Today was another wonderful day. I couldn’t sleep well last night – I can’t say I was sore in the traditional sense. I was a bit (in the abs darn it all – no matter how much training I do – those Ana abs still get me!) but it was more that I was so alive! This happened to me at the first workshop I took with her as well.
My yogini friend Laura and I were right up front but Ana moves around the room so adeptly – sometimes she is the middle of the room, either of the sides. It’s a great way to teach. Laura was such an inspiration to me this weekend. She continued to do handstands today.
The morning class was a backbend class. It started with buzz the chakras with a buzz breath and then the usual suspects – side bends in badhakonasana, elbow to knee, abs with a mat, bridge, dolphin, and the B-series with a series of poses to get ready for back bends. There were a lot of lunges. The backbends were camel, bow with a strap (which I practice with a longer strap then usual – Ana was trying to get us to keep our lower back as flat as possible in backbends), dancer with a strap, then a sequence of bridge, wheel with alternating legs up, viparita with alternating legs up, then bridge. Some of us then went to the wall to do scorpion handstand under Ana’s watchful eye.
Then we did a series of back unwinds starting with cobra push-ups with a rolled up mat and elbow to knee. We ended in savasana with legs up the wall which is so great after backbends.
The afternoon class was another delicious hip opening class. The seated beginning poses, abs, bridge, and dolphin were all geared to opening up the hips. We went to the wall for inversions and did handstand with lotus (I got into lotus – it was an ugly lotus but it was there!), shoulder opener at the wall, and then twisted root in elbow balance. We then did a series of standing poses to open the hips which culminated in head to ankle. If you could do head to ankle then she had you lie down in “road kill”. It’s one of those poses where you were all twisted up but it felt fantastic on the hips. We then did a series of pigeon poses culminating in twisted pigeon – one arm around back grabbing pigeon leg and the other leg bending up at knee while you grab it with the other hand (if you can – I could not!).
Ana answered some Q&A in the afternoon. I asked her about a problem I’m having with my neck. When I release my neck, sometimes the other side cramps. She gave me some alternatives and then watched me in the afternoon and caught me with my opposite shoulder sliding up to my head. Once I released that shoulder blade down my back – like magic – no more cramps.
Once again I got many new details on the asanas. When opening my toes I need to reach through the balls of my feet through the inner leg. In certain twisting poses, I was collapsing my ribs on my legs or the floor and I needed to lift up. I’ve learned a lot of new things to work on in my own practice.
Ana talked about how to ride the waves of intensity of the poses as waves of energy and I really felt myself doing that this weekend. The holds were very long and sometimes caused my legs or arms to burn but I brought in other parts of my body to support my self.
Another point – Ana and Jonathan (her partner) showed many variations of the poses. There was usually a beginner, intermediate, and advanced option. There were definitely some beginners in the workshop and several advanced. Ana knows how to run a workshop and had material for all levels.
I am so buzzed about doing the teacher training with Ana this summer now after this workshop. It’s an exciting time for Forrest Yoga in this area and it is expanding. Ana hadn’t been in this area in years and Back Bay Yoga sponsored her workshop last year. This is third time in about a year and a half that she has been back and she will be spending much of the next six months in the new england area. This bodes well for us new teachers and the word of her style of yoga will spread.
She is doing an interesting weeklong workshop on eating disorders this summer while Jonathon will be doing a men’s yoga workshop. I want to send a friend of mine who has had a lifelong eating disorder (since she was a teenager) to Ana’s workshop as a gift.
I’ll be posting more on my teacher training so stay tuned….