Sometimes we all need a gimmick, and I think I’ve found mine.
In the third week of January next year, I’m going to sit my Junior Intermediate I assessment.
Part of the assignment is to be able to teach all of the poses of the Intro I and II syllabi, plus the Junior I poses, add a Junior I instruction to each of the Intro poses, to sequence them in a logical, or at least defensible way, and to link them.
I’ll confess I’ve been falling behind. I was practicing and teaching the Junior I poses, but I knew I was neglecting the detailed work on earlier poses.
There are more than 70 of them. I was overwhelmed.
But now I’m making progress, all because I’ve turned it into a game of chance.
This weekend I made a list of all the poses in the first three syllabi, printed them out on glossy photo paper, and got Alan, who is much better with a utility knife and a straight edge than me, to cut them into separate cards.
He picks three cards for me before he comes to bed. When I get up in the morning, there they are: Bite-sized Random Acts of Yoga, ready for me to study.
As I drink my matcha, I place them the sequence I’d teach them in, note three introductory instructions for each pose, add one intermediate instruction, and link them.
When it’s time to practice, I take them to my mat and see how it all works out.
I could, of course, pick the cards by myself. But what makes it genius for me is the absolute lack of choice.
If I were to pick three poses myself, at random, even with the cards face down, there would always be the temptation to throw back something that doesn’t seem to fit.
And I know I’d have wanted to throw Chaturanga Dandasana back into the pile. My nemesis pose on the first day? Not likely.
I borrowed this system from Wendy Boyer, who told me about it in August at the Intermediate Intensive at the Victoria Iyengar Yoga Centre. As I recall, she took the poses and integrated them into a class she was teaching that day.
I might eventually do that too, but for now I’m content just to work my mind every morning in a way I need to work it.
Just for the fun of it, and in case anyone wants to share these Bite-Sized Random Acts of Yoga, I plan to Tweet them, starting today.
If you’re interested, you can follow me at @fiveminuteyoga.
And if you come up with a brilliant idea for linking Chaturanga and Malasana, do let me know.