Tuesday, 28 September 2010

The Spine

So today was my teacher training day, where I help out at the class. I was looking forward to someone new starting so that I could give the introduction talk, but there was no-one, so I was let off the hook. My public speaking isn't great at the best of times, so I'm a little nervous about my brain not connecting with my mouth and me just sounding ridiculous and not like I know what I'm talking about, but I think it's one of those things where if I 'just do it' then it'll be over and done with and I won't know what I was so worried about. A bit like when I first tried to describe the enforcement process at work, or the planning application and appeals process or whatever, I didn't really know what was spurting out of my mouth, but it sounded good so I just let it come out! Ha!

I'm still wary about touching people in the class, especially not knowing how to adjust properly, but I think I got involved more than last week anyway. I can see people responding to my touch, especially in terms of shoulders and upper back, drawing them away from the ears and lengthening the spine. However, a bit further down the spine is where I come unstuck; people have such different curves in their backs, I do not know what can be correct by adjustment and what cannot. And until I can feel like I know the answers to these questions I cannot feel completely comfortable with the spine. I've a couple of anatomy books, Coulter's and Kaminoff's, so I'm gonna give the spine sections a bit of a read tonight to see if any of my questions can be answered.

I'm not sure whether to do a self-practice in the morning or a led sun-power in the evening tomorrow. I'll set my alarm for early and see how it goes :o)


  1. On Ramaswami's Vinyasa Krama course he hardly adjusted/assisted at all, perhaps twice. He said that Krishnamacharya rarely assisted either (this was of course in his later years). We're so used to the idea of assists in Ashtanga, as if it's the only way. Learning at home I never had them of course and have done OK, although do I remember a couple from the two trips I made to a Mysore class, one showed me that my arm WILL reach all the way around in Mari D and the other a gentle lift at the hips in Urdhva Danurasana, found both helpful. In teaching my wife I rarely assist perhaps the lightest touch if I do, more as a reminder or focus than anything else. Of course coming from Ashtanga I say very little too, only what is essential.
    Hope the knees are behaving

  2. Hi Grimmly, thanks for you comment! Yes, I suppose the reason why I love being adjusted is because I am shown that I can do those postures. Only recently have I realised that not many ashtanga teachers adjust at all; some never adjust at a led class, but most leave it to mysore, where I suppose it is easier to 'bring people on' when you know where they get stuck, if that makes any sense. I sometimes have to remind myself that even when practicing at home, and a posture 'clicks', the excitment and sense of achievment is there too. I have also recently been adjusted by the light touch method, which as you say, is a great reminder and shows you do not always need a full on body on top of you to make progress! Thanks again, and I just wanted to say that I've spent hours reading your blog, I find it fascinating coming from completely the other side where I mostly practice in a class, but it really does show what you can achieve without a teacher physically being there. You're an inspiration Grimmly!