Teacher Training


This article. I think it is well thought out but the title is somewhat bothersome. Overall my opinion is that someone who did a 200 hour training should not diminish what others are doing just because they have grown and moved on. Yes she moved on to connect with the right teacher and style for her, but the article suggests that 200 hour trainings try to fool trainees into thinking they are something they are not. You know what you learn in 200 hour teacher trainings? You learn 200 hours of whatever they are teaching. You get a little history, a little philosophy, and little alignment and if you as a trainee stop there and never attend another workshop or training, that is all you will know. I always strongly encourage trainees to go to as many as they can. The 200 hour is and should be the beginning, not the end all be all. People come to their first training with a desire to learn, grow, and give back. I would assume this training or practice won’t serve them their whole lives and they will also move on.

I did. I did a 300 after my 200, attended other specific trainings, countless workshops, and I did change my practice from a style to a lineage. And I understand the difference. I also feel that constant study and focus on your practice should be the priority. And I always choose the BEST teachers to learn from. Locally I do not have the opportunity to work daily with an authorized Ashtanga teacher, so I go and learn from the Iyengar peeps. The people I know who are doing teacher trainings are also passionate about giving worthwhile training. I have never met a trainee who talked about money to be made or being a famous teacher. My experience is they are anxious to learn and are always surprised at how little they DID know and then even more anxious to learn more.

Most important, they want to help people. Because they have been helped or healed.

Many have gone on to additional trainings and studies and they get better as teachers. I would assume those who don’t are stagnant or maybe did not really want to teach but just wanted to understand more beyond what they are taught in a yoga class.

Sometimes it is easy to stand on the pedestal of an long standing practice and to be in the place that finally feels RIGHT to you and look at those who are not where you are NOW and as I said diminish what they are doing. For all teachers, style or lineage not withstanding, our job is to be compassionate, teach what we know (it may be very little), and know that growth comes at different rates for all of us and to work in a way as teachers that allows growth for EVERYONE.



Lately I have been brooding over the fact that I don’t have a ‘teacher’ to work under. I pour over blogs and Facebook posts that have pictures and stories of yoga shalas and communities with an authorized teachers where the community is immersed in serious practice and the practitioners are like minded in their pursuit of yoga and the lineage they practice in. While I am able to get out of town for workshops and practice with a small local group with the same interests, I often wish I had that here. I know. Whoa is me.

My solution has been to work with a small group that are in the same situation that I am and practice at home. And hope for something different some day. And enjoy practice.

Fortunately there are TEACHERS of the lineage of Krishnamacharya in town so I am enjoying going to Iyengar yoga IMMENSELY.

How did two teachers with the same teacher develop such different forms of yoga?

As I practice and study I find as many similarities as differences. Iyengar is very adamant on not teaching vinyasa krama, or movement with breath. His ideal is that the yoga pose has what he refers to as a ‘holistic’ or ‘wholistic’ experience. The forms have a lot of theory in order to experience the pranic quality. In Ashtanga vinyasa, the focus is on the quality of prana, or breath over the theory of form. The form follows and the only way to experience it is through consistent practice.

The ashtanga practitioners who have been consistent with the practice for years attest to this. The novice is never sure. They don’t really understand the bandhas or the energetic promise of experience, especially in the West, we want to know why, or HOW does it work. We in the West even doubt in the experience.

Crossing the lines of styles is also verboten in certain circles. There is a distrust among the Ashtangis about Iyengar, I remember Richard Freeman saying yes this is kind of the ultimate SIN to throw some Iyengar in, but my favorite teachers, like Freeman or Tias Little do this SO WELL.

In the Iyengar classes I have taken, we practice many of my familiar primary series poses. Parsvottanasana for example:


Is the same pose in both practices, with the Iyengar being a little wider base in the jump out, then turn, the approach is very adho mukha and that approach is very uttanasa, which I GOT yesterday. Brilliant.

I love the break down. I also love the vinyasa. But the breakdown helped me realize something about the pranic quality or the EXPERIENCE, that maybe I wasn’t getting the answer too, or I WAS getting the answer to over a LONG PERIOD of practice.

When I went back to classic styles a little over a year ago I thought, oh yeah, well I have these standing poses DOWN. Turns out, I was wrong. There is always MORE, especially in the Foundational work of yoga. If I have one critique of the current state of yoga, it is the total lack of Foundations in practice. Everyone wants to do a handstand, like, yesterday.

Handstands are fine and fancy poses, but so are the bridges, blocks, streams, and walls.

I am going to do a Foundations workshop series this spring. When people ooh and aah over yoga poses on social media, that is the first thing I point out, those people practiced Foundations a long time. I don’t know of any exceptions that that rule. That is my current yoga theory. The lessons never stop on planet earth.

