I have always been fascinated with the “under layer”. This fascination later became central to my approach to helping students understand the complex movement patterns and poses found within the Hatha Yoga repertoire.
As a child, a favorite activity of mine was to design images on the light bright: a black screen covered with small round holes. By placing different colored pegs in the holes, you had limitless options. The finale was your own original design lit up before your eyes like a Fourth of July fireworks celebration! For example, you could design an intricate flower with the pegs, but each flower was unique depending upon the colors you selected and how you arranged the pegs. I loved playing with the component parts of the whole flower by coloring in the squares on graph paper with magic markers. I would deconstruct and reconstruct my ideas using a different medium. It was a jigsaw puzzle with endless variations and incarnations.
This deconstructionist method completely mirrors my approach to teaching. When I first began to practice Yoga, I simply wanted to be able to execute the poses. As I practiced, some of the poses and movements were natural and organic, while others were frustrating and impossible to embody. What I didn’t realize, however, was that the gifts of deeper understanding, knowledge, and growth were wrapped up in these complicated and challenging asanas. It was in that realm of frustration that I was forced to confront my “body blind spots” and become curious about the bits and pieces of more complex movement patterns. I began to discover that the poses were like a short story; but before I could read it, I had to understand how to pronounce the vowels and consonants. I then would need to learn how to link those letters into words. The words would then much later puzzle piece their way into coherent sentences that could further down the road emerge as the short story.
Once again, the deconstruction pattern became a framework for embodied knowledge and a method by which I could translate this kinesthetic practice to my students in my new career as movement educator. I became infatuated with muscles names, bony landmarks, and directions of movement, just as I was enamored with color and design as a child. I began to thoroughly pursue a three dimensional embodied sense of the component parts of the poses. This was facilitated during the Level 1 Yoga Tune Up® teacher training with Jill Miller, and solidified further with my continued studies of other somatic disciplines.
On Friday I’ll give you an example of how I deconstruct a pose for my Yoga Tune Up® class!
Learn more about our Yoga Tune Up Teacher Training.