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Week 5, March 27, Therapeutic yoga for ourselves, and Sara Strother’s version of Durga – What did you learn?


Next adjustment clinic:

  • April 17

Geri will host a practice class for anyone available on:

  • Monday, April 1, 1:45-3:00 pm
  • Thursday, April 11, 1:45 – 3:00 pm
  • Monday, April 15, 1:45-3:00 pm

The class format is open to whatever folks want to do, i.e, group practice, or someone can teach, we could alternate teachers and have a few teach one class, etc.  What’s your preference?

Class was smaller this week – spring break.  We started with a guided pranayama, inhaling with a hold at the top for several breath cycles; followed by exhaling with a hold at the bottom for several breath cycles, followed by a hold at the top and bottom of the breath cycle several times.  This simple breathing exercise was helpful to me because I’m always looking for simple ways to add variety to breathing exercises.  First we had a discussion about how to keep ourselves healthy and what to do when we do have an injury.  Discussion highlights:

  • If you have not watched The Fuzz Speech, take a minute and watch – you’ll learn so much.
  • Regular body work, massage, chiropractic, etc. can help us stay healthy and prevent injury don’t wait until you have an injury to get body work.  Maybe you can do a barter or trade body work for a yoga class.
  •  If you do get an injury, be sure to rest the injury.  Pushing through it can prolong healing and create a chronic situation.
  • Geri talked about the importance of treating the injury with ice as soon as possible.
  • When we’re doing adjustments – think about being ambidextrous – or not doing the adjustment the same way each time to prevent repetitive injuries.
  • Physical therapy (Geri likes band work) can be very helpful – it takes discipline.
  • Yoga therapeutics can help, but sometimes we need to treat the injury outside of yoga.
  • Some discussed injuries they were dealing with, or injuries their students were dealing with.

Sara Strother


Guest speaker, Sara Strother, joined the group to tell a story about the Hindu goddess Mahadevi – who later acquired the name Durga.  You may recognize Durga as the female warrior with 10 arms often shown riding a lion or tiger.  She carries a different weapon in each of her 10 hands used for slaying demons.  Her name means “the inaccessible” or “the invincible.”

  • The goddess Mahadevi – takes on so many different forms all of which reflect her husband.
  • Her name changes based on her situation and interpretation and can get confusing.
  • Sara chose Durga as a way to focus on her fierce persona to exemplify the voice of the teacher and being in the seat of power.
  • Durga’s possesses the ability to change forms which is a characteristic we need as yoga teachers as we move from studio to studio, class to class and have to change as the needs of the students change.
  • Durga is yellow, rides a tiger from the Himalaya’s.
  • She’s born to kill (yikes), born of fire
  • She is associated with slaying the buffalo demon whose flaw is that the only person who could ever slay him is a woman.
  • The gods give Durga something to go in each hand for fighting the demons.
  • Reading the story is like watching an epic action movie – pages and pages of battles and conflicts, 100 million chariots, 120 billion of elephants, etc.
  • Durga turns the battle with a mighty roar that kills the majority of the soldiers.
  • I got a little confused with the names at this point, but I think Sara said – Devi and Durga are fighting the final battle – Durga spits an arrow into his breast and finally kills him.  From this victory she acquires his name –
  • Why is this relevant to yoga teachers – the demon is always going to test your skills – even just dealing with changes in your yoga schedule, or personal demons, am I good enough to be teaching this class? – we need to see things as they change and skillfully step into different situations.
  • Through her skill or action, Durga found her name – How do we find our name as a yoga teacher through our skill/action?  How do we want to be known as yoga teachers – how do we put ourselves out to our students?
  • Durga has multiple weapons – as members of this class, we can use each other as our weapons, we can support each other and use each other for support for tools when we need help.



Week 4, March 20 – Adjustments Clinic – What did you learn?

Cindy in down down adjustment

Highlights of Geri’s lecture before the adjustment clinic.

  • Train your eye to know what needs to be adjusted.
  • Use verbal cues first and if that does not work, consider physical adjustments.
  • Know what you’re going to do before you start.
  • Understand the flow of energy in the pose.
  • Begin with the foundation – start with the ground up and help give stability to the pose.
  • It takes skill to go into and out of an adjustment.
  • Adjustments should give clarity.
  • Adjust with kindness, compassion, professionalism, confidence and authority.
  • If the pose is too out of alignment, consider asking the student to back out and then move back in slowly with adjustments.
  • Try to give everyone an adjustment, at the very least adjust in savasana.

Videos of adjustment clinic:

Love this photo - it serendipitously shows the three successive stages of the adjustment.

Love this photo – it serendipitously shows the three successive stages of the adjustment.

Week 3, March 13, What did you learn?

Colleagues, I missed class this week; can anyone share what we covered or what you learned?  I heard you had some group discussions – what did you learn from your group?

Week 2, March 6, 2013 – What did you learn?

