Being in the Right Place at the Right Time…
Have you ever walked into a yoga class and felt like Alice in Wonderland entering into the wild tea party? Did you find yourself sitting anxiously on the floor with your knees around your ears wondering how you were going to relax with your hips already screaming at you? As you were instructed to breathe deeply and relax into your seat, was your back screaming do something, anything, don’t just sit here! Yet you felt if you moved you’d call attention to your awkward self.
So, instead you remain, feigning peace because you want to experience the bliss that seems to be happening in the 20 or so yogis engaged in their breath and their bandhas. Bandhas? What the heck is a bandha you wonder as the teacher encourages you to lift from the root of your perineum and feel the energy flowing up your sushumna nadi. My what? Naughty? I thought yoga was a wholesome practice. What’s so naughty about yoga?
The turbulent doubts in your mind continue to flood forth as you are led briskly through a multitude of positions that feel both comforting and terrifying. As you race from one pose to another, just trying to keep up with the flow, you sense the possibility of danger. But… you want to keep at it. You’ve heard that yoga is good for you. If you persist with the practice you could possibly find nirvana.
And so, you continue to flail around on your mat, peeking out from under your sweat-drenched brow to figure out what the teacher means by chataranga dandansana. As you attempt to emulate the graceful flow of those around you, you hear a pop. Is that a good thing? Did I open to some new freedom of movement or did I just tear the sh*t out of my shoulder?
It’ll be fine, you tell yourself. I’m fine, as you continue to push through, because, well, you want to be a part of this trendy exercise community. You want to fit in and reach enlightenment by the end of your 60-minute experience. Maybe, if you just keep going, it will all make sense. You push, you grunt, you breathe, you feel a twinge of empowerment. And finally, you are directed to lay down on your mat and sink into the puddle of bliss that you are. Yeah right, bliss. Exhausted, your concern is that your next class will be in the physical therapist’s office. And you may just be right.
As yoga has grown in popularity, so have yoga injuries. The number of people with a yoga injury serious enough to send them to their local emergency room has increased by almost 80% in just seven years, according to a new study. People are constantly pushing themselves too far too fast and then concluding that they just can’t do yoga or worse yet, that yoga hurt them.
The solution? Start at the beginning and place yourself in a class that addresses your individual needs and abilities. If you are a newbie, start with fundamentals. If you are a seasoned yogi, step into an in-depth workshop to gain deeper understanding and more advanced skills that will take you to the next level of your practice, safely.
Much like a skier first learns how to buckle their boots and clamp them into a pair of skies, it’s a good idea for a yogi to learn how to stand well on their own two feet. (There is so much more to it than meets the eye.) When stepping into the sport of alpine skiing, it is recommended to begin on the bunny hill to discover the techniques for turning and stopping as well as how to load and unload the chairlift.
Placing oneself in a densely populated vinyasa flow class is akin to heading to the top of the mountain’s black diamond run on day one. You have a good chance of hurting yourself. Not to be confused with the fault of the mountain, nor the skis, nor the teacher, nor the yoga. There is skill involved that is necessary for building your strength, your mobility and your grace which will allow you to then experience the activity, be it skiing or yoga, with right action and right effort.
Yoga, in its purest form, is a spiritual practice. It’s about listening, feeling, and embracing the present moment. It teaches us to be still, quiet and content, even in our movements. It’s not about getting anywhere or achieving a particular pose. It’s about slowing down the breath, quieting the mind and recognizing that any enlightenment we seek is within our own heart.
There is a practice that is suitable for everyone. This will vary depending on who you are, where you are in life, and what results you are wanting to experience. Every decade of your life is meant to be treated differently than the last, because let’s face it, with each decade our lives, our bodies, even our beliefs, change. Be mindful to find the teacher and the environment that aligns with your current interests and abilities.
Consider addressing yoga as a course of study to fully understand the process, knowing that knowledge is the key to preventing injuries. By forever embracing the beginner’s mindset, you will continually refine the details of technique with right action, effectiveness and great reward.
Are you ready to be the student guided by an experienced and well-educated teacher that attends to your individual needs? Are you willing to address the fundamentals and apply the key elements that will keep you safe and sound? Are you a seasoned yogi wanting to take your practice to the next level – physically as well as spiritually? Then YogaMotion Wellness Academy is your place to be. Come build your foundation and expand your skills so you can step into any yoga practice, anytime, anywhere with confidence and grace, knowing exactly how to take care of yourself while enjoying the process beyond the pose. Now that’s enlightenment.