Lately I’ve been having a lot of conversations around the same topic with many of you.
It surprises me sometimes that we’re all so different yet we struggle with similar issues much of the time.
I’ve been asking you for feedback on the classes what’s working for you and what’s not.
You’ve said things like:
- You give options for the same pose, so I can adapt it for me.
- There’s space to explore whatever feels most appropriate for my body.
- There’s more emphasis placed on the breath.
- You’re always watching and supporting each individual person.
- You make it okay to struggle with something and just be where you are, while encouraging me to move forward.
- You leave space for asking questions and getting more guidance.
- I feel like each class is taught specifically for me.
It’s no accident that I teach this way.
I’ve chosen to teach in this way and Yoga in Motion will always work in this way for a reason:
You and your body is different to every other body.
It’s really that simple…
You, your body, and your mind is unique, and not only are you completely different to everyone else but you are in a constant state of flux…
How you felt yesterday is different to how you feel today, what’s happening on a mental and physical level for each one of us is always changing.
…and so what you did in your yoga practise yesterday won’t necessarily work for you today.
It’s right here that we encounter one of the hardest aspects of a yoga practise!
- The constant tendency to compare ourselves.
We look around the room to see where everyone else is with a posture.
We might even engage in conversation with another person in the class about what they are capable of doing.
Sometimes we get our inspector Gadget on, bail another poor student into a corner and ask a million and one questions…”How long have you been practising? How long did it take you to master that pose? What did you do in order to get there?…I’d be so happy if I could just do x,y and z.”
Those of you who haven’t done it…don’t act like you’ve never been tempted : )
- Constantly comparing ourselves to where we were in the past or where we want to be in the future.
“I use to be able to do that before I had x injury”
“When I was younger I could move this this”
“I can’t understand why…but last week I managed to do it”
We’ve all been there not just in our yoga practise but if we’re completely honest we do this comparison and analysis in most aspects of our lives.
It’s draining and moves us further away from the present moment, and further away from the yoga.
Your yoga practise can be the best place to cultivate more acceptance and peace, with that we can also find more clarity and space to move in a forward direction.
It is also why you’ve noticed a difference in the way that I teach…
There must be enough space for you to explore your body, challenge yourself where you need and accept what is in this moment and MODIFY!
MODIFY MODIFY MODIFY
Warning! Rant coming!
If you can’t breathe.
If all you can think about is, when are we gonna come out of this pose.
If you’re scrunching up your face to look like a dried prune
If you’re internal dialogue sounds like a conversation you might have with a nasty trucker
You need to do one of two things:
- Come out and rest, reconnect with your breathing.
- Modify the posture.
If your yoga teacher says to you ‘I’d like you to stay with this option instead,’ it is usually for a good reason you might want to listen to that and at the very least explore it.
Don’t ignore her and pretend you didn’t hear the modification because you really want to be doing what Bob on the mat next to you is doing.
Remember yoga is not about the form. This comparison actually causes a disconnect with the body and in my experience as a yoga teacher can lead students to over extend themselves and then of course this can lead to injuries.
So here are some other tips to help you work with this in your yoga practise:
- When you are lying or kneeling try closing your eyes.
- Of course listen to the intelligence of your breath.
- When you are standing and need the eyes for balance, try not to let them dart around the room to other bodies, find a focus point to keep your eyes on that point.
- Shift your awareness more to the sensations your feeling in your body and less to the alignment and positioning of your body.
- When thoughts of judgement, comparison, or story telling around why something is the way it is comes up. Come back to your ujjai breathing and as you;
Inhale repeat silently in your mind ‘I’m present’
Exhale repeat silently in your mind ‘In this moment’
When you hear a story unfolding in your head about a part of your body, or about a certain part of the practise. See if you can observe that as a third person. You can watch the dialogue, watch the emotions associated with the dialogue as they arise and then gently shift your focus back to your breathing.
I do the best that I can as a teacher to give you permission to be exactly where you are, even I struggle with this one, but I’ll keep doing my best. Consistent practise is key.
Thanks so much for reading guys I hope you found that helpful K xx