LIFE IN THE BENDY LANE
The One Year 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training Journal of Maria Hennings Hunt
After practising Yoga for 30 years, I’ve decided finally to train as a Yoga teacher. I started my One Year Yoga Teacher Training with Yoga London in January 2018. Here is my Yoga Journal.
Saturday 17th & Sunday 18th March
Not much yoga this weekend although there was plenty of dancing. However, I did manage a token set of Surya Namaskara A and B before dance exams Saturday morning – with script.
Friday 16th March
No yoga today. Although the meditation and breathing techniques came in very useful when my printer decided that today would be a good day to run out of ink, when I urgently needed to print off tomorrows dance exam timetables.
Thursday 15th March
Back to class today. Lovely. I have missed my beloved forward folds. My knees and hamstrings are a bit stiff from lack of use. But it make me think – funny how getting fit and flexible takes years – but getting unfit and unflexible takes about three days.
Wednesday 14th March
Made a start on learning the standing posture sequence today. At least in English as the Sanskrit still eludes me most of the time. My Padangusthasana is still mixed up with Prasarita Padottanasana which could also be Paschimottasasana or even Ardha Badda Padmottanasana – which I’m pretty sure isn’t actually in the standing sequence anyway.
Tuesday 13th March
Feeling better. Not quite better enough to down dog, but better enough to roll the mat out and watch a few online flow videos. Well, watching is better than nothing? Right?
Monday 12th March
A day spent much the same as the day before and the day before that. I am not even well enough to roll the mat out, let alone down dog on it.
Saturday 10th & Sunday 11th March
Spent the weekend in bed. If only that was exciting as it sounds. This must be what it feels like to be trampled by a herd of Wildebeests and left for dead.
Friday 9th March
Woke up in the night shivering, nasty headache, a temperature and a sore throat. At least that explains the aching joints and why I found the class so hard yesterday. Not impressed. Managed to drug myself up enough to teach classes today and then came home and went straight to bed. No yoga.
Thursday 8th March
Shirley class this morning, which I found extraordinarily tough. My shoulders and hips were aching by the end of the lesson. Went to work later and by the time I got home, I felt like I had done an extreme Boot Camp style workout and not yoga. Thought it was supposed to get easier?
Wednesday 7th March
Went to class this morning. There must be a conspiracy. This teacher also got her Warriors and her Side Angles mixed up. I’m still just breathing.
Tuesday 6th March
No proper yoga today. Apart from some Vrksasana, Prasarita Padottanasana, and Natarajasana during the warm ups in karate. Who would have thought that India and Japan would get on so well?
Monday 5th March
Go me! I did an online 35 minutes alignment sequence and then I went to class as well! The teacher annoyed me slightly when she got the names of the poses mixed up. No, I’m being kind – they were wrong. She kept calling Utthita Parsvakonasana (extended side angle pose) Warrior Two. Maybe next week if she does it again, I might say something. In the meantime, I’ll keep breathing.
Saturday & Sunday 3rd & 4th March
Snow. More snow. Even more snow. Managed a few Sun Salutations Saturday evening, which were surprisingly energising and warming. Then it snowed again. Me & my yoga mat do not like the cold weather. We are both stiff as a board.
Friday 2nd March
I haven’t done any dance or yoga classes since Tuesday. Snow Days have cost me almost a week wages. Beware any of you who are looking forward to being a self employed yoga teacher. The weather is enemy Numero Uno. Not only have I hardly earnt any money this week – these Bloody Snow Days have actually cost me £129 on the Sweaty Betty website (there’s a sale on), £89 on Amazon and then, there I was just browsing around, and next thing I know – I’ve bought a subscription to an online Yoga course…. I need to get back to work or I’ll be bankrupt by Friday week…
Thursday 1st March
Do you remember, ‘The dog ate my homework’ as an excuse for not doing it? I actually don’t have a dog, but I have lots of other reasons stored up ready to go that excuse me from my daily practice. Today’s excuse is snow. Bet you never thought of that one, eh?
