Monday, August 3, 2015

You Are Doing That Pose Wrong

I've been substitute teaching at a local gym for a couple years now which has dropped me directly into "kick your asana" culture of modern American yoga...something entirely different from what yoga is supposed to be.  Strangely, I find that my substitute teaching there, is actually easier than the local recreation center.  People at the gym seem to be more able to adapt, perhaps it is because they are already out-going people who are ready to tackle life, they've decided to go the gym...I don't know, but I have found that you don't have to teach "kick your asana" to gym folk to make them happy.  They are just as happy getting the "real deal" insofar as a 1 hour class devoid of any chanting or spirituality can afford them. 
  But I digress already...
I've attended plenty of the classes there to get a feel for how the classes are taught so that I don't deviate too much, if that's even possible for me...I find a subset of people who want to do the tougher, prettier, shinier poses much too soon.  Traditionally Hatha Yoga would have started with just a handful of poses, you mastered those before you moved on, and there was a good reason for that.  Iyengar studios still teach in this way, and an introduction class (with homework!) is a must for attending future classes.  Just because you can cram yourself into Lotus position now doesn't mean your hips are open enough for it.  Sometimes the body can compensate...and if you keep doing it..well, lets just say something has to give.  This is why I don't believe in creating yoga videos for people.  And why you should seek an experienced teacher to help you while you learn the basics.  I don't believe in the whole "people will figure it out", they might figure it out by fucking up their knees, and knees don't recover well.  So this is a short article but really folks, find a good teacher, listen to them, and work your way up.  Listening to your body is important, but so is having someone to tap you on the shoulder and give you a critical eye--it's not actually criticizing, it's helping, you can chose how you see it.  Start with the basics, and build your strength and flexibility before moving on to the more advanced poses...your body will thank you!