171This week we spent the first 10 minutes or so socializing, getting to know each other – the building blocks of becoming part of a community.  We started class with a short, peaceful meditation that was comically ended by Geri’s iPhone sound of wound up spring releasing “boing  boing.”  More wonderful folks this week and more introductions.  After introductions, Geri suggested we play the name game which was greeted with some protesting – but Geri stayed the course and we played the game.  She was right – it was a good exercise.  I think we all came away with a few more names committed to memory – the building blocks of becoming part of a community.

Our theme this week was how to strike a balance between our yoga teaching, our yoga practice and how both fit into our busy schedules.  Geri circulated a paper with a blank weekly calendar on each side.  She asked us to fill in one side with our yoga teaching and yoga practice schedule.  We had a brief discussion about the challenge of fitting in our own yoga practice, particularly our home or personal practice.   Some purists (not in the class) maintain that in order to be a true yoga teacher, you must commit to a steady personal practice.  We discussed how hard it is to carve out a space and time, especially for those with children at home.  For those in smaller living quarters, space is an issue.  My own home practice is done in a space in my bedroom just a little wider than my yoga mat – but I make it work.  Some shared that the concept of their home practice is shifting away from asana to pranayama and meditation.  Some found that they could do their personal practice by going to class early and doing it at the studio or staying after class.  I think that’s a great idea and will try it thanks.  One person talked about how her personal yoga practice turns into lesson planning.  I could identify with that –  I’ve started keeping a pad of paper and pen next to my mat when I do mine because I inevitably do my lesson planning.  It’s hard to turn off the voice of the teacher.

Next, Geri asked us to fill in the flip side of the calendar with our dream schedule.  We broke into small groups and discussed it within our group.  My group had a great discussion.  Laura talked about wanting to weed out her fitness classes and do more yoga classes.  Cindy said she had her dream schedule with the volunteer work she does through her church.  Dorie gave us some great advice, she felt it was critical to diversify – in other words, keep a health mix of some privates, studio classes, corporates, etc.  Dorie also talked about the challenge of ending arrangements with private students when the effort overrides the  benefits.   She talked about charging a travel fee along with an hourly rate for corporates and emphasized that we should not be afraid to charge what our services are worth.

Hey classmates – can you share some of the gems from your small group discussions?


Geri’s “favorites” list


Here’s a list of Geri’s favorites: including videos, magazines, articles, quotes and books.

Geri’s email, March 5, 2013 (Class syllabus and survey)

hello devis!

i am so looking forward to seeing you all tomorrow.

a few things:

if you have not completed the survey please do it tonight. if you have not received it yet let me know. its really interesting to see the results, which i will share as it will really refine our schedule and direction for the next few months.

Tutorial / trade/ offering idea
You are each talented women with a lot to offer. If you have a topic or trade that you want to let the group know of and perhaps present – various topics that come to mind are
Making playlists
Personal organizing
Budgeting/ savings plan etc
Social media
Reiki/any other healing modality
Teaching an asana or teaching related
Diet nutrition cooking juicing
A dharma talk
Prenatal yoga
kid yoga/ teen/tween
Fitness- workout training
Public relations consulting

You may have a topic that is not listed or not any topic as this is not in any way a mandatory thing and there are so many things to cover so I don’t even know of there would be time but it’s good to know what each others’ specialty/ expertise are.

i have received a few ideas from some of you that i want to share with everyone-

creating a calander/document with all of our schedules so we can get to each other’s classes have a structure so we make certain we cover all the topics as its easy to get off track- so much to discuss be really aware if you are taking up too much of the conversation and not allowing others to speak.
perhaps breaking into smaller groups will really help this natural/common occurrence.

i do not want these emails to be so long, but there is a lot of information i want to get out to you all.
i hope the snow is enjoyable to you today rather than a stress/hassle. it’s so pretty right now.

xo geri

Week 1, February 27, 2013 – What did you learn?

When my son was much younger we used to play cards together. Whenever he had lots of different cards in is hands, he’d always say with excitement, “my hand is full of possibilities.” That’s how I felt about our first class, full of possibilities. I feel like I’ve been dealt a good hand.

I learned that all of us are participating in this class for similar reasons – for a sense of community, to connect with other yoga teachers, and to learn how to become better yoga teachers.  I was recently reading John O’Donohue’s Eternal Echoes which describes our need to belong as a divine restlessness and that when we are born into this human form, we are separated from our eternal source.  O’Donohue says we seek human connections because we are really seeking to get back in touch with our eternal or original source.  A great book if you’re interested (but not a cover-to-cover read).

I like Geri’s idea about how she will structure the class with some social time to start, a few minutes of meditation to set the tone, and then a different discussion each week tailored specifically to our needs.

Also enjoyed The Five Habit of Highly Effective Yoga Teachers. Please share your thoughts.

March 2013 yogaview and much more 09320130228-220503.jpg