A couple of weeks back I was asked if I did a “harder” Yoga class; I am guessing of the kind that includes this kind of stuff – tricky and fun arm balances. I keep thinking about that question so thought I would address it here and get your thoughts. Over the past 20 or so years of actually teaching and continuing to learn, what I teach now, has been pared back considerably, but, yet, I know it’s actually way more useful for the most amount of people. Many of us are managing injuries and conditions and so what we do is also practical and therapeutic and still challenging enough for the majority.
So, yeah, this kind of stuff is lots of fun – but is it Yoga? I would argue that for most people it’s just a bit of a struggle and generally impossible, so would there be a point to putting these things in a general class or is this stuff better as a fun, weekend workshop and not described as Yoga at all?
Lately, I’ve started to include many more useful flowing moves that are accessible, sustainable and doable as well as pretty easy to follow. This, as opposed to lots of instructions regarding form and alignment. Of course instructions about form are incredibly important, but they also create brain stress when most of us just need to relax. Truly, if we have been thinking all day, it’s lovely to be able to switch off a bit and just follow some incredibly powerful spinal flow. Awesome for your brain and your body!
Following though can only be done with moves and poses that arn’t dodgy. Those that don’t require lots of instruction (which isn’t many – as most are way more complex than you might imagine). Hence why I have begun to incorporate more leg balances and Qi Gong moves. In terms of strength, balances are a force to be reckoned with. They also lengthen your muscles actively and are great for focus and concentration. In other words, these days I try to include lots of movements that are dynamic and meditative at the same time. It’s not Yoga AND meditation after all. Yoga is meditation and vice versa.
I hope that this way people find themselves suddenly stronger, more flexible and more mobile, but don’t remember having to make a considerable amount of effort towards that result.
What do you think? 🕉🙏❤️