Final Reflection

Final reflection questions:
1) In what ways did you meet or not meet your learning goals for the course?  Give specific examples.
I think for the most part I met my learning goals. I met two of them for sure- learning about hinduism and the history of yoga and other aspects. I’m not sure how much deeper I took my practice in preparation for yoga teacher training that starts in 12 days. I learned a lot about how I’d like to teach and what to incorporate, but as for my own practice I learn more in a studio setting.
2) What did you learn about yourself, your preferences, and your learning style from the course?  Give specified examples.
I learned how I want to teach come August when I’m a certified teacher. I’m excited to start my training. I want to teach in gratitude and compassion, definitely, but I also want the yoga flows to challenge everyone in the class. I learned a lot about meditation, most of which I didn’t know before, and I think this will help in the future.
3) Which practices, if any, will you continue in the future?  Why these? (Or, why none?)
I’ll be teaching hath a come August, so I’ll keep that going for sure. Same with karma- the karma yoga can happen in the small moments and small gestures, but it’s important to keep it going. As for the other two, I probably won’t practice it. It’s an odd thing for some aspects to be Westernized and the others to make us all feel uncomfortable. I really didn’t like bakti yoga because we had Kali, so it was weird to build a shrine to a god so intimidating.

40 minutes of meditation

Today we did 4 rounds of 10 minute meditation. I found this to be a struggle. I can usually meditate for awhile, seeing as I’m used to savasana meditation after yoga at the studio, but doing it in the classroom was difficult.

The temperature definitely affected me trying to slip into this state of bliss. The classroom was very cold and it was warm everywhere else.

I really liked the mantra and key word meditation, but the walking meditation just didn’t work for me. As hard as I tried, I couldn’t just let thoughts go. It was a lot easier to get distracted.

I like meditating but I don’t think it’s for me to do it for 40 minutes at a time.

Mantra Meditation

Today we watched a video over meditation dn the science behind it. It was SO interesting to watch because we got to see the science and effects of meditation on the human body after rounds of meditation.

I really liked it when they went to Iowa and visited the community that practices a certain kind of meditation. It was weird, yes, but it also seemed like such a great place for those serious about how meditation affects their lives.

I thought one of the most interesting parts of the Iowa community was the people jumping and trying to levitate. Trying to do that is HARD. You have to sit in lotus which can be difficulty as it is.

It was very very interesting.

Karma Yoga

This weekend I went home and worked all day every day. It was tiring, but it left me time at night to spend time with friends I haven’t seen since last summer. One of my oldest friends, who is basically family, had a small grill out for her birthday.

We spent a lot of time in the hammock talking. That night her mom, who is handicapped after cancer and uses a cane to walk around and can only talk in a whisper, grilled supper for us. After that, Kayla, my friend and I, went for a walk with her mom and then came back and did the dishes for her since she was in some pain.

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I think it’s the little things you can do that improves your karma, after doing the readings. It’s simple to improve your karma by helping someone cross the road, or one I’ve done in the past is left money for the next person’s coffee at a coffee shop. I see this all the time since I’m a barista in the summer. It’s easy to do little tasks that can make you feel better about your place in the world, and something like a walk and dishes helped her mom a ton.

Hot Yoga

Today we went to Evolve in Sioux City. This si the studio I practice at daily (if not more than once daily.) Erin is wonderful, and I love her so much. Her flows are always challenging, no matter what level you are at.

Her flow today was challenging for everyone, I think. She broke down plant, down dog, and chaturanga, along with the sun salutation which everyone needed. I think it was great for everyone to experience a studio and the way they flow through the sun salutations and prevent injuries. Jumping back to chaturanga can be really hard not he shoulders if done in correctly so learning the basics of chaturanga arms was essential for anyone practicing yoga. It’s a really hard pose and took me forever to understand.

I loved Evolve and thought her class was very challenging for everyone there.

Kali

Doing a shrine to Kali was very uncomfortable. It felt like we were about to worship the devil. Her shrine needed animals bloods, meat/fish, incense, etc.

The odd part about the chants you perform while worshipping her is that there were three, all with different levels. The first was fine for people to chant but the other two were inciting worship to essentially the devil. The last one was only to be done in a temple or bad things could happen to you.

Building the shrine wasn’t he uncomfortable part, the chants that went with it were.

Pranayama

I’ve really liked learning pranayama breathing techniques the past few days. As an avid yogi, I’ve learned a lot of these techniques at the yoga studio before, but breaking them down the way we have has helped.

With the breathing techniques I immediately feel more calm, which is exactly what it’s supposed to do. Focusing on your breath allows you to relieve stress and in your yoga practice, take poses deeper. Focusing on the breath will relive tension in life and in your body by centering you breath.

Learning a few new techniques was interesting, but most of them I had done before. Pranayama is a really important thing to learn, especially as stressed out college students.

Teaching: Headstand

I think teaching headstand to the class was hugely beneficial for me. I’m doing yoga teacher training this summer, and breaking down a pose that complicated is a hard thing to do. I think it set me up well to learn to break down postures like that in the future. I’ll have to do a lot of that this summer at training.

Headstand is hard to learn, but it’s most important to not get injured. Doing it wrong can lead to bad injuries and strains. Making sure you have the shoulder and core strength necessary is important first before attempting the pose. It also helps to use a wall or have someone assist you to do the full pose.

I really loved teaching and so far I’m learning how ready I am to be a certified teacher come August.

Headstand

Variation 1: Basket/Supported Headstand (Salamba Sirasana)

Steps:

  1. On hands and knees, put forearms on the group and clasp hands together (can be open palms or closed)
  2. Pick knees up off the ground coming in to dolphin pose.
  3. Put crown of head in between the hands/wrists
  4. Walk feet in closer to the body (goal is to get hips over your shoulders). Press through the shoulders to avoid caving in to the neck which could lead to injuries.
  5. Pick one foot up keeping your hips square. Put back down and repeat on the other side.
  6. To get into the full expression,  slowly press legs one at a time in to the air and eventually the other foot will rise.
  7. Slowly come back down. Counter the pose in child’s pose.

 

Variations: use a wall for support

Variation 2: Tripod Headstand (Sirasana II)

Steps:

  1. Begin on hands and knees.
  2. Spread fingers out wide to build your base.
  3. Put the crown of your head about a foot in front of your fingertips.
  4. Lift your hips into the air.
  5. Slowly walk your feet in to your body.
  6. Bring your knees on top of your elbows. You might just stay here for this pose.
  7. If available, lift each leg in to the air. Press through your shoulders- caving in will hurt your neck and lead to injury.
  8. Use your core to steady your body. Press through your heels bringing your toes toward your body.
  9. Slowly come back to your knees.
  10. Finish in child’s pose.

Variations: keep knees on elbows, crow to sirasana

 

Purpose:

  • relieves stress
  • strengthens the lungs
  • strengthens the abdominal muscles

Goals

My learning goals for this Yoga May Term class are:

  1. Learn more about Hinduism and how yoga evolved
  2. Learn about the history of yoga and the asanas
  3. Take my own yoga practice deeper before I do yoga teacher training starting in June

 

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