Mastery, Confidence, and Presence – Your Yoga Learning List


There is nothing like listening to someone who really knows her yogic stuff. The level of mastery, confidence, and presence elevate the transmission.

Today I dropped in on a few hours of Britt Fohrman’s nationally-acclaimed Teaching Yoga for Pregnancy, Birth, and Beyond teacher training at The Mindful Body. The two guest speakers: Liz McBride on pelvic floor dysfunction, and Rachel Yellin, on hypnobirthing and the power of language and thought.

The stunning women I heard from today — including Britt, who’s a birth doula, yoga instructor, and photographer (as well as, full disclosure, my friend and comadre of my backbender) — teach from years of direct experience: hundreds of births and hundreds of pelvises. Sitting with them, it’s clear that they draw from a deep well of wisdom and practical knowledge. Britt put together an inspiring, interdisciplinary, and fertile training week, and I wish I could be there for more of it!

It’s been a good week for learning from powerful women. On Tuesday, I went to a two-hour yoga class, as part of a series with Patricia Sullivan. It was a revolution of my spinous processes, literally. It was a joyful celebration for my neck.

Patricia’s class is yoga dharma, an embodied anatomy lesson, a graceful and simple offering, and a long exhale. She is a master teacher, with a sense of humor, humility, and clarity. I felt this in the way she weaves together simple asana with depth and subtlety. There’s a whole world to explore in the smallest movement, and so many iterations of that movement contained within other movements.

Ah, as you may have noticed from this blog, I always seem to have a long yogic “learning list.” There’s so much to study: any yoga limb one might pursue in all directions from anatomy to philosophy. I could spend more than one lifetime learning the names and nature of the bones or how to teach mindfulness in a medical setting or differences between the Sanskrit and Pali terms or one hundred and eight ways to find Trikonasana or the thirty-two parts of the Buddhist body.

This summer I’m going to take a break from the learning list and simply be in the content of my own teaching and practice, in order to integrate what I’ve been soaking up these past few years. So after this week — well, okay, except for assisting Judith Lasater‘s Relax & Renew teacher training again — I’ll be sitting with it for a little while.

What’s on your learning list? Who are the teachers who inspire you?

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