by Suzanne L. Beenackers
I still think green smoothies are the devil and that a physical practice should never include jumping (unless you don’t plan on using your knees when you’re over 50). But I have a hard time finding a third topic, and that’s including every bit of yoga knowledge that I have after 12,5 years of teaching yoga, that yoga teacher Sadie Nardini and me would not hold a similar opinion of. And that is remarkable because the only person whose life philosophy I relate to is Madonna’s. And other than having the exact same profession as other yoga teachers; took exactly the same training as other yoga teachers; and meditate just like yoga teachers – I m just kidding. I don’t meditate – I share a staggering percentage of absolutely nothing with other yoga teachers.
I ll back up Madonna anytime, but one solemn face, one reference that yoga is (again, use solemn face) thousands of years old, and it was written on banana leaves, and okay – you get the idea. Yoga teachers are not exactly my tribe.
Sadie could be my lost born-three-months-after-me twin sister who was abducted by aliens and moved to the US, where she fell in love with exactly the same rockstar I did in the late eighties, flaunted her slightly aggressive sexuality, made inappropriate jokes during her yoga classes, and became a teacher who exercised her profession in a totally unique and authentic way, yet barely ever got recognition for doing so.
Needless to say, both Sadie and me couldn’t give a flying *swearing allowed* if we are embraced by mainstream yoga yes or no. A yes would probably make us roll our eyes. Because as a rebel child of yoga the last thing you need is for establishment to come pat you on the back. It would be a sign we needed to reinvent ourselves. Yesterday.
A reporter once called totally sweet and yogic Tara Stiles a yoga rebel. We can safely assume he/she never met Sadie Nardini. In one of her online teacher trainings – that will ruffle some feathers, taking away the profitable teacher training from studios and making it available online – Sadie says: I may have funky hair, but I know a thing or two.
Oh. She does. She really really does. And if like me, you ve kind of been holding out on your physical yoga practice of vinyasa (power or ashtanga) yoga: it probably saved your ass. Congratulations on being a lazy slacker. Because that old school vinyasa yoga we’ve been taught before Sadie arrived, carries enough poisonous alignment to immobilize a small elephant.
Sadie’s treasure box
Yesterday I received an email from digital educational center Udemy, if I wanted to take time to nominate my favorite instructor. I had seven votes. I could nominate Sadie Nardini for her Rockstar Teacher Training, Sadie Nardini for her 14 day detox, Sadie Nardini for her Yoga for Insomnia program, Sadie for her The Yoga of Success, Marketing, and Money program, Sadie Nardini for Total Transformation Teacher Training, Sadie Nardini for The Journey Teacher Training, or Sadie Nardini for her Badass Teacher Training. In awe I looked at this list of programs I had acquired and how I really knew this was my secret treasure box. This mattered more to me than any yoga book I bought the last decade, any workshop I took or at the risk of blasphemy, this was more important than my initial training.
And I had a decent one.
But the absolute thrill of having found Sadie Nardini this year, in 2015, and starting to study with her in September, with so much to look forward to still; that was thrilling and it gave me a sense of joy in education I had not experienced in a decade. This was gold.
Rebels do it better
Over the years I heard of using your core, or your core muscles. In vinyasa and ashtanga yoga, there is this whole thing about the bandhas; locks of your pelvic diaphragm and midriff. Or drawing up your pelvic floor muscles and lower belly muscles, depending on who you talk to. And here’s the thing about everything you ever heard about using your bandhas or your core:
beware I might yell
cover your ears
IT DOESNT WORK!!!! ITS ABSOLUTE BOGUS! WHAT THE F*** WERE YOU THINKING CONTRACTING YOUR BELLY “JUST A BIT” WHEN INHALING?! ARE YOU BONKERS?!
Okay, I m done now. Well actually, I m not done, but let me explain why Sadie got it all right and why you should immediately buy a training from Sadie Nardini at Udemy. And why I think Udemy should nominate her as instructor of the year, because this is genius. It’s like the missing link in yoga.
What happened to mainstream vinyasa- ashtanga- and poweryoga, is that the bandhas and the core are only part of “the puzzle”. And The Puzzle translates to a thing called The Deep Core Line, defined by Tom Myers, which connects your big toe to your tongue, and runs along the iliopsoas, muscles that connect your upper body to your legs. And since you’re probably standing on your feet (and not supporting your yoga pose standing on your tongue) you should ignite this line by pressing the feet into the floor, until you can truly feel that line moving up through your legs, as they slowly bend and straighten, joyfully pulsing on the energy.
Then you can take the energy further up by exhaling as you push the feet down, drawing your belly in and up (actually it’s not the belly, it’s the psoas muscle behind your belly organs but Sadie will teach you), so the energy draws up and then when it reaches your upper back then your start to inhale! Then, you express into the pose. So your whole movement is basically done on an exhale, and only when you’re rooted down firmly with your feet, legs slightly bend, and come up with a roundish spine (why? Because you’re exhaling so you need that lower belly drawing in) then you take the final step and inhale/ express into what is called “a yoga pose”. Now there is a few things to say about alignment, of chaturanga/ low plank, of warrior poses, and all those things are addressed by Sadie, but the key is this:
You work from the ground up.
Your focus is on finding your foundation where you touch the floor (in arm balances it’s the hands or forearms) and then (2) the connection between the floor and your core and then (3) from the core you move the energy up into expression. And maybe your expression is really full, or maybe the yoga pose doesn’t look like anything from the book. It’s not important. It’s the movement principles behind the pose, how you got there, that’s crucial.
As far as the breath and the bandhas go; Sadie inhales fully, using the breath to expand into the pelvis, and then she contracts the belly (or core line, so its not the belly, as I said) as she exhales. So there is a flattening of the belly, and a drawing up of the pelvis, but it only exists on the exhale. Not the inhale. The inhale expands, and expresses.
One of the questions from Udemy which instructor should be nominated, was how the instructor changed your life. Since I started studying Sadie’s courses I implemented Sadie’s principles in all my vinyasa classes, including to totally rock my own fierce nature as an instructor, and renamed it Rockstar Yoga. I started my own YouTube channel – I just recorded a series of videos based on Madonna’s album Erotica (!!) – and became an instructor for a new Dutch yoga channel, infamously called Rebel Yoga. Sadie Nardini has provided me with the system to transform my yoga, and a permission slip to fully reveal the Rebel Yoga Teacher I already was. Thanks to Sadie I know my foundation, my core, and my expression. And not just metaphorically.
Go see Sadie
These are all her programs at Udemy.