If you could let all your students know one thing about the practice of yoga that you think they are missing out on, what would it be and why?Hear what Samatva Educators wish you all knew.
Practice at home. Then you become more familiar with the sensations of practicing, and more intimate with your body in the postures. Then, when you get to a public class, you’re more apt to follow your body’s cues and not try to conform exactly to what the teacher is saying, or conform to your mind’s idea of what the ideal posture looks like. Yoga is quite internal – what’s happening in my body. At home, we can feel this more. In a public class, there’s the added pressure of the social world around us. This can be a great way to see how we treat ourselves when others are present, what we expect of ourselves, etc. Try a small home practice, five to ten minutes, pick a few postures that come to mind, and see what happens. In the end, it’s just yoga.
Do not worry so much about “perfecting” the asana; instead accept yourself on that day, in that practice, as you are, on your mat in that moment. Know the calm and peace you seek, are already inside of you….just waiting for your breath to find the space of realization! xo<3
I feel like most people forget that this is truly more than a physical practice, although the benefits of moving our body are so apparent, it is lost on most the 8 limbs of Yoga. I’ve noticed teaching for so many years there is wall or a barrier put up when we try to add such depth to the practice that moves beyond just the physical Asana practice and into what it means to be non-harming, truthful, non-stealing, cultivate energetic restraint and without possessiveness, the first limb of Yoga, the Yamas, sets the stage for deeper meaning and understanding in a practice where possibilities are endless.
One thing that I wish we could all understand about the practice of yoga is that it actually is for EVERYONE. No matter your size, your mental state or whether you can touch your toes, yoga is for all of us. It helps us learn about ourselves, release our pain and suffering, let go of what we don’ t need and connect with ourselves and our deeper layers. Creating peace and stillness internally can help us be compassionate in our contradictory crazy world.
The practice of yoga is so rich and as a result people come to their mats or cushions for many reasons. Regardless of why, the benefits will effect you all all levels, creating a transparency to your tendencies, habits and reactive natures and therefore providing opportunity for everyone to begin somewhere and to better themselves on all sorts of levels. Don’t worry about what it looks like, it’s perfect. Stay present to the sensations and allow your attention to work with what is happening each and every moment, one breath at a time. Our ego (blahahaha) loves to dictate that our practice should look a particular way and that keeps us from transformation and a true inquiry. When you practice, simply meets your physical bodies edge, with a little discomfort, noting always, that your mind and body edges are different. Remember, it is a practice, not a perfect!
Something people miss out on I think is the emotional connection of yoga. I’ve been to many classes where people come to get a workout and go through the motions and leave. And I’ve been to/taught/assisted in classes where people get frustrated because they can’t nail a pose or it’s not “challenging” enough…. it’s when I take these kind of classes that I feel connection. Feeling connection with self and with those around you. That’s why in my classes I encourage my students to challenge themselves but also to take rest when they FEEL like they need it. Soak in the moments you gift yourself with doing yoga, you never know what kind of magic you’ll discover when you unplug and move your body ❤️
What I wish students would know is that the physical practice of yoga, the asanas, is not a workout. It is a daily check in within the self, where you can use the breath to still the mind. It is not about preferences or trying to kick ass, as this would be a fluctuation of the mind or attachment, but about what shows up for us in the asana, either ease or struggle, and how we can use the safety of the mat to deal with those situations in a mindful way. Yoga Sutra 1:12 The thought patterns are quieted through practice and non attachment (Abhyasa vairagyabhyam tat nirodha)
Also, it is ok to not be able to do a posture. Postures come with time, dedication and patience. Lots of patience. And to be honest they are just choreography for the breath.
To be gentle with themselves. It is only with kindness and acceptance that the transformation is possible.
Practice is a dedicated time to let ourselves be guided so we can freely explore our everchanging emotional and physical inner landscape with curiosity and compassion. At any point we may receive insights from our highest selves and the ease we feel after class creates a space for us to bring those insights to fruition.
I want you to know that no one is looking at you while you practice! Trust me when I say that everyone is doing their best to flow and not fall over themselves. Let your mat be your space to explore and create and do your best to leave your doubts at the door. Laugh at yourself when you fall and smile through the wiggles and wobbles That being said I know how challenging this is – but that’s why you should keep coming back, it will get easier. Much love and I’ll see you laughing on your mat!
It’s ok to slow down. There is heart and beauty in aligning your attention and breath with your physical body. When we slow down our breath to initiate movements and harness our attention, the practice of yoga unfolds from a mere physical to a holistic practice.
One thing that I wish students knew about the practice of yoga is that your physical practice is a direct reflection of what is going on for you physically, mentally, and emotionally. If you have calm and relaxed you will be more aware of what is physically going on. If you are frustrated or stressed out you may find that you are working against your body rather than working with it. It’s perfectly fine to struggle though a practice and modify poses so that you can find that state of awareness on the mat.
I have been teaching for 2 and a half years. The value of breath in my practice is something that I have developed as a teacher and something I didn’t appreciate as much before. Really learning to let you breath guide your practice rather then the other way around has significantly changed and improved my practice. My personal practice is 90% ashtanga, 10% other classes I take when I have a chance. I started my personal Ashtanga practice at the same time as I became a teacher. This practice has really helped me find a daily, more disciplined yoga practice that I have been able to work through and see incredible changes in the last 2.5 years. Its extremely challenging, but also very rewarding, which is why I stick with it.
about the Q + A | Ask An Educator Series
Our blog series entitled Q + A | Ask An Educator is a fun way to get to know different teachers + Samatva support staff where I ask all of them a very random yoga-styled (lifestyle, food, music, book, asana, philosophy etc). My goal is to see the diversity in the responses, to help give many perspectives and insights into the same subject but dependent our each of our unique interpretation.
If you would like to read more from this series, please click here: http://yogasamatva.com/?s=ask+an+educator
The light and love in me bows to the light and love in you.
Om. Shanti. Shanti. Shanti. Jaime