might be a challenge, but it is something worth practicing.
I’ve heard different ideas on how to hold shavasana in a class. Some say that a guided meditation is the way it should be done. Some say that total silence is the only right way. Some say some music or nature sounds should accompany this pose. In my classes I usually softly lead the participants into a relaxed state. Then I allow them quiet time with this pose — I do have sounds playing during class and I don’t turn that off, but sometimes I turn it down. Then after the time allowed I talk them back to awakening their bodies and moving again.
If this pose and time is not something that you include in your yoga practice, I encourage you to give it a go. Try it. If you fall asleep that is ok. But keep doing it and when you are able to achieve that relaxed state while staying awake you will see how powerful this simple pose is.
Do you practice shavasana? Have you ever fallen asleep during shavasana? How long do you stay in this pose?
*Wiki and Jaisiyaram
Posted in Yoga/PiYo/Pilates | Tagged: asana, BMES, body check, corpse pose, inner dialog, Jaisiyaram, naptime, nature sounds, Nia, Nia Classes, Nia Practice, relaxation pose, sanskrit, savasana, shavasana, Yoga, yoga poses, Yoga Practice, yoga students | 2 Comments »