Teaching Carmen Yoga

Last night, I introduced my 12-year-old niece, Carmen to yoga. I had been telling her about my recent experience with yoga teacher training at CorePower Yoga. She got super interested and wanting me to lead her in a yoga class so she can see what I’ve been up to over the last seven weeks.

Carmen is a super athlete. She plays soccer, basketball, runs track and snow skis. The kid is active and a perfect candidate for yoga. I was excited to introduce her to yoga and she was really excited to try it. I could tell Carmen had the attitude that yoga was easy. She’s naturally talented at all of the sports she does so why wouldn’t she think any differently about yoga?

I rolled out a mat for her and brought out my flashcards. I started off by having Carmen stand in the middle of her mat, bringing her hands to heart center. Since this was her first time doing yoga, I had to cue everything thing along the way, including defining what hands at heart center was. The extra cues caused me to slow down and really think about how I wanted to cue each posture.

I started out reading off the breath (inhale/exhale), the name of the posture and three basic cues. I quickly found that giving her three cues wasn’t enough. Two postures into the sequence, starting at Forward Fold, my husband stood up and started to demonstrate each of the postures for her as I read off the cues. Together, we created a private yoga class just for Carmen. In a normal yoga class, there would be people for her to watch. She could look around the room to see how people would get in and out of each posture. Since we were practicing at home, there was no one for her to watch, except us. I gave directional and verbal cues while my husband gave demonstration cues. It was cool and a complete group effort.

We hadn’t even gotten through the first Sun A Salutation before Carmen started saying how hard yoga was. I think her exact quote was, “How do people do this for fun?” Even though she’s an accomplished athlete at her young age, Carmen had a hard time bending down to reach the mat in front of her. In every posture that called for some sort of leg extension (Forward Fold, Half Way Lift, Standing Forehead to Knee, Forward Fold, etc), she had to opt to put a slight bend in her knees. I had to make sure to include this cue in each of those postures.

By the time we got to the water break, Carmen was pooped and sweating, but she insisted on continuing with the class. I kept using my flashcards to cue each posture until we reached the Triangle series. At the beginning of Triangle series, I set aside my flashcards and got up to demonstrate and cue the postures along side Carmen. At this point of the class, my husband had gotten tired and started falling asleep on the floor. We made it through Core, but not without hearing Carmen verbally whining about how tired and sweaty she was. I couldn’t help but laugh. This was so good for her!

During my demonstration of Hot Triangle and Toestand, Carmen’s legs were shaky and kept falling out of the postures. My husband started laughing and made a comment about how awesome it was that a 12-year old was getting her butt kicked by a soon-to-be 40-year old. Butt kicking aside, I felt super strong demonstrating each of the postures for Carmen. I could see how much my own yoga practice had improved over the last seven weeks. That will happen when you have a 60 yoga class requirement to meet within eight weeks.

Eventually, both Carmen and I made it to Savasana. There were a couple of parts of the class where I forgot a posture or two and had to circle back around to them. My husband could tell I forgot a couple of the postures because he’s been taking Hot Power Fusion classes with me, but Carmen had no idea. The whole thing was new to her and even though she struggled through it, she said she had a blast. After our home class, we all went to bed and had a very good night’s sleep.

I still need a lot more practice teaching before I even come close to feeling comfortable about teaching a Hot Power Fusion class. I also need to run through my flashcards a bit more until I’m comfortable with having the entire sequence engrained in my brain. When I think back to the first time we went through a round of Round Robin practice teaching during Week Two of teacher training, I couldn’t help but think about how far I’ve come. I’m really, really excited to continue my yoga teacher training in the Extensions Program at CorePower Yoga starting on May 11th. Until then, I plan on practicing at home, a lot!

Makeup Om Work – 3/20 (The only Group Session I missed during YTT)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *