on the #yoga mat: why I’m excited to study with Alexandria Crow (video style!)

Hey #CLE yogis: You may remember my recent interview with yoga teacher Alexandria Crow. Well, Alex turned the tables on me recently and asked me some questions, mostly about why I’m excited to study with her at her workshops this weekend at Evolution Yoga School and Practice Space. So in old school, circa PIP early 2012 vlogging days, here’s my video reply to her questions…

Usually I get asked the questions but I flipped the tables on Poise in Parma’s Alicia Hansen and asked her what she’s looking forward to when I’m there January 22-24 at Evolution Yoga School & Practice Space teaching a workshop series. Check out what Alicia is excited about! Link below to sign up if you #cleyoga enthusiasts want to come down too.http://www.evoyoga.com/page/workshops#modal-iframe

Posted by Alexandria Crow on Friday, January 15, 2016

 

The invitation to join Alexandria at Evolution Yoga School & Practice Space this weekend, January 22-24, is still on the table, friends! Click over to the Evolution MINDBODY site to learn more about the workshops she’ll be teaching. Use the promo code POISEINPARMA (yes, all caps, all one big word) to save $5 off individual workshops or $5 off the full weekend.

Remember: you can learn more about Alexandria at yogaphysics.com, and give her a follow at FacebookInstagram and Twitter.  Many thanks again to Alexandria. See you all at the yoga studio this weekend for some Yoga Physics fun!

Disclosure: I am a member of the teaching staff at Evolution Yoga School and Practice Space. My thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

Connect with me on FacebookTwitterInstagram and Pinterest.

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on the #yoga mat: an interview with Alexandria Crow

In my last post, I mentioned wanting to “be better” as a yoga teacher. I credit much of my growth in the past three and a half  years of teaching to continuing my education. The studio where I teach — Evolution Yoga School & Practice Space in Cleveland’s East side — is known for regularly bringing in world renowned teachers to provide us Northeast Ohio yogis with more opportunities to learn and grow. And as a vinyasa teacher interested in blending yoga philosophy with alignment and anatomy, I am incredibly excited about the next teacher that the studio is hosting later this month, Alexandria Crow.

You can get to know Alexandria a bit better over at her the about page on her Yoga Physics website. Speaking of, isn’t that beautiful? The idea of combining Yoga and Physics, the latter being defined as “concerned with the nature and properties of matter and energy.” Thanks Google.

I had to opportunity to interview Alex before her visit to Evolution, asking her some questions inspired by the four workshops she’ll be teaching January 22-24. She kindly answered them with incredible consideration, humor and awareness…

alex crow cleveland

On behalf of the Northeastern Ohio yoga community, Evolution Yoga is incredibly excited to host you in Cleveland this month. As you travel around the world sharing the practice and teachings of yoga, what are you noticing in your students — for the better or worse? 

I’m thrilled to be able to teach at Evolution in Cleveland. I’ve been looking forward to freezing there….wait, I mean teaching there!  Hahaha…

For better, there is a desire to learn at a much deeper level than existed in the broad audience a few years ago.  Students and teachers seem to want to understand things at a much deeper and more intricate level than before and they seem to be getting more receptive to moving more slowly and with precision which I love.

For worse, there are a lot of injuries out there. A lot of them are happening in yoga class but aren’t being attributed to people’s practice. So often the practice – that is meant to heal – is actually hurting, but students don’t speak up and teachers don’t talk about it enough.

One of the workshops you’ll be teaching is called Practice Makes Progress. With much emphasis on advanced postures (especially as images of yogis are shared on social media), how do we still find and share enjoyment in the more foundational aspects of our asana practices?

I just answered this same question for Yoga Journal.  Funnily, I don’t love fancy poses. I don’t do many of them myself anymore and I teach students that learning a handstand will not really bring you to enlightenment.  The workshop is about making progress. Sure, we look at fancy poses as a tool, but what I look to teach people is that everyone is very unique. There is no pose that much be done in one way for everyone nor are all poses for everyone.  Progress is about identifying what holds you personally back and working through it. Tf what holds you back is that your skeleton won’t allow you to wisely do a certain pose, then progress is throwing that pose out and not worrying about learning it anymore. I love the simple poses. They’re elegant and far more useful for every level of student than he very visually pleasing fancy ones.

Say a student was going to purchase one prop for their practice, which prop would you recommend and why? 

A wood or cork block and a blanket….sorry, I can pick just one, although a single solid block will do in a pinch!  There are so many postures that require the floor to be elevated up to a certain joint or body part, and there are so many actions students can learn from using a block that would otherwise be impossible.  The only prop I use daily is a cork Manduka block and if you come to the workshops I’ll show you how I use it!

alexandria crow collage 1

There is plenty of advice out there for brand new teachers. What would you say to a teacher who is about one to two years out from their original TT program and is ready to take the next step in their path as a yoga teacher?

Oh Lordy, one to two years out of training I still knew nothing!  Even today, the only thing I’ve learned is that I still know nothing in the grand scheme of things and that fact keeps me interested and pushes me to challenge myself to broaden my understanding of things daily through my practice.

What I will say is at that stage, teachers are usually ready to start to break the rules wisely and safely a little bit when it comes to formatting a class.  Sequencing with wisdom based on sound bio-mechanical principles is a great place to start to explore, become a little creative and to make your teaching a more personal expression of you!

Personally as a teacher grounded in and training in a lineage deeply rooted to tradition, I have noticed a trend towards teachers and studios “Westernizing” their classes. Do you have any tips for those of us trying to find the balance point in sharing the timeless philosophy of yoga in a modern way?

That’s all I’m ever trying to do as well!  I am far more interested in the philosophical and energetic principles of yoga and how that pertains to the mind. To me, it’s more like psychotherapy than it is religion or exercise.  There’s nothing about the tradition to fear. It’s not something that requires you to give up your religious beliefs or traditions.  It’s something you use to learn about your mental and behavioral patterns as those interact with the world and with yourself. Yoga can be taught in a way that’s not devoid of the tradition, but can also be something that retains enough of the lineages’ practices and rituals so that it isn’t simply calisthenics.  Teach people to pay attention really close through what ever tricks you’ve got personally and then get them to watch themselves from that focused place. Ask them to make choices out of only the information contained within the moment, even when their ego demands the alternative.  If you’re doing that, you’re teaching yoga.  

The growth potential for yoga in 2016 is endless. Where do you see it headed in the new year?

 I see yoga headed down a gentler path, one of true healing.  I see it becoming much more personalized and with a wider set of choices as far as types or classes, as well as types of trainings.  I see it moving away from the fanciness portrayed on Instagram and into a more therapeutic realm. All of that makes me very excited!

alexandria crow forearm balance variation

I personally invite you to join Alexandria here in Northeastern Ohio this month at Evolution Yoga School & Practice Space on January 22-24.

Click over to the Evolution MINDBODY site to learn more about the four workshops she’ll be teaching and to register today to save your spot.

Use the promo code POISEINPARMA (yup, all caps, all one big word) to save $5 off individual workshops or $5 off the full weekend.

Learn more about Alexandria at yogaphysics.com, and give her a follow at FacebookInstagram and Twitter. Many thanks to Alexandria for her time, energy and answers and making this interview possible. See you all at Evolution on the 22nd, 23rd and 24th of this month for some Yoga Physics fun!

Disclosure: I am a member of the teaching staff at Evolution Yoga School and Practice Space. All photos c/o Alexandria Crow. My thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

Connect with me on FacebookTwitterInstagram and Pinterest.

This entry was posted in Yoga and tagged .

my (#yoga) weekend out & about in #CLE (December edition)

Since starting my new full-time job in the summer, one of the first things people say to me when I’ve seen them in awhile is “you are EVERYWHERE these days!”  It’s no question that part of me thrives on connecting with others. Another part thrives on a regular yoga practice as it helps to counterbalance my extrovert tendencies. Taking time to go inwards and strengthen the ability for a one-pointed focus is uber necessary in my “off the mat” life as well.

