Yoga is about listening to your own body
Updated: Dec 20, 2019
Recently, I read with increasing dismay a post on Facebook about Vinyasa Flow Yoga saying that because it is now the most popular style of yoga at the present time that there are lots of teachers with little formal training or experience out there teaching without anyone overseeing what they do. Also that because it is a fairly dynamic style lots of teachers and practitioners are becoming injured.
People including teachers were replying saying “oh yes I’ve been practicing Vinyasa for years and it’s too much for my body, I’m too old for this type of yoga now etc.
Although there were also many positive comments I was left thinking “WHAT”.
Leaving the issue of poorly trained yoga teachers to one side, it happens in every profession and Yoga isn’t going to be any different.
When I embarked on my first teacher training with The British Wheel of Yoga I remember thinking….four years is that really necessary? However, I found that I needed that time to go on my own personal journey of discovery, to grow my passion for yoga that I could then pass onto others.
No, my main concern when I read this post was this.... Surely yoga is about listening to your own body. Any type of physical exercise done repetitively will cease to be effective and result in injuries. As yoga teachers and practitioners we have to recognise the need to adapt our practice to be in harmony with how we feel each time we step onto our mat so that we create balance.
Balance, nurturing ourselves isn’t doing a fast flowing practice every time, it’s about mixing in some restorative yoga, moving more slowly, staying longer in poses to work the muscles differently or just sitting and meditating. Constantly striving to achieve the full expression of every pose or feel the most intense sensation is making it an ego driven experience, not an advanced one.
Vinyasa Flow yoga has become so popular because it feels amazing to move so freely and to do a whole practice that feels like a movement meditation. It integrates so many different poses and varieties of poses, tapping into our own inherent creativity and creating so many different moods (bhava’s). I love Vinyasa Yoga, a passion that was inspired by Shiva Rea my teacher for my second teacher training immersion.
However, what I teach to my classes cannot be just a reflection of my own practice and what I enjoy most, a skilfull teacher needs to be able to shape the many ways of practicing to offer modifications in a mixed ability class or offer a range of classes to cater for the huge diversity of people who want to learn to practice yoga and the ability to do that reflects a deep understanding and experience of this wonderful art.
There is something out there for anybody and any body!