Our second day* of yoga training began and ended with an asana practice.
Asana means posture and is the physical practice of yoga.
Our morning asana practice focused on warming up our feet and legs and practicing three postures we would explore during the standing poses class. We discussed six standing poses across the first two days of training. I’ll provide illustrations and names below; all illustrations are from Pocketyoga.
Poses discussed on day one:
Ardha Chandrāsana: half moon
Poses discussed on day two:
Vīrabhadrāsana I: warrior 1
Vīrabhadrāsana II: warrior 2
Pārśvakoṇāsana: side angle
When I say we “discussed” each pose I mean that we spent about 45 minutes to an hour per pose having different students model it while the teacher made minor adjustments and talked about various aspects of each pose (where do the hips point, how are the ribs rotated, what variations can you expect in the pose depending on people’s body types vs. what aspects of the pose should you correct). I took copious notes. It was fun diving more deeply into exploring these poses which I’ve always done (probably incorrectly) in big classes. And it has been so great to explore and learn in an environment with others who are just as intensely interested as I am. I’m enjoying getting to know my classmates.
In the afternoon, we had a class on anatomy & physiology (our second of the training). I’ve never taken college-level anatomy and have found myself curious and interested in learning. There is so much information to take in and apply to understand our physical bodies. It’s really amazing. Now I can look at my foot or leg and think about the muscles and tendons and ligaments and bones and how they are related to each other or how they can become injured, and why it’s important to warm them up dynamically before doing static holds. The teacher was also great at taking what could be a dry, boring lecture (e.g., bones and arches in the foot) and having us apply the material immediately (e.g., three classmates stood next to each other with heels together/toes out, and we decided who had the highest and lowest medial arches). We also talked a lot about different kinds of students one could expect in a yoga class and the kinds of complaints they would probably have (e.g., office workers often come to a 5:45pm class with super-stretched glutes and hamstrings from sitting in chairs all day). Our closing asana practice focused on applying some of the things we had just learned in anatomy & physiology. (Our teacher would say, for example, “dorsiflex your foot, and laterally rotate your femur.”)
Randomly: I also remembered that I’m hyperflexible in my knees because I can do virasana like a champ. (I used to “w-sit” all the time when I was younger and I somehow kept that mobility as an adult, which I’m grateful for.) Based on what I’ve learned about hyperflexibility, it sounds like I just need to make sure I don’t push myself too far, or I could overstretch my medial collateral ligament. So no more feet-sideways for me in this pose.
I ended the day yesterday feeling grateful for a full day spent thinking about, talking about, and doing yoga. And feeling more than ever like a yogi.
* Day one was technically Wednesday, June 28, but it was just a 1.5 hour introductory meeting so I’m thinking of it as day zero. I’m calling day one the first full day of training: Thursday, June 29.