Jake Laub has an interesting article on One Commune about his journey from professional ballet into yoga.
Jake writes about the fundamental disconnect he discovered between ballet and yoga.
“Yoga and ballet are so far apart on the movement spectrum that they curve around and settle next to each other in our minds. Kind of like how the political far left and far right can act in surprisingly similar ways even as they hold diametrically opposing values. The spectrum is U shaped, but you can’t simply hop over the gap.
There are many similarities between ballet and yoga – an emphasis on precise body alignment, breath technique, mental focus – but at its core yoga is about your relationship with yourself, and ballet (and professional dance in general) is about how your body looks to other people.
Yoga is inward – “What new domains can I explore within my body? How am I reacting to this pose or breath pattern in this moment?” There is no absolute right or wrong.
Professional dance is outward – “Is this what my choreographer wants? Do I look fabulous?” The audience is always right.
That form-over-feeling mentality, backed by years of stage training, was ultimately the last aspect of my dancer-self to soften. Within a year my shoulders had opened, my hips had realigned and my wrists could hold me in handstand. But even then the yoga teacher was always my director, the sequence my choreography, and the yogi next to me my audience.
It wasn’t until at least five years into my yoga journey that I let myself be guided on the mat by internal goals as opposed to external ones, that how I looked to myself inside was more important than how I looked outside.
It was a long journey, but eventually I trekked all the way around the U.”
The fundamental shift in yoga is to be inward looking, rather than outward. It’s not about what you wear, what you look like, how well you copy the teacher or how you compare yourself to the person next to you.
Yoga is a journey of self exploration and transformation. It’s not about being flexible or being able to touch your toes, it’s about what happens to you as you begin to feel into your body and connecting with your mind and spirit. Your relationship with your self changes forever.
Join me in the New Year with a fresh approach to Gentle Yoga.
Beginners, and those those wanting to refresh their practice are welcome on Wednesdays at 9.30am ET via zoom.
Check out the new schedule on the Yoga Community page.