"Yoga is not about touching your toes, it's about what you learn on the way down." Judith Hanson-Lasatar
This month the focus for our practice is "Yogi Choice." Because no specific intention for June presented itself to me, I will invite you to choose your own (which of course you are always welcome to do anyway!).
What did present itself to me, is an idea for a new offering within each class that I am calling "Pose of the Month." What does that mean? Read on...
I love the quote above from Judith Lasatar, but at the same time, I also love exploring increasingly complex poses to see what my body can do. Maybe you do, too? The ability to touch ones toes in dandasana (staff pose), or press ones heels to the floor in downward-facing dog (adho mukha svanasana), or <fill in the blank> for your favorite pose, is one of the most tangible rewards of our practice! So why are yoga teachers (myself included), so often telling us to back off on poses we are reaching for?
And why do we care about alignment? Because in addition to making sure we are practicing safely, without proper alignment, we lose the overall benefit of the pose.
One of the most surprising and rewarding learnings from my 200-hour yoga certification program, was how the use of props, a consistent practice, and taking the time to get comfortable in each step of a pose (you hear me call them "bust stops") accelerated not only my ability to master that pose, but it also made it much easier for me to learn new ones. Despite years of practice, when I started the program, I was certain there were some poses I would never be able to fully master because of my anatomy, bone structure, or limitations from various sports injuries, etc. I was wrong. Although there are many poses that I am still working on, some I thought I would never do now come relatively easily.
Why? Because, alignment.
All that said, trying to get our alignment perfect in every pose of every practice can feel tedious, exhausting and even defeating! So instead, starting this week, we'll focus on a single pose each month and try to get it juuuuust right.
We'll start with Triangle Pose (Trikonasana). We'll still flow through a typical vinyasa offering, but when we get to Triangle, we'll slow it down a little more and take our time to build the pose from the base up. Even if you've been practicing yoga for years, you might be surprised at how going back to the basics of a pose today, will make it stronger tomorrow.
I look forward to seeing you!
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Jamie Walton is a Yoga Alliance certified yoga teacher with more than 8 years (1000+ hours) of experience teaching group exercise classes, and has been certified by the American Red Cross to administer First Aid and CPR.