So even while my regular practice these days is more home based, the social butterfly in me craves some human interaction inside the yoga studio. This weekend provided me just that…

FRIDAY NIGHT at Evolution Yoga: I end every work week by heading over to my yoga studio home at Evolution Yoga School and Practice Space to teach a Friday “happy hour” vinyasa flow class. This Friday afternoon, before I headed to the studio, I was apparently feeling parched and inspired to tell all of Twitter about it…

…but NEVER did I expect a kombucha surprise from my favorite local ‘buch brewing company to arrive at the Evo doorstep during my class!

bearded buch delivery

The Bearded Buch team swung by as they were making deliveries that evening to surprise us with an assortment of their kumbucha — plus one of their custom t-shirts. A HUGE “thank you” to Aaron, Daniell and family for the thoughtfulness and fermented sweet tea love!

SATURDAY MORNING on the Towpath TrailWith an episode of unrolled (a yoga podcast by Boston yoga friend/original Clevelander Ryan Cunningham and his yoga partner-in-crime Kate Robinson) uploaded and a foggy yet free Saturday morning, Grady and I headed down for a leisurely stroll on the towpath starting at Brecksville station.

towpath brecksville bridge with berries

As the weather cools, I am making a go at staying outdoors, even if it means a few extra layers. I’m so grateful we took a familiar path that day as it gave me the opportunity to see it in a new way. Usually I’m flying by on my bike in the much warmer months. There was so much to discover at a slower pace, and with seasonal overgrowth abound!

SATURDAY NIGHT at Inner Bliss Yoga Studio: My long time friend, talented musician and favorite yoga teacher Ylonda had one of her Vinyasa, Cello, & Chanting classes scheduled at her new yoga home, Inner Bliss Yoga Studio — which meant I cleared my calendar to be there.

yoga CLE ylonda cello chanting

It’s hard to put into words the magic that these sessions contain. First, Ylonda’s personality shines throughout: her wit, her wisdom, her inspired flows. But then she takes her musical background of many years and puts it to fantastic work, leading 65 yogis in traditional chants and blending in a savasana accompanied by her cello playing stylings. It was a blissful 90 minute practice, and one that I encourage all Cleveland yogis to partake in in the future.

SUNDAY AFTERNOON in Vision Yoga and WellnessAfter teaching my own Sunday morning class, I gathered up a few friends (read: my husband Hans and yoga friend Kevin) to join me at a West 25th yoga hot spot, Vision Yoga and Wellness. I walked up their steps and into their doors to immediately run into an old friend:

yoga CLE vision

Fellow CLE yoga teacher and handstand aficionado Gary Dacanay greeted me with a hug and selfie — such a reminder of how welcoming the Vision community really is! Hans, Kevin and I stayed to enjoy Jennifer’s Open Level Flow — a perfectly paced practice for a Sunday afternoon. The sixty minute session was exactly what I needed to wind down from a full weekend of yoga fun around Northeastern Ohio.

Other non-yoga weekend highlights include:

  • Holiday shopping at Crocker Park — which was more of a lunch stop at B Spot Burgers. I did manage to check one person off my shopping list!
  • I’ll let Jen tell you all about our Bombo Tacos & Rum meal on Saturday night — can’t beat some quality girl talk after taking a class together.
  • Post-yoga Browns brunch at Market Garden Brewery to celebrate Kevin’s birthday. Between my fall squash salad, Hans’s breakfast burrito and Kevin’s wild mushroom tacos — plus a round of seasonal brews for the boys — we left culinarily content. No Browns loss was going to bring us down from that food celebration!

p.s. Get out and support your local yoga business — let me know if I can help you find one in your area! You can always learn more about my yoga teaching schedule, training experiences and random ramblings on the Yoga page of this site

Connect with me on FacebookTwitterInstagram and Pinterest.

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