My approach to yoga is simple… yoga is and can be accessible for everyone. I teach in a non-dogmatic way believing not every pose is suitable for every student with traditional alignment but with a few adjustments, it can be. In particular introducing those new to yoga to this concept, that the ‘prettiest looking’ option of the pose is not necessarily the right one.
Instagram, in this instance with the plethora of yogis showcasing their stunning variations of asanas are beautiful to look at, but in the great scheme of many body shapes, not a true reflection of what 99% of the population could ever achieve.
I believe it’s important to allow my yogis to feel and become aware of their body as I teach them the target areas of what we are trying to achieve so they can learn to modify their poses to their unique body shape or muscle function. I hope to set my yogis on a path of yoga for life, so learning what suits their body best will be paramount in securing their love for yoga and perhaps even a personal practise at home.
I believe with my experience in different yoga styles and drawing on the ideologies and benefits of them, I can find where these poses serve my yogis best. One size certainly doesn’t fit all. In my Yin Yoga training we were shown hip joints of three different women of similar ages and lifestyles …it was quite inspiring to see. In one of them the hip joint showed the femur was completely enclosed in the pelvis, in essence this means there would be no way this yogi would ever find any external rotation in the hip like in pigeon or splits pose accessible. She would most certainly need props to help her feel comfortable within the pose.
Part of my ethos is helping my yogis understand their limitations, but work with them to find the full depth of their potential of flexibility for their own optimal health. Did I say ‘their’ enough there? I want to stress that yoga is completely personal, I am passionate that it shouldn’t be competitive and we should pay absolutely no attention to the yogi practising beside us. Their practise is completely different. They are on a different path, their body is completely different. It is so important to realise this. Once we turn our intentions inward, only then will we truly be able to honour our self practise.
In yoga “We do not use the body to get into a pose – we use the pose to get into our body.” Bernie Clark
I know you think that’s this is all easy for me to say as I’m ‘flexible’ and can do the splits etc .. great for a party trick, however actually it can be a curse. I have had to work so hard to train and strengthen my muscle groups surrounding my joints so I do not just collapse into these poses. In the future, this would be hugely detrimental on the wear and tear on my joints if my muscle groups aren’t working correctly. Especially as the peri-menopausal phase of my life is looming. Osteopenia is reversible through using balancing postures like we do in yoga but resistance training is essential too.
And actually it was only through doing yoga that I’ve managed to increase my flexibility to be able to achieve full splits both sides!
In conclusion, my main aim is to keep our functionality as we age, by strength, mobility, flexibility – combined with the healing effects of the breath and relaxation, alongside sleep therapies such as Yoga Nidra. The overall benefits of a full-rounded practise like this will help us realise the potential of our health and well-being.
I look forward to helping you find your peace, your alignment and the depth of your flexibility and to see the improvements in your quality of life through yoga 💜.