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Day Nine, Lizzie’s Yoga Challenge: Vinyasa Yoga with Leone Roberts

Having no internet at home has been a blessing in disguise. It has been down since last Wednesday, and have been more productive at home than I have been in years! As far as the yoga challenge goes, it means a bit of a back log, and learning to live with a condition I hate, the feeling of falling behind. With the bad comes the good, however, and the flip side is that I can spend a little time reflecting on the practice rather than typing something up straight away, before I know how the practice has made me feel had what it has led me to think about in the time after the class.

I have attempted to write about Friday evening’s practice at the Life Centre Notting Hill with Leone Roberts several times, and to be honest I am having a bit of difficulty knowing how to report on it. The truth is, there was not a great deal of clarity to the class, and because of this, it was a very mediocre class experience for me. In all fairness, Leone was subbing the class, and this may have accounted for her not taking a better control of the class structure and environment, but when subbing the class there are certain steps a teacher can take to neutralize and create a good foundation for the class. For example, I find it reassuring when a substitute teacher takes the time to introduce him or her self and to ask if anyone is new to the practice or has injuries, particularly when it is a ‘level 1/2 class’, as this class was billed. When people come in late and mats are not well organized, if the teacher is going to take the time to say something about it, clarity is helpful in establishing a plan. In this case, Leone said something to the effect of ‘I think we may want to sort out the mats a bit’, which left everyone looking around at each other as there was no suggested method for better organizing the room.

The sequence of postures included a mix of standing and seated poses with a few low backbends, and a lot of downward dog. Leone did quite a bit of demonstrating, and times was turned towards the wall which made it difficult to see and hear her. Other times there was a demonstration without words to explain the posture and because of her placement, it was very challenging to see what she was doing. The class was level 1/2, but despite this several times she called for students to get into postures rather than explaining how to get into the pose. In most cases the pose was held for several breaths, and often the instruction given was to hold three or four additional breaths, which felt a little vague as an instruction. During the class, Leone walked around the room adjusting students or demonstrating the pose herself, and in general, the room was quiet, which can wonderful when a practitioner knows what to do in a posture and is enjoying exploring being in the body. For beginners, however, it can be confusing when there is not a lot of instruction given, and leads them to looking around the room to see what others are doing. Overall, the sequence was balanced and appropriate for a level 1/2 class with plenty of options in each posture, but after the class I did not leave feeling energized or inspired.

As always, these insights or opinions are from my perspective and are not meant to offend, be taken personally, or to assume that I would teach the class any better or worse. Differently, perhaps. And therein lies one of the most challenging parts of The Challenge; to be honest, kind and objective. I do the best I can to document honestly from my limited perch in the world, and continue to learn.

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