Coming soon, a post on Trikonasana

“Mudra is a sealing in of energy, a drawing of a boundary, a closing off, a shutting out, an isolation. And here’s the contradiction: you seal in your energy, shut out the world in order to let yourself participate in a much larger world. Confining your energy within your body enables you to harness the stupendous energy of the cosmos. You then have more energy to give all around. At first you seem more selfish, but in reality you are more generous.

Similarly creating mudras, boundaries in your relationships, withdrawing your energy internally, defining yourself clearly, claiming your independence frees your energy, renders you more dependable, and helps you be a better partner, friend, teacher, mother, or daughter.” David Garrigues

The power of mudras. The power of practice. In the past few months I have developed really strong unusually wide feet. One of my favorite pairs of Frye boots are a squeeze for me now. It is a powerful energy that now exists in the extremities of my hands and feet.


I mentioned this to a student who thought I was complaining about my feet. No. I practice and understand foundation and this shifted my energy. The power of mudra is containing your energy. The energy equalizes through the body. Prana has to move through your body when you are practicing yoga. It is the same discussion I have over and over with my husband about why a handstand press is not gymnastics. It is gymnastics without breath and it is yoga with the quality of prana.

And it doesn’t matter what kind of yoga. Whether you are working through a practice of a more static style with a lot of breath incorporated or full blown vinyasa, as long as there is breath there is energy and the potential to experience and create the energy that exists or can be created that works within your nature.

Using your energy in a right manner is crucial. I would rather blog or talk about PRACTICE and not waste my time talking about yoga that has nothing to do with my practice. I did that and to be honest find it is boring. I am also wary about teachers who do not practice or ever talk about practice, just, anything else that focuses away from practice. Get it? My favorite teachers and bloggers, Grimm, talk about it all the time. Practice, or talk about your next practice. I can never wait until my next practice.


“Alignment is not an end in and of itself. The purpose of good alignment is to facilitate a deeper inner experience. If you focus on alignment as the end goal then it diffuses the true power of yoga. The method of yoga is essentially also very simple. In Utkatasana the knees are bent and the hands are up. The depth with which Western teachers, including myself, describe the inner experience of energy and alignment is something that Guruji and Sharath have always left up to the individual to directly experience for themselves. This way each student has the framework for direct perception of the inner body and ultimately their true self and there is more room for variety, experimentation and modification. Sharath is the first person to say that he does not have a beautiful practice according to Western standards. Yet at the same time if you ask him if alignment is important he says yes, for sure, to prevent injury and help the energy flow in the body. I think the key is to find a balance between emphasizing the physical over subtle and disregarding the physical for the spiritual.” Kino MacGregor

It is what it is. This past year has been my year of finding practice. The practice of lineage and eight limbs and for that I am truly grateful. I have gotten blog feedback that has caused me to pause my blog and just focus on practice.

I am not trying to convince anyone of anything or of how they should practice, I can only work from where I am myself. And I have been all over the place and my experience has convinced me that this is what I should be doing and of how I should be teaching, no matter what anyone else says. But I am not going to waste words or walk around the issue of what practice is, as opposed to showing up for a bunch of classes. Yoga is a full scale practice and anyone who has stuck with it for a long time will tell you the same thing.

One thing I have learned is that what I have read has been born out through practice. The practice is internal and has to be focused. Raja yoga is yoga of the mind. There are steps you have to take and you have to practice all of them.

It is almost like a twelve step program. Most people who go through a twelve step program find resistance to one or two of them that they know they won’t do. And if they don’t, they will fail the program. This has been proven time and time again.

You have to look at the teachers that have been around a while and listen to them and listen to them again. Then do all they say, and practice. Yoga is experiential. You can’t fake experience. Saying you practice and actually PRACTICING are two different things. There are some really good bloggers that blog about their practice and then there are a lot of blogs about yoga that really have nothing to do with yoga. I read a good interview yesterday where a master teacher called it, having a conversation about yoga. Many times I blogged about practice that was pretty much about something in my head, not in my practice. It is all about karma, which is taking the mundane, and turning it into something sacred.

Lately I have found this profound strength that is manifesting from deep within. It is the bandhas, not just core, quads, and glutes. I don’t even know how to explain it. Bala. My feet are like hands now. Sort of, but I am not blogging with them.

SO there will be much more blogging this year. It will be about practice, svadhyaya, and workshops. I have my first workshop booked with David Swenson in April. I am looking to keep learning. My other plan is to work with the local Iyengar teachers and learn from them. They know their stuff. I might go out to California for Maty Ezraty intensive later this year too, or something else similar.

Who can be enlightened? Only a full on samadhi guru? Only someone who practices with said guru? Third series Ashtangis? Karma yogis (Bill Clinton, Mother Theresa, Bono)?

Russell Brand looks so frantic and crazed and the disparity between his presence and the interviewers…..they…look like they are having a bad day….or are having a weird day. The norm for them…..talking to someone who is LYING. And here a CELEBRITY talking about layers and experience of levels of consciousness.

I know a lot of yoga people who don’t talk like Russell..and a few who do.