Wednesday 28th February
You know what I want? What I really, really want? I want a video walk through of the Modified Primary Yoga London exam sequence, with all the exhales, inhales and transitions between the standing poses. That’s what I want.
Tuesday 27th February
I tried the standing section on my own today – and I was rubbish. Not a little bit rubbish. But a whole lot rubbish. I had to keep stopping to refer to my notes, putting my glasses on, and then I would forget they were on, so they would fall off whilst I was head down in Uttanasana, so then I have to stop again to look at my notes, put the glasses on again… and so it went on… it was enough to put me off forward folds… shocking!
Monday 26th February
I actually thought that I would be so tired by this morning, I wouldn’t even be able to do any yoga – even if I’d wanted to – which I actually thought I wouldn’t anyway – are you still with me? However, I didn’t feel tired and I did want to do yoga. So I did. Felt good.
Saturday & Sunday 24th & 25th February
Weekend Two of Teacher Training. I got up at 7am…that’s a challenge on it’s own for me. Several coffees later, I’m feeling a bit more yogi like. We did Standing Postures and teaching practice. The Universe likes to play with me. I particularly loathe reverse triangle posture – I’m now going to attempt to remember the name without the help of Google or rummaging through the flash cards… Parvitta Trikonasana…how did I do? Anyway, the point is – what do I get to teach on Saturday afternoon…..? You guessed it.
Ps. I just Googled it… my spechelling is rubbish!
Friday 23rd February
No Yoga today. However – I forgot to mention yesterday that during the relaxation & meditation at the end of the class – my resting heart rate (I have one of those Fitbit things with a HR monitor) went down to 43 beats per minute…. that’s practically dead, isn’t it?
Thursday 22nd February
A Shirley class today. She’s subtle but pushy. She says there is always more in yoga. She’s right. There was so much more today that I actually managed to get one foot into a passable Ardha Padmasana position today (Lotus) – which is a challenge for me as my knees normally protest when I try. Still, I bet there’s more. Next week I’ll try the other foot.
Wednesday 21st February
Home practice (yay!). I started with my own Sun Salutations and then unsuccessfully tried to follow an Ashtanga Modified Primary series video on Youtube. Gave up when everyone in the class gracefully folded into Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana (which is as impossible to do as it is to pronounce – believe me). Adriene to the rescue. A lovely 20 minute practice of mainly warrior and triangle based sequences. Almost as good as my beloved forward folds.
Tuesday 20th February
Luci (my 200 hour course leader) emailed today with some information on the coming weekend training – inducing slight panic, as my Sun Salutation script changes daily and I still can’t pronounce downward facing dog in Sanskrit without sound slightly Russian or even Japanese….. it’s still all Greek to me.
Monday 19th February
Actually couldn’t wait to get on the mat this morning. A small but perfectly formed class – with lots of standing balances and forward folds (my favourites!) I am now considering the possibility that because folding forwards and hanging upside down feels so natural to me – I may have been a bat in a former life.
Sunday 18th February
My day of rest. Well, apart from karate training, mountains of ironing, bed stripping and changing, emailing, cooking Sunday dinner and cleaning up cat sick.
Saturday 17th February
Feeling smug. Or chuffed. Or maybe just plain virtuous. I did a 40 minute Yoga for Self Discipline class with Adriene this morning. Let’s hope it works!
Friday 16th February
No Yoga. Although I did think about it. A lot.
Thursday 15th February
Yoga at 10:15. We lay down at the beginning of the class and were guided to ‘let go of our day so far’. I had to stop myself laughing as only got out of bed at 9:30. Still. Once we got going, it was an excellent Shirley type class – traditional and solid.
Wednesday 14th February
I went to another lunchtime class – I’m liking the timings this week so far and we did lots of opening the chest/heart type postures, which I thought was very appropriate, given that it is Valentines Day. The meditation/relaxation at the end was a guided visualisation, where I found myself on a quintessential palm fringed, white sandy beach on a warm summer day, where my yoga mat faced the ocean and I could hold a handstand for 30 minutes.
