So much praise at YM… WHY?

PRAISE YOU 1:  Yoga is not about rewards and yet there is so much praise going on in the Yoga room; what is all this praise about? You might be thinking “I didn’t do anything different than usual or give any extra effort today or I actually sat out of that asana, what is going on”?  The instructors know how hard this practice is; how every little bit of progress is hard won and well earned for most.  This is a beginner’s Yoga but with many long term practitioners in the room the instructor needs to have a broader view on what accomplishment is and when it should be recognised. In our Yoga school recognition is given verbally by the instructor.  We believe the following list of accomplishments deserve acknowledgement:  That the practitioner is: working in the right direction / putting in an extra effort / holding an extra second more than previously / going an extra millimetre / holding good form rather than pursuing depth or height / holding good form despite the challenges the environment presents / breathing has been added to the practice after months of holding of the breath J / doing something that is really REALLY hard for them personally / creating a beautiful expression of the asana

PRAISE YOU 2:  The practice is not all about ploughing through or working longer, harder, deeper, higher. Having practiced around the world I have often seen deep/high practitioners be the least focused, biggest fidgeter in the room. TOO OFTEN the deeper, higher pose is held up as an example of what can be achieved as an outward expression BUT for many of us (myself included) this can seem a long way off, YET the introspective aspect of Yoga can be achieved BY ALL very quickly (if practiced) and so in the same vein I will also praise the practitioner who: has chosen to HONOUR their body’s current needs by RESTING if necessary / has BACKED OFF and reassessed their technique / is working in a better more MINDFUL way than before / has finally left out the extra actions and flourishes that have actually been tiring them out and getting in the way of their best expression of Asana / hasn’t fidgeted for the first time in their practice.

The instructor might realise: the individual needs encouragement as it was a big struggle just to get to class today / might be feeling a little under par and therefore ANY effort put in is TREMENDOUS.

PRAISE YOU 3:  ‘The Praise List’ could be endless ~ you see there are SO MANY THINGS TO BE POSITIVE ABOUT from the instructor’s point of view and the instructor is weighing it all up in split second.  Similarly, an instructor may recognise that the practitioner just needs to be left alone during the class to work on their Yoga in their best way today (safe practice prevailing of course) because just walking through the Yoga studio door today was the victory for them and they HELD THEIR OWN against a rising tsunami of negative thoughts; HEY! there are always so many reasons not to go to Yoga!

YOGA IS VERY PERSONAL, it is unique to the individual and their experience of it will be different to the person on the mat next to them. WHEN THEY TRY THE ASANA  ON FOR SIZE IT WILL ‘EXPRESS’ DIFFERENTLY IN THEIR BODY.  Yes it is scientific in that you repeat certain actions in a certain way and YOU WILL GET certain RESULTS but we/you are working with unique bodies and minds and so whilst all working with the same 26/2 asana you must be realistic about the outcome. These unique bodies and minds come at differing ages, times and frequencies with different histories and diets and different demands on those bodies and minds outside the Yoga room.

PRAISE YOU 4: So Bikram Yoga IS FOR EVERYONE and EVERY BODY. WE GIVE IT ALL WE’VE GOT and we do what we can and what we can do will be different everyday and we rest when we need to and push ourselves when we have that little extra to give And somehow we stay motivated and work on, not judging ourselves or those on the mats next to us. There are moments when we need more Yoga and days when we need to back off. It is part of the journey learning what your body and mind need on the day and adjusting yourself accordingly. The ideal sustainable practice is the one that works for the individual where they are at. So long as they have Yoga in their lives, however imperfect it may be, then I am happy they have a tool at their behest that can positively affect how they feel about themselves and help them maintain their body.

{When YM Challenges loom we will be focussing on the “more Yoga is better” crew and their needs. This is not an unbalanced way of doing things, it is just one method of moving forward for those who want to take it up.}

No – Yoga is not all about quantity and SO WE HONOUR AND CELEBRATE: the once a week crew, the 3xweek crew, the morning crew, the weekend crew and the Yogis who come to class when they need to/want to. They are not being neglected during the Challenge, they are right there in the midst of all this working away healthily on their personal needs. It is just the Challengers are fortunate enough at this moment in time to be able to make the commitment to take their Yoga experiences up a gear. The Challengers will be in the hot room and ‘practicing’ honouring of their bodies needs on the day. Boundaries will be nudged. There will be falling down. There will be getting up again. There will be breakthroughs. There will be success. There will be Self enquiry. There will be stalemate. There will be acceptance. There will not be judging. There will not be measuring. At some level there will be CHANGE and ~THERE WILL BE YOGA~ 🙂 . Yoga occurs when the mind is still. Someone somewhere in the room is going to experience this at some in every asana. This is the stuff you cannot see externally.

There is lots of ‘head stuff’ that goes along with this Yoga especially in the beginning.  Mental hygiene practicing affirmations / mantras, practicing thinking kind thoughts towards yourself, your body as well as towards others / your neighbouring practitioner.  I tell myself that this is what will make us more/better at being humankind rather than just human. The more you practice it becomes a habit, a way of living. The more you practice the good head stuff you get better at it. And the stillness in between takes a footing and spreads.  When you Challenge yourself to do more Yogasana than usual it brings some of these things to the fore and augments them in your life.

Namaste ~ Trisha

11 November 2013

Raja Yoga ~ Part I – Ethics

Yoga Ethics ~ Part II ~ Yamas (Restraints)

Yoga Ethics ~ Part III ~ Niyamas (Observances)