Yoga Teacher Training – Weekend #2

I felt good going into the second weekend of my In-Depth Yoga Studies & Teacher Training program with Shanon Buffington because I felt like I knew what to expect and because I had met a lot of the students during the first weekend and through Facebook (good ol’ Facebook!).

Friday night was a review of our homework and lecture on forward bends and related anatomy.  I was feeling confident about my homework because I was sure that I got all of the answers correct…  Well, I was wrong.  I had most of the answers right, but on a few, I was way off.  I found myself feeling “below average” for my inability to get all of the answers correct.  I was able to brush off that feeling, so I just dismissed it as a non-issue.

Saturday was a very hands-on lecture:  As we learned the anatomical aspect of each forward bend asanas, we got up and tried these poses.  One of the first asanas that Shanon used “models” for, was Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Dog).  She asked one of the students to demonstrate it, and the rest of the class observed her proper alignment (basically, the proper way to do the asana).  Shanon then asked me to demonstrate my Adho Mukha Svanasana.  I was more than happy to demonstrate it, since I have been practicing yoga for 16 years.  To my surprise (and a blow to my ego) however, she pointed out to the class how my “shoulders were crunching into my neck”.  She then provided me with verbal instructions on how to make adjustments to make the pose correct.  I was shocked at how much more challenging this “simple” pose was once I was doing it properly!  Although I was glad to know the proper way of doing this pose, I started questioning my yoga practice and abilities.  Again, I decided to push this out of my mind.

Saturday ended with an asana practice focusing on forward bends.  Being that Shanon and informed us of the effects of forward bends (it brings the energy down, which means if you’re super hyper/energetic/busy mind/etc, this will be a good practice for you; however, if you have a tendency to be down or struggle with depression, this is NOT a favorable practice), I made sure I listened to her cues for breathing techniques that we should do if we don’t want our energy coming down even more (I was feeling a bit emotional and down that day).  I didn’t feel any dramatic effects of the practice that evening.

We finished the weekend on Sunday with another practice after the lecture/demonstration session.  As I packed up to leave, I slipped out of the studio quickly and quietly because I was feeling a bit introverted.

The next few days after that, I continued to observe my mood, energy and behavior…

After a Vinyasa class on Tuesday evening (where we did some forward bending asanas and ended with an inversion), I awoke on Wednesday feeling DEPRESSED!  I didn’t want to get out of bed, and I had very little energy to stay awake for more than an hour at a time.  Everything overwhelmed me and I felt like I couldn’t face the world!

Wow…  Never underestimate the powerful effect of yoga!

(P.S. – After a couple of days, my energy and mood was back to normal.)

PiYo Instructor Certification Workshop – 3/10/13

I had intended on posting about my experience at the PiYo Instructor Certification workshop the day after the event, but due to some writing assignments that I received, I’m finally getting to writing about it:

I showed up at the workshop at Dancer Strong in Mckinney at 8:45 AM, so I had 15 minutes to sign in, set up my mat, and meet some of the other participants.  It seemed like a lot of them knew each other from the dance studio because they were already engaged in private conversations.  Anyway, the workshop started exactly at 9 AM, and the Trainer, Melissa, went over the agenda for the day.

We went over anatomy rather quickly (about 15 minutes), but in all fairness, Melissa did recommend that the participants get certified in group fitness through ACE or AFAA which covers the musculoskeletal system more in depth.  We spent the morning discussing the PiYo format and its background and what to expect during the practical exam (including demonstration and practice).  We took a 15-minute break before starting the PiYo Masterclass.  Did I mention that I have NEVER taken a PiYo class before?

The PiYo Masterclass was… O M G!  I would like to think that I’m in pretty good shape, but man, I’m surprised that I survived it!  Once the Masterclass was over, we had a 30-minute lunch break.  We went through the legal stuff (when it is acceptable to use the PiYo name, how to stay in compliance, etc.) and then dove right into PiYo form & technique and teaching skills (verbal cues, music, teaching styles, etc.).  We got into small groups and was assigned a combination to work on cueing (half of us were already fitness instructors, so we were placed in groups with at least one person who was not currently teaching).  The combinations are written on the choreography notes that comes with the DVD (part of the goodie bag that everyone gets at sign-in), but our group got confused with the symbols (no legend included).  Once we got it figured out, it went smoothly.  We chose the non-instructor team member to demonstrate it in front of the class because the rest (3) of us in the group were already instructors (We spent the whole time coaching her through cueing), and she did fantastic!

We took another 15-minute break before the Practical Exam began (FYI – THEY DID AWAY WITH THE WRITTEN EXAM!)… Oh, and prior to the break, Melissa went over the different rankings that we can get on our Certificate of Completion:
GOLD: The Gold ranking is assigned to people who demonstrate “exemplary” form/technique and musicality for 90-100% of the time in the non-modified/advanced poses.  GOLD ranking is coveted and is assigned to 10% or less.

PASS: Most of the participants will receive this ranking.  Their form and technique are satisfactory and/or the poses were not demonstrated in the advanced level.  Instructors with this ranking can retest in the future for the Gold ranking.

IN TRAINING:  This ranking is assigned to people that need more work on their form and technique.  Instructors with this ranking can retest in the future for a higher ranking.

So here’s how the exam went:

We were placed in the studio in alphabetical order, and we went over all of the combinations that we were going to be tested on.  Melissa then went from one person to the next, testing everyone individually.  After testing me on the first combination (there were four), she asked me if I was already an instructor or practice yoga… When I replied that I’m currently going through a 200-Hr Yoga Teacher Training and that I’m an AFAA and Zumba-certified instructor, she said, “I can tell.”

After the last combination testing, she said to me (in front of others), “I never do this, but I want to show you your test scores.  You got Gold in all but two categories, but that’s because of your injured shoulder.”  (I had pulled a muscle in my shoulder during the group practice, so I had been icing it the whole time until testing).

I wasn’t sure if that meant that I would be assigned the “Gold” ranking or if I would get the “Pass” ranking so I approached Melissa afterwards to ask her… She confirmed that I got the “Gold” Ranking!  Woohoo!!!