Teachers are the key, not having a teacher in close proximity is really hard. You have to commit then to going….and going a lot. I am going a LOT in 2014.

I don’t know how much practice it takes. My practice is like:


Yeah the Johnny Depp movie where I walked out of the maelstrom scene and went to the parking lot to get something out of the car, went to the bathroom, sat in the lobby and read my email and then went back……

And they were still in that scene.

I was up at five thirty AGAIN because I could not wait to practice. I wish it was as easy for me as for Russell. He hasn’t been practicing as long as I have but he was a heroin addict. Heroin addicts already know God in their own way and once they get off, they only want to get back. I have never been a heroin addict, I turned down that invitation.

I was up at five thirty but about a year ago before I really got IT, about practice, I was way less disciplined. And looking into the maelstrom and wondering if there is a bottom. I am not perfect or even close, but when I read or hear about the process it is ALWAYS the same. I haven’t found the easy way yet….but I have looked, believe me.

SO knowing this post makes no sense and starting with Russell, which either makes sense….or not at all, you know I would rather have someone looking at me like those announcers than to sit up anywhere and fucking lie about anything. (Husband to me yesterday..”Do you ever edit yourself.”)

Where I anxiously wait for Yoga Workshop to put out Richard’s workshops for next year and that I can attend . This video is from the workshop I attended last year and I did one this year, but can never get enough. I did not know Mula Bandha was female. Hmmmm.

At this very moment recieved an email from Ashtanga Confluence. I know Richard is there and apparently I can win a pair of Juil shoes to wear to the conference.

I hope the schedule goes up soon and he is close. My plan right now is Boulder 2015 if I can get in the short intensive. Richard’s short and long intensives fill up almost immediately and I imagine the wait list is long.

Grimmley has a post today I highly recommend. He interviewed Kristina Karitinou, an Ashtanga teacher in Athens, Greece. She was also the wife of Derek Ireland.

Look him up if you don’t know who he is.


It is always enjoyable for me to read or hear about anyone involved in the lineage of what I practice, as I mentioned in an earlier blog on Eddie Stern. As I would have suspected, the interview reflects the true of love of all teachers connected with lineage. She shows a great respect and love for the whole Jois family, respects lineage, and has a reverence for the practice. Since I have to travel normally to find that connection, these interviews and posts keep me connected to my own practice.

I also finally found a blogger who has a crappy practice like I do. As much as I enjoy reading on those who struggle with intermediate series, right now I am enjoying that view from afar. Everyone struggles though and once you get past one struggle, the next is right out there.

I had a discussion on trikonasana with teacher trainees last weekend. Teachers may teach it with various modifications but I looked and do not ever find a teacher or practice where they say never bring the hand to the floor. Even Yoga Journal got it right long ago:


Remember you can always go to the source. You can also practice in the modification your whole life or teach it that way but just remember:


I don’t argue with him.

David Garrigues.

David is one of my favorite bloggers and a teacher I hope to work with one day in workshops or go on a retreat.

Please come to the Midwest David.

I think his blog reflects a very seasoned practitioner who has gone through many phases of practice. His blog reflects that practice is always a meditation. The mind patterns mirror the phase of practice. The essence of practice is to alleviate the mind of these patterns and becomes the refuge from the thought processes when there is a true focus.

I love that an accomplished and serious practitioner/teacher has the experience that I do, of anticipating my practice the next day. Just this morning I was up at four waiting for time to go to practice. It is like Christmas every day. Often it is like an escape from what David is talking about, the incessant challenge of wondering how to practice, if I am practicing enough, will I injure myself, do I have pain today.

This is exactly what we are escaping from in practice. When there are few mental and external distractions, practice is sweet. We are strong. We can balance with right effort. With many distractions, it is like we have two half tennis balls attached to the bottom of our feet and no matter how much or little effort, there is no balance. The mind is in the way. Again.

Serene Flavorful

inspiration yoga pretty things tasty things fearless kindness

The Confluence Countdown

Ashtanga yoga news, opinion and resources from two practitioners seeking to deepen their Sadhana

The Shift Has Hit The Fan

One person's perspective on the Earth's energetic shift

Are We There Yet?

Fingers Pointing to the Moon

Nion Alchemy

Better Living Through Metaphysics

Tamina's Turn

inspiring movement for the soul

Yoga Ph.D.

Integrating the Life of the Mind and the Wisdom of the Body

Spirit Wonk

Meditation. Yoga. Buddhism. Self-expression.

Fork and Beans

Encouraging adults to start playing more with their food.

Up(per Midwest)ward Facing Dog

Practicing gratitude, patience, peace, and laghu vajrasana. In the cold.

Prana and Peaches

Yoga, Health, Life

The Babarazzi

Giving Yoga Culture The Star Treatment


Life in a yoga blender.

Savasana Addict

My Ashtanga journey, one breath at a time


Form, Flow and Grace




Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 409 other followers