Yesterday I participated in a 3 hour workshop with David Regelin, named “Physical Origami.” Honestly, I have been so busy that I didn’t research anything about the teacher or the course, which is so unlike me…I research everything I spend time on. I didn’t know what to expect.
Yet, as I drove to the workshop, all that came to mind was 3 hours of “tricks”..uber fancy arm balances, eka pada bakasana, and handstands, which to be quite honest, I wasn’t interested in. So much for having an open mind. I was setting expectations already. He had quite the presence as he walked into the room. Tall, dark, handsome, tattooed and cool…yea we were totally doing handstands, right..?
We never did a handstand.
We did Bakasana (aka Crow) once.
Instead, it was the complete antithesis of a fancy trick workshop. It was no nonsense and no fluff. It was honestly what I was hoping for and have been trying to learn more of and in my opinion what most teachers need more of. Rather than guide us through fancy sequencing he led us through the Primary series of Ashtanga Yoga, which he joking said, “he created.” He gave incredible instruction and explanation of the alignment of fundamental postures, the breath, and the differences in body types. He explained and demonstrated on students the shapes that will be made in a certain pose in someone who is older and less flexible vs. a super flexible 20 year old female. No one way is right. I truly began to see the body as an instrument and a vessel. I more clearly understood why I wasn’t finding ease in some poses. Why certain body parts fit in certain spaces. Like puzzle pieces. Like origami.
He made us breathe. And breathe. And breathe. We counted our breaths to the beat of some really eerie,yet cool drum loop he played on his iPhone. The mirrors were so steamed up…after 2 rounds of surya namaskar a no one could see themselves for the rest of the workshop. It was awesome. It was so interesting to me how we are all on auto pilot when it comes to our practice. Although David was counting the breaths when he said “inhale lift the heels,” most people hopped forward, rather than waiting for the “exhale bend the knees,” followed by the “inhale hop forward look up” “exhale fold.
The breaths were stretched out…the way they were meant to be.
Inhale..1,2,3. Exhale 1,2,3…(breath #1)….Inhale…1,2,3. Exhale 1,2,3.. ( breath #2)…you get the point.
5 breaths in Down Dog, now seemed like forever, but forever in a good way. It was hypnotizing. Even driving in my car today I listened to my breath and felt the sense of space it was creating within me. It calmed me as I was quite anxious at the time.
When I thought about my teaching, although I was trained to always count 5 breaths, I rarely do. Sometimes, I feel rushed for time, or feel the class may be bored. Other times I want to get the students warmer so why not revert to giving a one breath breath cue and a hop forward? They will surely get warm, but ya know what else will get them warm??? Deep full Ujayi. So why not stop and breathe? David reminded me that myself nor my students will never get into the pattern of hearing the breath, moving with the breath, and stretching out the breath…the most important part of the practice. This will now change my teaching.
It was everything I want to continue to learn about. He taught such simple yet fascinating things.
“Look at your hands and your feet in Down Dog. Is there equal the amount of space on both edges of the mat? If not, it means your hips and shoulders are misaligned in the next move you do.”
When I came home I was exhausted and this morning my ribs are sore. I did some research and read some articles on him. I like this guy. He’s different.
Although this is my first experience with this teacher, I agree with what his website says wholeheartedly.
“David’s practice is designed to give us the tools, techniques, and blueprints necessary to develop a potent and sustainable practice that transcends yoga trends and brands, and teaches us how to participate in our own well-being.”
I will definitely be taking some of his NYC classes(:
Ps. I hate Hero’s pose David. I still am sore.