That is the other thing that I wanted to post about...
Along with the more focused workshops, it seems like instructors are catering more and more to the level of participants. And it's very much appreciated.
I will always remember how, at Tribal Revolution a few years ago (I will spare the details so that I'm not pointing the finger too much), there was a warm-up that was VERY yoga-intense. I guess that everyone in California is very bendy and goes into all those crazy pretzel poses even before their first cup of joe... or something... some instructors have made me feel that way... because they go into these advanced poses.
Well, this is the MidWest and we are lucky when we find good yoga instructors. Although I do dub myself as a yogini (for multiple reasons), I am not far enough in my practice to do a headstand... I can do a shoulderstand but that's it. So going into a bridge, lifting myself up with my arms to completely arch my back, lifting one leg up and turning around so that I end up with my head facing down in a (I think that's what it was) Downward Dog is a bit much for me... and was a bit much for the entire class. I think that, at the end of her warm-up, there were maybe a few people who could still follow her and that included some other instructors who are very bendy.
Point here is that I think that it's important to get a feel for the level of the group. And I'm sure that it's pretty darn hard to do because you want to push the group further than they are used to (i.e., challenge their own status quo) but you don't want to overdo it. But, seriously, I have like a Spidey 6th sense that sends an alert to my back when I feel like my students are overwhelmed by something that I just taught them. Surely I'm not the only freak like that.
Instructors have been much better at doing that... and, PLEASE, keep on doing that.
Comments I had received:
Holy cow! Someone did that bridge thing in a warm-up?!?! That's crazy! Not only is it hard, you can hurt yourself - badly! - if you slip. I'm glad I missed that workshop!
I am so glad you expressed this. I was just discussing the same thing with a friend a few days ago. The thing about yoga is that it is an individual practice. No two bodies are the same and a person can be a true yogi without being bendy and a person may not be a good yogi just because he or she is bendy. And not to name names either, but I have had bellydance instructors who throw in advanced yoga poses [including wheel] during warmup. Participants feel they will get more "princess points" if they do that pose they've never done before and no one is spotting them. That is so NOT yoga! I am bendy too, but I have only been taking yoga for a year and a half. That's not enough to safely do some of the "required" moves in these crazy competitive warm-up sessions. I have injured myself more doing these crazy warm-ups in bellydance than in my yoga classes. That said, I have had some amazing yoga and bellydance instructors who have said that they know their limitations as well as their own gifts and they impart that same wisdom to their students. Those are the instructors who keep me coming back for more! Asanas shouldn't be used as a bizarre hazing ritual -- neither should bellydance moves for that matter. ;]
me again :)my mantra is: if I want to learn yoga, I'll take a yoga class. In a dance class, I expect to learn dance - not do yoga or aerobic crunch-time, and a warm-up that focuses on the dance and leaves me ready for the class, not worn-out. I know it works great for some, and there's certain things that work well for certain movements, but they work so much better as part of a weekly process with guidance, not a one-time deal.
Yup, yup, yup. I am very much building a personal yoga practice and all that good stuf... operative word: "personal". You can definitely hurt yourself if no one monitors your moves. I am lucky that I have a very good private instructor so we go to my pace and I get pertinent advice just for me. It's really a great journey... but I am definitely NOT qualified to teach that. Like you, Tempest, when I want yoga, I go to a yoga class. When I want belly dance, I go to a belly dance class. ;) Now, the cool thing about me being so bad in gym class when I was a kid is that I know how to sit down when it gets out of my league. So, now, I don't have any expectations about the warm-ups in workshops... I know that it will be a 30-minute of whatever... sometimes it will be all yoga, sometimes it will be a mishmash of things that help your dance like crunches and squats (mind you, I could do them on my own... I normally don't... although I did some last night), or it may be totally relevant to belly dance and be actual prep moves.
I'm with you! I don't know the first, second, or even third thing about yoga. Sure, I can do some of the poses, but I don't feel I'm qualified to teach it and I'm usually a bit put off when the warm up is so hard, it's hard to even get into the meat of the workshop because all of your muscles are aching. I love a good work out! I love a good stretch! But if the warm up is so intense that I look around and see pain on the faces of my fellow students, I'm left wondering if the teacher is paying attention.
Wait a minute...they did a wheel and then flipped over into downward dog? I'm going to have to try this....preferably on top of something soft... I agree. What I dislike is when workshop instructors assume that everyone KNOWS how to do yoga, and how to safely do the poses they are asking the participants to do. I've done yoga for a couple of years and am always amazed when a bellydance instructor asked students to do something that is very advanced. In most workshops, there isn't enough time for the instructor to go around and check to make sure that the students are doing the pose correctly. Plus, you rarely hear a instructor say the "not everyone is going to be able to do this and if you can't, it's okay" disclaimer. That being said, I think yoga is a great warm-up and strength builder for bellydance. I have been to workshops that use yoga very well in that aspect (right now, I'm thinking about Onca at this years Tribal Revolutions). So I do think yoga has it's place in workshops, but it must be done correctly.
From Ann S:
Well said, Celeste! I was amused by Mira Betz's comment at the start of her workshop, when everybody was waiting eagerly in the studio with their yoga mats: "Wow, you guys are so good, with your yoga mats out and everything.... too bad I don't teach yoga." I personally like an intensive warmup and some yoga in a workshop-- but all for the purpose of aiding the dancing we'll be doing, not as an end goal in itself. I really liked the yoga that Onca used in her workshops at Tribal Rev, especially in the floorwork, because it got us *ready to dance*, and was challenging but not impossible or dangerous. (And she brought me way closer to doing a split than I've ever been in my life, in such a way that I could take home that technique and work on it if I wanted to.) I liked that Mira's and Zoe's workshops this past weekend, the warmups got intense at times, but were overall fairly short or led right into the dance moves we were learning. (Speaking of which, did you happen to write down the combo Zoe led in her warmup? I've been trying to remember it, but don't quite have it.)