Each month in classes I have a specific focus, and I do this because it adds depth to your practice. I’m not an instructor, I’m a teacher. To teach requires time and commitment and I’m lucky to have students that understand that.
Students don’t attend for a little stretch, meditation and relaxation, they turn up each week to learn something. It’s a means of learning about themselves and this ‘practice’ which millions of people share around the world and dates back centuries.
Yoga is fairly unrecognisable from ‘traditional’ practices, and with good reason; the way we use our body bears little resemblance to our ancestors, or even our parent’s generation. A wise movement practitioner evolves.
I read a book recently called A Beautiful Constraint, it’s about how to make constraints i.e. limitations beautiful… an advantage… to see them as an opportunity for creativity.
That’s what I’m doing this month; I’m going to teach a Down Dog free month. In fact Digby (pictured) is the only dog I'll be around for June.
There’s nothing wrong with downward facing dog, it’s a great posture, lots of benefits and it’s fun to do. However when practiced consistently with plank, chaturanga (that reverse press up where elbows are in close to the body) and cobra (a mini sequence which is called Vinyasa) the practitioner strengthens the shoulder muscles that push. This is at the expense of the shoulder muscles that pull. So people that practice this sequence a lot (so more than 3 times a week) are creating muscular imbalances. Yoga is meant to be something that balances and strengthens the body, but if you always make the same shapes... it won't!
This constraint of a down dog free month has forced me to consider what I teach, and the benefits… So now we see how this self imposed limitation is going to give birth to something beautiful; I've given myself the chance to be incredibly creative, and I have a chance to put some pull into shoulders, not just push. I’m excited for June, are you?
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