Tag Archive for: Teacher

After a mild period of hesitation, I began working with my chosen subject matter, about six weeks from the début. I began by brainstorming every possible theory and practice that could support each theme-based class. From this basic platform, I constructed sequences and drew together key points. In the process of assembling the sequences, I noted which poses needed to be work-shopped, which poses would be enhanced by partner work and which postures would be done simply based on their own merit as they related to the overall theme.

Intertwined within this process was my personal, physical experimentation. This, by far, was the most significant part of the preparation. As a result of this exploration, my own practice slowed down and I came to accept that regardless of how much I got done, it would be complete. I also began to extend the duration of my asana sessions, for up to two hours in length. Gradually, through the process of ongoing revision, the practices began to assemble themselves.

Still, I noticed that I gradually became worn down over the weekend and came home with less energy than when I left. I think some of this is to be expected. Two suggestions come to mind as to how to address waning energy. The first is practice – I could teach longer venues/workshops more often to increase my endurance (my ytt is a really good outlet for that already). The second suggestion would be to experiment with what ever that green drink is that you use. Is the recipe available to forward on?

The classes were comprised of a mixture of pranayama, meditation, theory, humor, and both active and more restful postures. Not only was this beneficial to the overall construction of the weekend, but it also allowed me to exercise different parts of my being without overtaxing any one skill set.

All of the preparatory work I had done was fundamental to the success of the weekend. While having a rehearsed sequence was invaluable, at times it drew me away from the immediate needs and skill levels of the students. As the workshop progressed I felt more confident peeling away from the game plan and being more spontaneous. Yoga is an ongoing dance between form and formlessness.

Another change I would make would be to increase the volume of my own voice.  I found myself dipping into a low auditory range more than once and have gotten similar feedback from students in the past. Do you have any suggestions as to how to cultivate this skill?

On another auditory note: the music (as I discussed) had both its ups and downs. Overall, the music complemented what I was doing, however, at times it pushed the class in a direction that did not resonate with what I was trying to create. I gradually learned to work with this, though it meant hovering over the mp3 player at times and drawing my attention away from the class. Overall, I’d consider using it again, selectively.

Based on my own perception and the majority of the response I received, the workshop went exceptionally well. A real highlight for me was getting to know the students, a few of whom had attended my first presentation at the Canebrake. Inwardly, I was very satisfied and felt that my abilities as a teacher really expanded as a result of this experience. I look forward to offering it again and will have the opportunity to do so in Dallas this fall.  As they say at the Yoga Barn, “Namaste Ya’ll.”

Dear Yoga Students,

This is Derik from Axis Yoga Trainings. I want to announce and invite you to our  ongoing, donation only, classes.  These classes are held once a month and are an ideal opportunity to deepen your practice and view yoga from a totally new perspective!

Each class will focus on a specific theme and is open to everyone.

Next Sat, May 15th will feature Meditation and Postures for the Spring Season.  Yoga practices can be constructed to suite any constitution, season or phase of life.  Come and experience a spring time session.  Derik will be teaching.

Saturday, May 15th 9:00-11:00am

Consulate Healing Center.

750 E. 9th Ave –Cross St. is 9th and Clarkson.
Convenient Capitol Hill Location.

Donation Only!
Look forward to seeing you there!


One could easily make a case for or against the roll of music in yoga practice.  On the one hand music/sound has played an intimate roll in the history of yoga (particularly in the nada and bhakti yoga traditions).  On the other hand the power of sound can unduly influence the environment and mind of the practitioner, distracting one from the immediate perceivable reality.

Without going into too many details, I have been privy to both ends of the spectrum; having experienced the acute and transformational power of sound, largely from classically based Indian genres, to having my nadies and vritties accosted by the likes of Michael Jackson, Def Leopard, and Huey Lewis.  Rock On.

The challenge with music is that it is highly personal. What may be one woman’s bliss may be another man’s hell.  From a contemplative perspective, music distorts one’s ability to be present to the immediate sensations and movements of the breath and body –yoga asana as meditation.

I have a strong contemplative streak, and rarely teach or practice with music. When I do so, I choose ambient sounds that subtly inform the background.  I also play music because it forces me out of my box a bit and brings some color to the austere parts of my personality.

Yoga and many other spiritual traditions have recognized the inborn power of sound in transforming consciousness. Nada Yoga, the yoga of sound, has developed a wide variety of techniques to expand consciousness through the medium of sound. Mantras, chanting and deep-listening help to create a ritualistic container to evoke the sacred.  According to Nada Yoga there are four essential layers to the evolutionary sound current:


Gross audible sound.
Pashyanti: Subtle sound-current heard inside the mind body organism. Examples include audible hearing the nervous system, the sound of crickets, kettle drums, a waterfall and many other subtle sounds.


Sound as light.


Beyond all sound.

In many traditions throughout the world, sound is considered one of the first evolute of creation.  In other words, certain vibrational frequencies precede and inform the manifest realm that most of us inhabit.  As such, sound holds the potential to influence our being on multiple layers.  Sound is unique to our sensory experience in that it is very tangible and readily experienced (through language, nature and song) and at the same time its form is invisible, bridging into unseen dimensions.

How long could you survive without eating?  What about drinking?  How long could you go without breathing?

Respiration is probably the most important source of nourishment we receive and one of the most under recognized or utilized. Is it possible that, by modifying our breathing pattern, we can dramatically increase or health in the same way that changing our diet or environment influences our state of well being?  The short answer, absolutely.

In no other form of activity is there a greater emphasis placed on the breath than in yoga.  Not only to the postures bring tone and flexibility to the body, but also increase the elasticity of the rib cage, remove congestion from the diaphragm and increase the supply of oxygenated blood to targeted regions of the body.

This increased circulation nourishes specific organ systems, depending on where the pressure in the pose is or is not being applied.  For example, in doing an inverted posture such as headstand, the brain is saturated with increased circulation and oxygen, thereby increasing mental alertness and clarity.  This same principle can be applies to all of the other postures, each with their distinct attributes and effects.

I once worked with Jenny, a lung cancer survivor, who, after four rounds of chemo-therapy, some deep soul searching and 3-4 yoga classes reported a measured increase her breathing capacity by 15-20%. What’s more, she discovered a means by which she could begin to reinhabit and trust her body again.

There are many, many yogic techniques that pattern the breath in specific ways that are conducive to increased vitality and equanimity. As a simple experiment I invite you to sit up strait, breath evenly through both nostrils and ever so slightly begin to extend the length of your exhalation, at a comfortable and sustainable rate.  Do this for a couple of minutes, release the breath from any modification and notice the effect.  Often the solutions to our problems are lying right beneath our nose, in this case, quite literally.