The third and final workshop on the agenda was held on May 29 at the Gotanda studio for all of the YogaPlus teachers. To my surprise there were at least 30 in attendance that morning and when I sat down in front of the room, I broke out into a serious case of nervous perspiration! In the days leading up to the workshop, I struggled with how to present this broad topic, “How to Address Common Injuries in the Classroom.” I had previously asked some of the teachers at the studio what they would like to focus on, some said, “How to use props“, “How to do chair yoga” or “Back pain.” Finally, I decided that it would be best to ask the participants questions at the beginning of the workshop and then work out a sequence based on the most common injuries that came up. After a brief discussion, questions regarding a common assortment of injuries arose: back pain, shoulder, wrists, etc. Since most of these injuries are associated with repetitive motions from vinyasa classes, misalignment in standing poses, transitioning in and out of poses or improper set-up for inversions, I thought it would be best to teach a general sequence to address most if these issues.
The class just flowed as I wove injuries related to categories of poses into a seamless practice, stopping only to demonstrate or to reiterate a point: Surya Namaskar A & B, Standing Poses, Inversions, Forward Bends, Twists—all the years of practicing, teaching and now leading a teacher training, seemed to provide an unexpected a wealth of knowledge. I knew more than I realized—a three hour workshop quickly turned into four followed by an engaging question and answer… “How do you deal with….”What if you don’t have props“…”I have a student“…. we could have gone on at length for a considerable amount of time. In fact, I thought this could be a series organized into separate topics. I addressed the issue of class levels, modifications, sequencing, additional study outside of the classroom (anatomy, kinesiology ) and the importance of a “self-practice.” As teachers all of this relates to the niyama —svadhaya “self-study” which is the ongoing process of examining yourself, the body, and literature that helps you to find the answers. As our discussion was winding down I was starting to feel a strong emotional connection with these young teachers who have such passion towards learning—it comes through in so many ways. They embrace each person that visits them in Tokyo and just being with them makes me feel so appreciated. I love this photo of the YogaPlus teachers—it literally seems to vibrate with energy.