Tuesday, July 15, 2014

YITP Tips and Tricks for the Teacher and the Receiver

Yoga in the Park is now mid-season and we have had a wildly successful summer so far! (*does happy dance*). It truly is something lovely to look out each Sunday and see 30-40 odd people that don't look like carbon copies of a young white woman all present and ready to practice together under the sun.

There are a few things/tips to consider for both Yoga Teachers and Yoga Receivers for YITP though, so I thought I'd share a few extra insider tips here :)

Tips for Yoga Teachers:
Leading a YITP outside is an amazing and fulfilling experience. It also poses some interesting challenges.

  • Projecting your Voice: It is *much* more difficult to hear your voice, instructions and suggestions with the wind, the sounds of the ocean and a wide open space for your voice to travel. Demonstrating while you talk becomes almost impossible; no one will hear you while your facing away in downward dog. YITP also attracts a more varied yogi, several who most certainly have some level of hearing loss (like yours truly, it's not just the wisest appearing among us with evidence of experienced life that may have hearing loss!). The best strategy? Project your voice (while protecting it!), face your yogis and:
  • Have a demonstrating buddy next to you. I've done this twice, and although kinda weird (since I am far from a model asana practitioner) it does allow other yogis to see what the heck you're describing while permitting you to continue said describing. Just make sure you introduce why the demo buddy is there- otherwise it's a bit awkward (who's the keener at the front???)
  • Reference Nature: We're outside- think about changing your spatial references from "the floor" or even "the mat" to "the earth, the ocean, the sun, the sky". It's one of the beautiful parts of practicing outside, remind people of that.
  • Consider Nature: Think about the wind making balancing postures more difficult, the squishy grass making for non-solid bases in standing postures and the possibility for dog poo when arms out for supine twists. Balancing postures are often extremely challenging outside and it's nice to be reminded of the extra trickiness so as not to be too discouraged. 
  • Consider alternatives for Savasana: Laying out, face up to the sun for long minutes at the end of the practice may not be the most relaxing or comfortable (or safe!) end to a yoga practice. Maybe shorten your savasana, offer alternatives (seated meditation) and suggest that yogis cover their face. The end goal isn't laying on our backs, but integrating and absorbing our practice- however that may be.
  • Leave out all "extras" that might detract from Nature: Music and technology is a big one. I've found that blocks and straps are nice, but practicing outside is really about connecting with Nature through yoga. The more "extras" we have, the less we're truly experiencing the natural moment. 
  • Please no pictures! True consent during a yoga practice isn't given. I know it looks really cool and we just want to share, but getting consent without pressuring the yogis to give it (no matter if you ask first- are they simply going to walk away after setting up their yoga mat?) is unlikely. Instead of experiencing the practice through a lens, take a breath and practice fully observing what you're having an urge to photograph and keep that in your memory to cherish. 
Tips for the YITP Yogi Receivers:
  • Bring LOTS of sunscreen: and apply liberally. No really. You should leave YITP with a sense of peace and renewal, not a sunburn. Skin cancer is serious business- don't mess around!
  • Bring Water: Staying hydrated is so important. Reusable water bottles are better than plastic disposables, and stainless steel tend to be the best. I've found that the BEST for keeping water cold is the insulated stainless steel coffee mugs topped with ice cubes. My Klean Kanteen coffee container, although smelling slightly like coffee, really kept my water cold during an hour out in the sun. 
  • Use a YITP specific mat: (or no mat!). This is only if you happen to have two, relegate one to "YITP" for several reasons: a) it will get dirty. Which is kinda gross. If it's your YITP only mat that means you only have to wash it every so often instead of directly afterwards. Bonus! b) nicer, more ecologically friendly mats made of rubber biodegrade in the sun. You should actually keep your nice rubber Jade mat FAR AWAY from any sun exposure if you want it to last. 
  • Talk to the Teacher Before YITP Begins: even though we're not in a traditional class setting, it's important to share injuries or discomforts with the teacher. If you don't feel ok with that, the nice thing about YITP is that honestly, you can spend the entire time in child's pose and that is just fine. YITP really is about what you need- so be sure to take it!
  • Look out for dog poo: Seriously. It is everywhere. 
And above all else: enjoy sharing your practice outside, surrounded by the ocean, the sun and other lovely yogis!

Any thoughts/suggestions from your YITP experiences that I missed? Please share!

1 comment:

  1. Such great information!
    Very helpful & playfully written

    A special note to add.... It is a great way to connect with other great yogis! No need to rush off after your practice. Enjoy the experience and the company if you can :)

    Thanks for sharing


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