What a wonderful time to be a yogi! So much choice and so many people stepping onto the mat to embark on the journey of self discovery, it’s great. I’m no purist by any stretch, I think whatever gets people onto the mat to take some time for themselves is great. With so many things pulling us out of our bodies these days, coming to the mat to focus on your body and breath in any form is an accomplishment, but where do we draw the line? There seems to be so many variations these days and I wonder if they are centered in the well being of the collective or the creators’ bank balance? I know I know, we all need to make money to get by (in this city anyway) but where do we draw the line? Does it matter which way we face when we practice? Does it matter if it’s fast or slow? Does it matter if the teacher you are practicing with has 200 hours or 500 hours? Well I guess the question we should all ask ourselves is it good for you right now?
I do not think there is only one way for anyone and I will be so bold to say that anyone that still thinks there is should really do some yoga to relax their sphincter muscle and maybe look up. I don’t think it matters what direction I’m facing, I am looking inward. I like it slow, I like to have time to breath. I think you can be a great teacher straight out of TT but I think you become a better teacher by taking feedback, going to a variety of classes, having a steady practice and I don’t think it matters how many ‘hours’ you have been awarded or paid for (I have taught on teacher trainings and in my experience these awarding bodies do not check the quality of the TT or hold anyone accountable you literally just pay for the stamp). I think it matters that you put yourself out there and let all those hours ‘cook’, teach some bodies and get some experience. After all, this discipline is a practice. These are just my thoughts and experience and I appreciate different viewpoints.
One of the greatest gifts yoga has given me is a sense of inner peace and this is what I like to share with other practitioners. That doesn’t mean that I think classes should feel easy and not challenge you, I probably actually lean slightly the other way but if you are always looking for that workout feeling maybe once in a while take yourself to the other end of the spectrum and do some Yin. I believe and have experienced through my own practice beautiful releases and transformations through moments of intensity and times of being damn right peeved at someone and don’t even get me started on pain (maybe another blog and FYI I don’t think a yoga practice should be physically painful). I strongly believe we can learn a lot from each other whatever our preference, consistency is the key to unlocking your mind and body all you have to do is just show up. One of my all time yoga cliché quotes is ‘Yoga is not about learning to stand on your head its about learning to stand on your own two feet’ – Cintra Brown
My recommendation for practice is be consistent with it if you like it safe go to whats been around for a while like Iyengar, Ashtanga, Bikram, Forrest. There are some lovely newer styles around too I am pleased to be trusted by my friends at Soma house who teach Vinyasa influence by the elements which is rather lovely and the sequences are changed every term. Whichever class you choose to go to don’t expect and quick fix or a miracle moment in handstand these things will happen when you are ready and have put the time in. Not every class is going to be amazing, sometimes the environment won’t be great, sometimes the teacher is not at their best and sometimes it’s just you but it’s all experience and if you are open to learn from the experience, I’m pretty sure you will grow and get in touch with your fear, your strength and your bliss…
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of Nature. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people wont feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of the universe that is within us. Its not just some of us; its in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” – Marianne Williamson.