Now that I’ve recharged my solar battery, I thought I’d finally take a change to talk about the workshop I did on August 5 – 7 with Kathryn Budig at Halifax Yoga. This work shop included a Friday evening class and then two-three hours sessions on Saturday and Sunday.
Friday Evening Class:
Kathryn started the class off with an introduction to her life mantra, a prayer to the goddess Artemis, “make my aim true, give me goals and the means to achieve them,” which she summarized by suggesting that it is as simple as choosing love rather than fear. She asked each student to consider the following questions over the course of the workshop:
1. What does “aim true” mean to you?
2. Name 3 – 4 positive qualities that you have or that best describe you.
3. How can you share and apply these qualities to your life and to the world.
Kathryn then started a flow class. She incorporated a hunter series with Warrior I and Warrior II to reflect the idea of “aim true” and achieving goals. The class was a perfect introduction to the next two days work on inversions and heart openers.
Saturday Morning Workshop:
For some reason, I was incredibly anxious walking into this workshop. When Kathryn opened up to the class for suggestions on poses and inversions we would work on throughout the 3 hours, and other students started naming poses that I just didn’t feel like my body could do, I began to slightly panic. I actually had to talk myself down to just go with the flow and not let my ego prevent me from walking out the door.
Fortunately we started in Savasana and I calmed down a bit. We moved right into some core work, the thought being that the core is so essential for inversions and balances that we would want to be able to feel this working and be familiar with the sensations. Kathryn also worked through changing our Downdog poses to simulate the hips in line with the shoulders as they should be when upside down, rather than dropping the chest right to the floor. This was incredibly helpful once we moved to the wall and started working on getting our legs up in the air.
We spent about an hour or more starting with handstands and working to Pincha Mayurasana and Scorpion. This was an invigorating session and it became so clear to me how the right words and instructions can really enable you to do things that perhaps were not even comprehendible at one point. I was really excited to be able to work on the forearm balances with a strap as this provides a safer form for me to work on this at home, rather than relying on a teacher to help me in an occasional class. Here is a video of a new stretchy strap that Kathryn uses for many different inversions:
We moved on to other arm balances, and honestly, my arms were pretty shot by this point. It was a struggle for me to do crow and some of the other poses that seem easier spread sporadically through a class. However, while I was tired, I was able to understand more intuitively how the body is suppose to move. For example, I have been frustrated by trying to move from Crow to Chataranga. I discovered a few things. Firstly, when I jump back from forward fold to chataranga, I don’t bend my arms but just stay in plank and then slowly lower. I need to do this faster and not be worried about my face moving down to the floor so quickly. I realized it is totally a mind thing, because I do have the strength to hold Chatarunga. Secondly, in its ideal form, Crow should be done with straight arms so that just before the feet shoot back, the back rounds and there is then lots of room for this. So this is what I’m working on now in my home practice. I was excited to have it so clearly outlined for me, rather than just to hear, “ok, now shoot your feet back!”
Sunday Morning Class
Again, I walked into this class with a lot of anxiety, this one probably more valid based on some of the limitations my “other hobbies” as Kathryn says, place on my hips. We started in a supported, heart opening Savasana, which again calmed me down (I’m definitely going to start incorporating Savasana at the beginning of my classes from time to time as well!) Kathryn explained where the bend comes from (not the lower back) and while she told me to just work at about 20% for a lot of the bends (Lord of the Dance, Bow and its modifications), it was pretty cool to watch what others’ bodies have the capacity to do. I was really happy that she had reminded us on Friday evening that rather than being jealous of someone’s abilities, we should be happy and excited to see these accomplishments, and I can honestly say that while it is much harder to accept my limitations, I was pretty stoked about what others were doing around me. Here are a few photos: