I graduated from teacher training at the beginning of July. Since then, I have had the pleasure of sharing these teachings with some new students. Through these classes, the biggest thing I have learned is that many people find yoga intimidating. One friend told me that she would rather go to a HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) class than try a new yoga studio. Which is amazing to me because I find them to be super scary. Even when the instructor is my friend.
But I am so thankful to have learned this – it has informed how I work with clients, how I introduce new postures or sequences. And by the same time, it saddens me. It’s peer pressure. It’s focusing on the wrong thing. Yoga is more than getting your foot behind your head. Actually, yoga isn’t at all about getting your foot behind your head. Yoga is the stilling of the changing states of the mind. The asanas (postures) are outwardly challenging, yes. But they are only that – a more outward expression of yoga. True yoga happens inside. Yoga is a dedicated practice, one that takes time, and eventually leads to tranquility and stability – and yes, maybe to your foot being behind your head. But it’s your foot and your head. Not the person next to you. And I think that’s really the thing that intimidates. And that understanding brings us to the second main idea of yoga – non-attachment. We can not put a limit on how long it should take us to achieve these goals – whether they be getting your nose to your toes, meditating 15 minutes per day or attaining self-realization. We can never think – she is doing it so why can’t I?
With my clients, I show them the pose in it’s full expression. And then we work through their version of the pose. Modifying, using props, and celebrating every improvement. And dancing when the moment strikes. I have learned that my arms are a little short for my body. So certain postures are simply never going to happen for me without props. And that’s OK. I have also learned that I can do some postures if I just take a breath and go for it. And I promise the same is true for you.
So if you’re still with me, I have a request. If there is a posture that you find particularly intimidating, tell me about it in the comments. If I have already written about it, I’ll share the link. If I haven’t – or if my understanding of the pose has changed, I’ll write a new post for you. And if you live in NYC and I can help you with an in-person chat, or even some thoughts about a specific studio or class, I am happy to do that as well.