November 2010

Mentoring: The Iyengar Way of Teacher Training

The Iyengar method has the most rigorous process of yoga teacher certification offered in this country. The certification demonstrates a commitment to maintaining the purity, excellence, ethics and high standards of Iyengar Yoga.

The Iyengar method of teacher-training is similar to traditional methods of learning a craft. It is a different arrangement than most 200-hour or 500-hour teacher-training programs that may last only a few months.

In Iyengar Yoga, the teacher-in-training is mentored in a one-on-one relationship with an experienced senior teacher. This mentoring teacher spends time working with the trainee on the practice of asana, providing support for teaching questions that arise, assigning reading and homework. It is a special relationship that develops over the course of many years.

Iyengar-certified teacher Lou Hoyt of Eastern Sun Yoga is the mentor to both Becca and Leah. Leah has studied under Lou’s supervision for 10 years; Becca for 8. In addition, Becca has been studying with Senior Iyengar Teacher Karin O’Bannon.

It is because of Lou’s commitment, careful guidance and leadership that we may undertake the process of Iyengar assessment.

Corpse pose…really?

At the end of each yoga class, we practice a pose called “savasana.”  I usually tell beginning students it is “final relaxation.”  But, technically the Sanskrit word translates directly as “corpse pose.”

I heard myself calling it “final relaxation” the other day, and then I thought about it…asking myself why I don’t just call it “corpse pose.”

I guess I’ve been afraid that the word “corpse” or the implication of dying would be off-putting to some people.  I would never want to say anything right before relaxation that might cause someone to tense up or to have fear.

When practicing yoga at a studio in London, the teacher told us to relax on the floor with our arms outstretched “in the shape of Jesus Christ being crucified on the cross.”  Yikes!  The image of execution by crucifixion did not exactly elicit the relaxation response for me.

Still, I got a good laugh out of it.  It is funny how one man’s corpse pose is another man’s (or woman’s) final relaxation.

I stumbled across an article that spells out why this particular pose is so potent, and why it is not as easy as it looks.

Check it out here.