I continue to be hungry for knowledge about the human body – in asana, in stillness, in life – and I love nothing more than the gift of a talented teacher’s knowledge provided in a workshop. It is a privilege to learn from another teacher, ones that are like-minded as well as those who may challenge my existing ideas. I walk out of workshops reinvigorated with new detailed focus on a certain topic to guide my study, give me a new set of eyes on my practice and remind me of the sensations of being a student all over again. I feel more connected to my work as a teacher, my work as a practitioner and my students. Not bad for an afternoon on the mat!
I had been taking regular classes for about a year when I signed up for a day workshop. I remember thinking ” this better be good or I’ve blown my whole Saturday”. Well, I didn’t. The workshop was wonderful! That workshop is the event that ignited my whole practice.
Workshops give us all an opportunity to go deeper into the practice. The format of most workshops allows us to focus in a particular aspect of the practice in a way that a regular class does not. Even now after practicing for almost 20 years, when I take a workshop I learn something that enhances my understanding of yoga.
Attending a workshop on a specific topic or theme allows you to go much deeper than would be possible in a regular class, helping to advance your practice or knowledge. Learning something new is always a good thing!
It is extremely important to study with different teachers! Each teacher has a unique voice and will present concepts differently. What I say may not “click” for a student, but another teacher’s description might make perfect sense. Also, teachers have different perspectives and focus on particular things in a class setting (e.g., for me lately, it’s been hip/back leg/foot positions in vira I and related poses). Students have said to me, “No ever told me that!” about a technique or alignment cue. It’s not just me; every teacher has something to share. A serious student seeking a well-rounded practice should always study with multiple teachers. You never know who will bring your next ah-ha moment!
Workshops with the goal of fine-tuning some aspect of your practice are a great idea. The detail that goes into a specialty workshop is going to go far beyond what is able to be offered in a class just because of time, and then you’re able to take that knowledge back into a regular practice and take your practice that much further. I also like experiencing new teachers – their stories, their voice. I’ve never once left a workshop feeling like I didn’t learn something that I could apply to deepen my practice.
Attending workshops is a great way to deepen your practice. In a workshop setting, it is easier to ask questions and delve into the nuances of asana and yogic theory. Sometimes, when we have been practicing along time, we can start to assume things-about our bodies, our practice—about yoga. Widening our experience through workshops lifts us out of our Samskara ( habits, routines, ie ruts) Every workshop I have ever attended, as been a huge benefit to my practice. There are always more ways to grow, more things to learn.
Attending workshops and studying with different teachers has always opened new doorways of understanding for me of the purpose and value of this activity we call yoga. After my first few workshops, I realized how vast and varied the practice and study of yoga is and how endlessly interesting! That is, in addition to its obvious benefits of a quieter mind, a healthier body and a more spacious and peaceful awareness. I’ve taken workshops on alignment, philosophy, breathing, on opening parts of the body, yoga therapy, meditation, awareness, chakras, in addition to teacher trainings. Every teacher brings their unique being to the practice and the expression of their understanding of yogic teachings may resonate with you more than some others. As Ann said above, you never know from where your next “aha” moment will come. As a teacher of yoga, I am always interested by the teaching methods of others and use the juicy stuff in my own classroom. 🙂
For me, workshops are like Christmases in my yoga practice. I get gifts I didn’t expect, in the form of insights on poses or philosophy suggesting benefits I might not have found on my own. Also like Christmas, yoga workshops are an opportunity to hang out with my yoga “family.” Often they have a more relaxed environment than classes, with more of an opportunity to interact with other students and the teacher. Last but not least (and I’m not being paid to say this), going to a workshop together is a great date with my wife.