Monday, 13 July 2015

I realised early on in my time in Los Angeles that being a foreigner made me somewhat exotic as a yoga teacher.  People often comment on my accent and my style of teaching.  Sometimes, students note how different my use of language and names of poses can be.  I admit, I am lazy when it comes to Sanskrit - I use a little here and there but my use of English names is....often under scrutiny.  I began practicing yoga in London, trained as a teacher in Vancouver, started teaching in Perth, and finally ended up in Los Angeles where yoga is decidedly modern, but still, there are differences in the way teachers approach yoga depending on the origins of their practice.  

For example, Twisting Gecko.  I cannot, for the life of me, remember when I started calling it Twisting Gecko but I did not make it up.  Perhaps it was in a class in Australia.  Most teachers here seem to refer to it as a variation or modification of Lizard (utthan pristhasana).  I refer to Gecko as the motion of altering Lizard by lifting up in the inside edge of your front foot, rolling your knee to the side.  Then, if you have the flexibility in the quad of your extended leg, reaching back to hold that foot with the opposite hand, moving into Twisting Gecko.  It's not just about hip flexibility, this one will also make your quads scream if they're tight.  Listen to your body and be very careful with the knee of your back leg as you lift the foot.  

Here's how.... 

1.  Find Lizard by swinging your right foot forward between your hands from Downward Facing Dog.  Drop your left knee to the floor and shuffle your right foot to the right hand side of the mat, angling it at a 45 degrees.  

2.  Roll the outside edge of your right foot onto the mat.  You should be able to look down and see the sole of your right foot.  

3.  Yogis with tight hips can keep their left hand on the floor, towards the middle of the mat, with their right hand resting on their right knee as they look over their right shoulder.  More flexible yogis will be able to lower their left elbow to the floor, rotating their forearm until it is parallel with the top of the mat, before resting the right hand on the right knee.  

4.  Super flexible yogis will be able to lift their left foot up towards their seat and reach back with their right hand to hold the left foot.  

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