Life is like … a yoga class

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There is a belief Β that many of us hold, that we have to progress or strive in life. We get meaning from meeting challenges and achieving our goals. But is this the truth?

Recently, I taught a Mindful Hatha yoga class with the intention of supporting people to grow in their asana practice. I wanted them to feel more confident in taking on postures that were out of their comfort zone.

I soon realized that participants have different intentions or needs. Not everyone wants to master a flow series or explore more challenging postures.

In fact, for practitioners who have come to yoga later in life, it may not be possible or advisable to attempt moves that put strain on wrists and knees, or require a strong core and flexibility…. And don’t get me started on trying heated yoga when your internal body temperature gauge is already worn out!

As we go through life our attitude and beliefs also change. Imagine your lifespan like a yoga class sequence.

Life is like … a yoga class

We start with the warm ups and prepare for later on.

We learn new skills and practice them to become more masterful.

We take on more challenging positions.

We keep learning and striving until we reach our peak.

Then we shift attention towards finding balance.

We slow down and tune in more to what is happening in our mind, body and inner being.

We relax.

We let go and take the time to nourish and restore ourselves.

Older yogis, like myself, may enjoy a good challenge now and again, but for the most part, we are at the stage in life where finding balance and appreciating the beauty of slowing down is more important. At the same time however, we must also maintain our strength and flexibility to stay healthy and mobile.

For me, I want my already worn parts to last me for as long as I need them! Muscle strains and Β tissue tears are no fun as we age, and can take a long time to heal.

Sometimes I forget. My job as a yoga teacher is to ensure my students are safe, and that they listen to what their body is telling them, not what the yoga teacher wants for them. Tuning in more to the participants and less to what you think they “should” be doing, is key to becoming a masterful yoga teacher.

Let us all encourage learning, and also be aware of when our own ego has taken over the class.

Namaste

 

84 responses to “Life is like … a yoga class

    • Thanks Kate! I have thought about it for my regular peeps when they are traveling or on vacation …. but I hadn’t thought about sharing with my WP friends. You’ve got me thinking 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  1. As my yogi said to me yesterday…”Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.” So much wisdom in practicing yoga and coming into a deeper awareness of our body, mind and spirit. πŸ’žβ€‹

    Liked by 2 people

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  3. Wonderful guidance Val. And yes…I agree with Kate above,…it would be amazing to be able to watch one of your classes on YouTube…so we could participate.
    Have a most lovely day Val…Namaste’

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love yoga because I can practice it anywhere anytime. My mat travels far and wide across the world. My poses are my life’s journey and they change as I do. Wonderful post Val πŸ™πŸ»

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m glad you wrote this. As one who has woven inside and outside of yoga classes, I weary of teachers who impose their own agendas. I weary of this in any discipline, but especially one that is ‘supposed’ to be spiritually based. I have been a perfectionist all my life – working many years on its deconstruction. I do Not need further discipline. I need flow, acceptance, grace. I practice these daily and assimilate into my life like-minded energies. I love yogic movements, and pratice my own style of it every morning and often during the day. Above all, mindfulness is key, and what many yogis taught for centuries – being mindful, in the body, in the Now. Grace. Aloha.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. I was chatting to Jean about avoiding stress at this time of our lives and mentioned you as a great example. Have just read out aloud this post to Jeannie and she appreciated your message, profoundly so! 😍

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for sharing with Jean! We really do t need to take on new challenges in order to prove something and feed our ego at this time. Nourish and nurture body mind and soul. Find the balance in life that works for you both. If a project comes up that lifts your spirit, go for it, but don’t let yourself be driven by old beliefs and conditioning.
      In other words … love, appreciate and enjoy πŸ’•πŸ’•

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Love this post. I find it challenging to go to live yoga classes because I feel as though I’m judged if I can’t do a headstand or can’t do full wheel pose. Perhaps that’s me being insecure, but I’ve had a few times where yoga instructors have to tried to “adjust” me, but don’t realize that I physically can’t bend in certain ways (chronic hip injury). Thank you for your mindfulness, this was a wonderful post!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you Cat. I believe that a yoga glass should be like a moving meditation, with the teacher guiding you to tune inwards. This is onthe Kripalu tradition. It sounds like the classes you have been going too are more targeted towards advanced asanas or Vinyasa. There are many different traditions and teachers out there. πŸ™

      Like

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  9. Love this article. I’m already close to burn out and am trying to find balance now rather than later. One reason I started my blog…to remind myself of this!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I loved this, it took me back to when I used to do yoga all the time! It was so peaceful and the group of people you have class with suddenly feel like they are connected to you yet we all different. I have a friend learning how to be an instructor (I have her interview on my blog), but the experience is definitely changing her worldly perspective. Do you have any advice for her, as an instructor yourself?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your kind words and insights. You made me consider what the difference is between and instructor and a teacher. I have never thought of myself as an instructor. Instructors deliver instructions on how to do things correctly. Teachers engage the students to acquire knowledge but also to learn from their own experience. I think that is the key πŸ™

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ohhh I never thought of the difference between being an instructor and teacher before, but they are different roles. In that sense, my yoga friend is seeking to become a teacher because not only does she want to share her own experiences and knowledge with her students, she wants to be able to gain different insights and skills from her students. Thank you Val πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

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  12. I could not agree more and I want to share this with my studio owner! It seems to be popular in our area to do the power vinyasa but we live in a retirement community where yin is huge. The vinyasa class I teach is more traditional and I aim to be inclusive. As such, a lot of older people tend to gravitate towards it! We have teachers here who are younger (I’m only 35 I know; but these girls are in their 20s!) who want to kick butts and have learned that with this community, it doesn’t work. I absolutely loved this. Thank you! Such a great reminder.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I liked this post a lot! As a newly trained yoga trainer, the part where you talked about being mindful of your students and letting them listen to their own bodies and limits was hammering. And how you relate life with Yoga is also a wonderful perspective! I blog about yoga too, about transcending the ‘exercise’ and making it an ‘asana.’ You can check it out too if you like. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

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