Tuesday 13th February
I fess. No Yoga today. Plenty of dancing, which was good, but then it all went downhill. Big queue at the bank and same at the post office. When I got back to my car – I couldn’t find my car park ticket, so I had to pay a full days stay. To round it all off – there was no heating in the Karate hall later, which makes for a miserable barefoot class. It was 4 degrees warmer outside.
Monday 12th February
Monday morning. Not my best time of day. Well. To be honest, I have never – all my life – and I’m 57 – liked getting up in the mornings. I have always secretly admired those people who seem to have no problem springing out of bed, bounding into the shower, effortlessly cooking a full English and taking the dog for a walk – all before 6am. Why can’t I? What’s wrong with me?
Anyway, the point of mentioning the above is to embrace the fact that today’s yoga class was at a civilised 12:30pm. Lovely class – lots of flow and standing balances. The teacher was quite slow and deliberate when she talked us in and out the poses, which I have filed away as I really liked that. Not lots of words, but clear and slow instructions. Bet she gets up at 6am….
Sunday 11th February
Only one member of the class turned up for practice this morning. The younger two opted for a lie in. So, my sister and I rolled out our mats and, with the help of Adriene, we did a very sweaty 40 minute Vinyasa flow class, which ended with a shoulder stand, scrambled eggs, smoked salmon, croissants and gallons of coffee. Lovely.
Saturday 10th February
My yoga loving sister kindly let me ‘practice’ on her this morning. So, along with my daughter and her son (both roped in reluctantly to boost the class numbers), I actually took my first ‘class’. Admittedly, was a bit squashed in the living room, but we did OK! We did a warm up, some breathing and some lying twists before launching into Sun Salutations. I had a chance to actually voice the ‘script’ that I had been running in my head over the last few days. A is coming along nicely. B needs work. Lots of it.
Friday 9th February
No Yoga. Dancing? Yes. Packing bags to go away for the weekend? Yes. Guilty thoughts? Yes.
Thursday 8th February
Braved my Shirley class this morning. I learnt today that she is a real Yoga traditionalist and she doesn’t like the way yoga has been ‘Westernised’. She even threatened to do some chanting today – which we didn’t actually do in the end though. Can’t say I was sorry! I found the class a bit slow this morning if I am honest, and although I did try and do her traditional type Sun Salutations, I had to make a conscious effort to stop myself ‘flowing’ – if you know what I mean. We did lots of Ujjayi breathing though, which I like. Also managed the splits – both legs. Hanumanasana at 57. Way to go!
Wednesday 7th February
The ongoing double tooth extraction fallout is annoying me. I can’t do any flow at all – any head down pose increases the pain to my jaw, which is still very sore. Cancelled my yoga class this morning and stayed in bed feeling sorry for myself. The yoga mat taunted me from the floor.
Tuesday 6th February
According to all the literature out there about tooth extraction – I should be resting. So I made a start on my Surya Namaskara script. I am now fairly certain that I have inhales where I should have exhales and I may even have added several extra breaths and a new pose that I have called Ardhva Thatsaridiculousasana.
Monday 5th February
My favourite Yoga mat has now got itself a permanent rolled out position at the foot of the bed. This enables me to:
A. Feel guilty every time I look at it that I have not managed my daily practice.
B. Get up at sunrise and do five rounds of Surya Namaskara A, three of B and then a full 90 minute power yoga class which is rounded off with 20 minutes of meditation. You get my drift? I mean, how long do a few Sun Salutations take? And I always feel better afterwards.
So, I opted for a loose variation on B this morning. Just as well! Later on I had two teeth taken out under local (rather a lot of it) anaesthetic. One top tooth – one bottom tooth, fortunately on the same side. I was in the dentists’ chair for almost two hours and came out looking like I had had a stroke, numb from just below the eye to the top of my (non existent) cleavage. I was told to avoid any exercise for several days – which is all very well if you don’t teach dancing for a living or indeed are trying to establish a daily Yoga practice.
Sunday 4th February
No Yoga today. Genesis 2:2. I rest my case.
