Don’t Nourish the Flourish

More experienced students taking places in front few rows please/should be aware of the newbies placed behind them and try to lead by example: remembering not to insert extra movements/quirks/flourishes as new practitioners may copy what they see. Please do not be surprised if the instructor appears to continually pick up students placing themselves in the front two rows doing anything ‘out of the ordinary’ especially if they are experienced practitioners in those rows.  I will be writing a separate post on the power of visuals shortly and this will help you understand why I deem it necessary to pick people up on these seemingly minor details.

One of the things a more regular practitioner will be doing during their 90 minutes in class is  learning to activate/co-ordinate the right muscle contractions and joint positions whilst trying to make the movements more graceful, accurate and efficient. This is enough to be doing without adding in extras!  The key characteristic of a graceful movement IS efficiency and efficiency happens when no effort is wasted on unnecessary muscle contraction/tension or extra movements.

This is why newer people are always working harder than the regulars; because they are attempting to ‘control’ motion TOO MUCH and sometimes in the wrong way in the belief it will effect MORE POSTURE i.e. the ‘ol ‘more is better’ idea… THIS IS OK, OK? This is part of the journey and this is why they come to class environment to listen to the instructor and over time they will get it.  Put simply, EXPERIENCE will help them to reduce wasted effort and they will stop contracting muscles needlessly as they increase awareness of their body and its quirks and start to judge more accurately the effect of positions on their body and they will then start to move in a better way to get better effect…

This post is my opinion and is designed to help YM practitioners become aware of their movement characteristics PARTICULARLY flourishes.

WHAT IS A ‘FLOURISH’? As a noun it is defined as “a bold or EXTRAvagant gesture or action, made especially to attract the attention of others.”

WHAT IS A FLOURISH IN YOGASANA? It is exactly that; it is an EXTRA ordinary action that will DISTRACT the attention of others.  It is not necessary to the achieving of the pose.

Here’s a few examples to illustrate: HALF MOON: before lifting arms up overhead sideways in ‘Half Moon’ a practitioner who likes flourishes may first cross their arms low down in front of their torso before sweeping them up; almost seems like a move you might see in ballet, very pretty but not necessary.  BALANCING STICK:  A flourish I fear I am guilty of starting! 🙂 It came about when I would demonstrate set up for this posture in the early days of teaching – in my attempt to emphasise that the weight in the starting position for Balancing Stick should be on the front leg, I did a’ Lift.Quick.March’ 🙂 type movement to get my front leg/foot into position. I stress again, this was just by way of emphasising where the weight should be.  To this day there are probably people scattered around the globe still doing this and crediting me for this little ‘extra big knee bend and dramatic step forward’. When a teacher does something like this it is awkward for other teachers to ‘unteach’ so I do feel guilty about it but I guess it’ll give them a chance to hone their ‘unteaching’ skills  🙂 .  CAMEL: On exiting Camel bringing hands into prayer position at front of chest. I did it myself for a while in early days of practice; it is one of those visuals that I ‘caught’ from someone else I saw doing it and thought it looked nice. It may be the form in another school of Yoga but it is not Bikram method.

In the early days of practice with so little other than the blue book to reference for this Art we practice I was busy ‘adding’ things in and showing it off in the belief I had ‘discovered’ something new about the Yoga that wasn’t in the book. You heard it here first folks; ‘The book’ does not cover every minutiae of this practice for the individual body; this is why you come to class (not all those add ons were the right ‘add ons’ but that is a subject for another post).  In the early days of practice when you are primarily taking in visuals, if you see someone you believe to be more experienced practitioner than yourself doing these extra actions you will likely copy them in the belief that they must know what they are doing and at that point you want to be doing what the experienced people do and so you simply add it in even though the instructor didn’t tell you to do it (see coming post about power of visuals).

SO NOW, I hope you SEE, a flourish creates a visual that is distracting and also catching. Mostly I don’t mind them but they are unnecessary.  Some of them may appear graceful but they are not efficient and when you are working so hard in the hot room believe me! you want to reduce the effort necessary to perform the Yogasanas.  Savor the gracefulness of efficient movement; set up well, only ATTACH extra moves to the set up when instructed and only move what is necessary to effect the instruction.


Love Trisha

October 2016

For more scroll down ‘YOU & US’ ‘Love Yoga’ for info on practical purpose and use of mirrors during class; Also enhance your knowledge other YM blogs written for you LINKS {Mirror Mirror} {see your belly} {free your belly} {Look At You} {Darshana}