I debated what to call this post. For you see it has been so long since I have written because I have been in the “certification process” of Anusara Yoga and in the “process” have had little time to write as all my creative time ( what little I have) has been poured into making the video perfect class. So you can see there will a trade off for writing my blog and there will be no brilliant class this week but no worries..I am taking the month of August off teaching to recharge.
Everyone who is not in the certification process keeps asking me about it so I thought I would share my thoughts on it. First of all- it is not called a process randomly. The idea of processing has a faint hint of the idea of time in it and that definitely is true about certification. It takes time….lots of it. My nature is one of a pitta when it comes to time things…I think I have a personal mantra of ” get it done…NOW!” But then again I am a busy person with a busy husband and two busy children and another busy job besides yoga. It is not because I do not enjoy slow- in fact I kinda love slow but it seems to be such a rare element in my life. Christina Sell told me she got me to organize things for her once because she said that if you want something done give it to a busy person. Yup – that is moi.
But in the certification process you can not be “busy”- it is like making cider versus wine…I think. You see, I once accidentally made cider by leaving apple juice in a warm fridge in a motorhome that jiggled it for two days. Voila- cider. Wine can take years…I want my teaching to be like wine- full bodied, fruity, slight acidity, complex bouquet and just a little intoxicating. Cider is great but it isn’t wine… Anything really worth while takes time- it should take time. At first I freaked out when the feedback I got showed all my little flaws that needed attention and the mala of heart came in but I now look back at where I started and how I teach now and I ask myself, ” Have you improved?” and I have. I have improved a lot…and I am still improving. But it takes time to take feedback, implement it and really feel it become natural to your teaching.
Now the feedback part- get ready for some things that may seem contrary to how your other teachers have taught you. This really can drive you crazy if you fight it ….”but this teacher said THIS and now you say THAT…” It is not that your mentor or board member is trying to drive you off the deep end but what they may look for in your teaching may not be what previous teachers taught. You might be more of a flow style teacher and they may have you teach all the poses from standing, you may be a real technical teacher and they will tell you to give the students more space and just move the shakti. Your brilliantly original classes that rock your students daily may receive feedback to simplify and go back to “inner body bright” rather than “the nuclear power of spirit rising through you like 4th of July fireworks” ..ok that was total nonsense but you get my drift. What they want to see in the video is the METHOD of Anusara.
The most brilliant advice I got from another certified teacher was just to do exactly what your mentor asks and then exactly as your board mentor asks- even if they are totally contradictory. It may seem contradictory but each teacher is looking for something in you that they base on what they think is valuable for an Anusara teacher- they are not trying to torment you. In the big picture having teachers ask you for something you may find almost counter-intuitive will only broaden your teaching skills and may bring something to your teaching that you had never even though about. It’s all good.
Written exam first or video first- that is another question I get a lot. That is like the chicken and the egg. I did my written test first and am now working on the video and I have friends who did it the other way around and loved that. I think it is totally personal. One friend commented that they would have written different answers had they done the test after the video but I still feel good about the order I did it in.
Now here is the stuff you need to know that other people may neglect to tell you.
You need your own video camera or total access to one..and a tripod. You will have to play with your camera a bit to figure out how to tape and then how to download videos from the camera to your computer and how to make multiple copies. This may sound easy- it can be difficult and time consuming. Also if you buy a Sony handycam it does not work with Apple..ya helllooooo…that was a cruel surprise. Thank God we have a PC laptop so I didn’t have to buy a new camera when the old PC quit and we replaced it with an Mac.
Start taping your classes now! Get a feel for how your class looks on camera and where to place the students. You also need to see where to place yourself for centering and demos. If the teacher viewing it cannot see it well they they cannot give you clear feedback. Starting to tape before the process can clear away the technical so you can focus on just the teaching. If you teach at a few locations tape them all- one may have better lighting and layout for taping and then you can compare them.
Teach the same class all week and tape the ones later in the week if you don’t want to tape them all. I found I worked some bugs out in the earlier classes and wound up with a better class at the end of the teaching week that was more suitable to tape. You can tape all your classes and then just go back and watch the ones you think you really knocked it out of the park on. There are some classes you tape that you know will not meet the criteria and it is up to you but I usually delete these ones right away as the time to review a class can take 2-3 hours.
When you review your classes get out the criteria sheets for self evaluation and teacher evaluation from the Anusara website. Look for the things that the evaluators are looking for. If you miss more then one then it may not be “send in” material but check with your teacher about what they want to look at. Remember that could be 2-5 hours of their time to review your video.
Well that is about it. I could say more but really- you just have to go through it yourself. You will have your own experience of the path to share with others- hopefully some of this may help you in your journey. Enjoy the process….