How did you come to teach the intermediate class?
I first attended two Advanced Series seminars with Bikram and led the advanced class in Atlanta for several years. Bikram does not offer a certification to teach the advanced series, but the longer I practiced it, the more I wanted to learn about the postures and how to teach them well; With this in mind I attended Tony Sanchez’s teacher training in Spring of 2014. Tony was one of Bikram’s first students back in the 70’s and he has dedicated his life to the practice and teaching of yoga. His knowledge of the postures runs deep and his trainings are small which allows the time and space to get into the specifics of each posture. Tony saw the need for a bridge between the Beginner 26 postures and the 84 posture Advanced Series and created what he calls the Core40 class, or what we call the intermediate class. I learned this series from Tony. He includes abdominal work in his series, but the specific abdominal work I teach in the intermediate class comes from my Pilates teacher training with Ellie Herman.
How does the intermediate class build on the beginner series?
The intermediate class moves at a bit of a faster pace than the beginner class, and often includes just one set of the posture instead of two. The intermediate class assumes the the the students have enough familiarity of the 26 postures that much less verbal cuing/instruction is required. This doesn’t mean you have to perform the postures perfectly– not even close– it just means you have both an awareness of the posture and of your body and how the two can come together to create strength and flexibility. Many of the more intermediate postures that we do are the “full” (deeper) version of what we do in beginner class. I teach these step by step with verbal instruction. The postures may be different but the way we practice them is the same– we start by building a foundation and add to it, piece by piece. In the same way that Standing Head to Knee takes time and effort to learn (and years later there is still progress to be had), these postures are no different.
What new areas of the body can students expect to be sore the next day?
Abdominals (rectus abdominis, obliques, transverse abdominis), inner thighs (adductors), arms (biceps/triceps), shoulder girdle (deltoids, rhomboids, traps, lats), butt (gluts), thighs (quadriceps and hamstrings) are all at risk of that, “I worked hard and my body is getting stronger and more flexible” feeling.
What would you say to somebody who still feels like a beginner, but wants to try the intermediate?
If you’ve practiced the Bikram series regularly and you don’t have any major injuries, come try it! Labels are tricky. Try not to get too tangled up in them. I know the word “intermediate” can be intimidating and confusing. The simplest way I can put it is that “beginning” refers to the basics. “Intermediate” just means we’re taking the basics and adding a little bit to it. It means that when I say “Let’s do Balancing Stick,” you have a general idea of what that is going to look like, because you’ve done it several times in beginner class. It doesn’t mean you’re going to do it perfectly, it doesn’t mean your not going to fall out. And it certainly doesn’t mean you’ll get scolded if either of those two things happen! The desire your practice a step further is something to be celebrated. A big part of this class is finding a sense of playfulness and ease– I hope you’ll join us!
‘Rebecca attended Bikram’s teacher training in Spring of 2008 and has been teaching ever since. She has continued with many senior teachers and attended two of Bikram’s advanced seminars. Rebecca has studied Pilates for several years and in 2013 she completed instructor training with renowned teacher Ellie Herman. In Spring of 2014, she attended Tony Sanchez’s Core26 and Core40 yoga teacher training. Rebecca has experience training new teachers, leading posture clinics, and managing yoga studios. She is constantly seeking to learn more and is thrilled to attend weekly Anatomy and kineseology workshops this Fall with Irene Dowd.
photo: Monica Felix