Your Body is Your Best Teacher

Apr 27, 2013 by






There are all sorts of styles of yoga classes and I love them all. Unlike the early days of yoga in the U.S., there is now a wide range of types from which to choose. You may take classes requiring props and patience as you allow the body to open; or classes that cultivate deep awareness of yoga’s effects while assuming postures foreign to normal life, engaging muscles in lengthy holdings. You can find classes in hot rooms that make pores weep toxins, or you might enjoy energetic, muscle-building, continuous movement classes.

Which class is the right class for you?

This is where you become your best yoga teacher. As you look inward, your intuition will show you what you need. Good questions to begin your search are:

Would this style assist me in balancing my life?

·       Will this class lead me to becoming pain-free?

·       Does it establish an environment where I can open my mind and heart?

·       Will it help me to become comfortable with myself exactly as I am?

·       At the end of the session will I feel energized?

·       Will participation lead to increased happiness?

After you’ve made a decision about which style of yoga best answers the above questions,  you still have your every-changing body to consider. The nervous system and the state of your physiology vary from practice to practice. What is best for one day might be terrible for the next practice. This means you benefit from assessing each day how to best use the class you’ve chosen. Again, your inner yoga teacher will play an active role.

It’s always helpful to check your energy level (you can rate yourself on a 1 – 10 scale) at the beginning of each session. Once you’d determined your beginning point, you know how to approach the postures; low energy level means you find your very soft edge (edge = the place between ease and effort) during each holding, or it might even be a day to sit out some offerings. If you’re balanced and moderately energetic, hold into a more edgy level while in postures, and you might even hold each asana (posture) extra long.

If you’re barely able to hold yourself down while the class sits in breath-practice you might perform a noisier ujjayi breath  (ocean sounding breath – a breath that facilitates drawing your attention inward) and remind yourself that yoga’s intention is to bring you into a more sensitive union with your wholeness.

Also, prepare yourself for refusing to do what is being offered. Your body might not be capable of moving in some ways, even though the older person next to you appears to perform the asana effortlessly. Perfecting postures doesn’t necessarily relate to age. We are unique in body construction, in patterns of using our body, in injuries sustained or whatever. Despite the frequency with which your teacher asks you to leave your ego at the door, not comparing yourself to your neighbor is a very challenging element of taking a yoga class. We all want to do whatever is requested, especially if it’s what everyone else is doing. But sometimes the only route to avoiding injury, and to getting the most out of a class, is to oppose the teacher and listen to your body. It might be a stretch to accept your uniqueness, but it just might be the best thing for you. Breathe, relax and feel, and your inner yoga teacher will spring to action.

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