Sunday, October 01, 2006

University Yoga I Criteria

Hatha Yoga Fall 2010

Hello, my name is Joan Dobbie, and I'm your yoga teacher this term. I have been practicing Hatha Yoga steadily since 1975 and teaching since 1981. I have lived in Eugene, off and on, since 1983. My own yoga teacher was Swami Vishnudevananda of Val Morin, Quebec, Canada (originally from India). His guru (teacher) was Swami Sivananda, so most of the yoga I’ll be teaching you is called “Sivananda yoga.” I’ll also be introducing you to some moves I learned from other teachers over the years. There are many, many styles of yoga, and all of them are wonderful! I attribute nearly everything I like about myself to my practice of yoga, which keeps me physically strong, emotionally open and creative, and opens doors into spiritual realms of being.

Besides practicing and teaching yoga, I write poetry, work with oral history, make websites and do clay sculpture. At the moment, I’m co-editing a poetry anthology that deals with the Israel/Palestine struggle. I live in a sweet yellow cottage with a huge fruit-tree-filled yard in Santa Clara with my big yellow dog, Foxy Cleopatra, and three outside cats, Merle (age 20) , Lucy and Prince Charming.

I was born in Trogan, Switzerland, in 1946. My parents were Jewish refugees from Hitler's Vienna. I grew up in a little northern New York town where my Dad was an old time country doctor. I have two married children: Dawn and Andy, and 5 little grandchildren, ages 6 and under. My son and his family live (at least for now) on Tortola, in the British Virgin Islands; my daughter and her family have just moved to Western Australia,. So if ever I’m not here doing yoga, I’m usually somewhere else, far, far away-- changing diapers.


WEAR LOOSE CLOTHING, and DO NOT EAT (or eat lightly) for at least two hours before class (or any yoga practice) and no coffee, please. Also, no gum in class. Take off your shoes, jewelry, watches etc. and put them in a safe place. On your first day of class, be sure to sign the UO release form before taking part in this class in any way. At all times, when practicing hatha yoga, be mindful and careful. Yoga is a powerful practice, incredibly good for you, but without care it is possible to hurt yourself. If you have any physical issues, or are pregnant, please let me know.

BREATH: You will learn and practice abdominal breathing & a few pranayamas (breathing exercises).

CLEANSING: You will be introduced to some cleansing exercises, including Nasal Nettie and Stomach Pumping.


STRETCHING POSES will include: Neck rolls, Lion, Cat Stretch, Chest Expansion, Surya Namaskar (Salute to the Sun), leg lifts, Bridge, Fish, Head Knee Pose, Butterfly, Inclined Plane, Cobra, Bow, Locust, Rabbit, Camel and Spinal Twist.

BALANCING POSES will include: Mountain, Tree, Eagle, Crow, Warrior and Dancer Poses.

RELAXATION: Savasana (corpse position), Frontal Corpse Position, Child's Pose., half lotus

MEDITATION: You will be introduced to a couple of meditation techniques. You will experience guided visualizations.

CHANTING: You will be introduced to a few different chants. Each session will begin with the chant “AUM”, which represents all sounds, all possible vibrations. Each session will end with the chant “AUM shanti, shanti, shanti, AUM peace, peace, peace. The Sanskrit word “shanti” means “peace”. Chanting is never mandatory. If you don’t like to chant, simply don’t do it. If you do like to chant, well, give it all you’ve got!


BE HERE: You will be expected to BE IN CLASS. You are allowed FOUR absences only. Even one more than that, for any reason, constitutes a no pass.

PERFORMANCE OF POSTURES: You will be expected to be your own best teacher, to move in the direction of any posture or asana I show you, but go only as far as your own body allows, so that you feel a little bit of stretch, but never any pain. 55% of your grade will be based on my observation of your practice in class.

JOURNAL: You need to KEEP A YOGA JOURNAL which you purchase at the UO bookstore for about $1.00 & decorate however you’d like. Your first entry should be an introduction of yourself, a little like mine, so I can have a sense of who you are. After that, it’s up to you. Ideally you’d be writing nearly every day. You might want to record which postures you do, how your body feels before and after practice, how your mind feels... your spirit... what you feel you are learning... what you wish you were learning, special requests, or anything else yoga connected in your life. Since I'll be reading the journals, you can use them also to communicate with me, ask questions, make comments. The journals will be turned in three times during the term: on ___________ on ___________, and on ___________. 30% of your grade will be based on your keeping up and turning in your journal.

PRACTICE at Home: On each day that we don't have class, you will be expected to do AT LEAST A HALF HOUR OF YOGA PRACTICE on your own and (whenever possible) record your experience in your journal.

BUY A YOGA BOOK, any yoga book that appeals to you. You can find a used one in Smith Family bookstore, or a new one at the U of O bookstore, Stargate, most any bookstore. Read your book throughout the term, and use it to complement the class. I’ll be asking you to show me your book so I know you have it. 5% of your grade will depend on me seeing that you have a book.

SET UP A “PUJA TABLE” OR SHELF: Pick a special place to do your practice. Set up a kind of “alter” with photos that mean something to you, or stones or flowers or whatever you like. This will help you focus as you practice.

CONTACT ME: My e-mail is Please feel free to write me any time. If you’d like, I’ll be happy to meet with you individually. We can meet just before class, or just after, or we can find a time that will work for both of us.

YOGA PHILOSOPHY: You will be expected to learn a bit about the origins of yoga, and yoga philosophy, diet etc.. You will be asked to take a short quiz at the end of the term. Or, if you prefer, you can opt to complete a short yoga related essay, a report on your yoga book, or a creative project. This will constitute 10% of your grade.

I look forward to getting to know you a little, and introducing you to the wonderful world of yoga.

Namaste (I salute you),