Saturday 3rd February
Did a 35 minute LA type (that’s a pretty young bendy thing wearing a crop top in a mirrored, plant filled yoga studio, who can weave herself in and out of poses I can only dream about – and even that makes my eyes water) Vinyasa Flow Youtube video class today. I flipped the dog several times – not always intentionally. Then I made poor Alan watch a video of David Swenson doing Sun Salutations, which is just so beautiful, the way he moves is beyond inspiring. I vow to learn the Sanskrit names of the Sun Salutation sequences by the end of next week.
Friday 2nd February
Epic fail on the daily practice promise. I work all day teaching dance on Fridays and then I negotiate (that means lane swap) my way down the A2 out of town, run in the house, throw my dance shoes into the corner, grab a cup of coffee, change into my Gi and head off to the sports centre to teach the kids Karate. This weekend, I’d also arranged to go and stay with my partner Alan – who just happens to live a two hour drive North – so after karate, I threw my Gi in the same direction as the dance shoes, packed a bag – which included Asana Flash Cards, the Yoga London teaching manual and the Sutras book – and headed North. There was free parking on the M1 – so by the time I got to Alan’s all intentions of doing a few SS’s before bed paled into insignificance once he’d poured me a glass of wine. Still, there’s always tomorrow.
Thursday 1st February
I recently joined the advanced Yoga class at the gym. It’s taught by a lady called Shirley who I know nothing about – except that I can tell by the way she uses her words and the way she moves that she is a very experienced yoga teacher. Today though – no Shirley. Instead there was a cover teacher who introduced herself as Paula and said that she was a Vinyasa Flow teacher and was everyone familiar with Sun Salutations? Ah, Universe Provides! What a lovely class. Challenging but not impossible – give or take a few one legged balances! Far more flow than I have ever done in a Shirley class and I noticed I paid closer attention than normal when she was talking us in and out of poses and I loved the way she used the breath to enhance the practice. If we did any poses that I half knew the names for, I filed them away in my head for looking up the proper names when I got home. Well, that was the plan. When I got home, I opted for coffee and made eggs on toast, by which time I’d forgotten the names of the Sun Salutations that I thought I had remembered from yesterday. However, the good news is, I have another opportunity tonight at my own class to do more Urdhva Hastanasanas.
Wednesday 31st January
Ah. Now. Wednesday I go to a class that is a bit like a Vinyasa flow class mixed with a bit of Tai Chi and some Pilates. We did lots of standing stretches, several variations of the Warrior poses and some Eagle Poses (I guess I should be listing the Sanskrit names shouldn’t I? Might help me learn them!) We also did some Happy Baby and a very familiar posed called Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana) – which I do really like actually despite my struggling with the name! We did some three legged dog to nose poses too – I have no idea what that might be called, but I actually found that easier than normal. I’m teaching Dance Fitness again later so I’m already thinking about what I could add into the stretching routine tonight for them. Maybe a Warrior or two?
Tuesday 30th Janaury
I’ve not ever really done a regular home practice. I’ve always been rather more of a ‘do a bit when I feel like it at home’ type as I actually prefer to go to a class. So, I can hear my mind trying talking myself out of this daily thing on the basis that as I already teach Dance, Fitness and Martial Arts – I don’t ‘need’ to do daily Yoga. But I did try. I rolled out the mat and managed three A & three B Sun Salutations. That’s enough I told myself as I have two hours of Kata later tonight – and I’m still suffering from DOMS.
Monday 29th January
I have DOMS. Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. Fortunately, I suspected I might so I had already cleverly booked myself a Sports Massage for lunchtime. Bliss. Felt justified, as having been in what felt like a constant Down Dog (and buggered if I can remember the Sanskrit name for it… Ardhvo Mukvho Svanahatahsnananana or something) all weekend, I did not want to go anywhere near my yoga mat today. So I didn’t. However. At my Dance Fitness class later on – I’m the teacher – I did manage to slip in a Trikonasana as part of the cool down stretch routine.
Saturday & Sunday 27th & 28th January
9:00 Saturday morning, I embarked on my 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training with Yoga London. It’s now Sunday evening. 18 hours done.
I am so tired, I no longer know which way up I am.
Only 182 to go.