Wheel, tadasana, warrior 2, trikonasana, Padangusthasana, boat pose, Dhanurasana, Camel pose……blah blah blah.
If you know what some of these are then great. If you don’t know what any of these are, that is also great. Some people will say, if you don’t know all the names of the postures then you shouldn’t be doing them or teaching them. I have been to classes before where the Sanskrit name of a posture is used and then not taught. Expecting everyone, old & new to get into the pose with no instruction. I taught for 6 years, constantly struggling to remember the pesky names of the pesky poses! Then I had an epiphany……they don’t really matter.
I have a fascination with watching how bodies move and encouraging them to move with more freedom and ease.
I know this is not achieved with static postures.
However static postures have their time to shine. It is achieved by taking your joints through their intended ranges of motion on a regular basis. Physical freedom in life is not discovered by learning/knowing all the correct names or being able to find full Pincha pose! If it is your bag to do this, then enjoy that element but it is not necessary. Simple.
Recently I have seen super challenging and ‘pretty’ yoga poses becoming more and more prevalent in the online world. 2 / 3 years ago I would have found these both impressive and demoralising at the same time. They held this image for me of where I thought I should be going with my practice. Now, having been teaching yoga for over 10yrs and practicing for over 15yrs……those images make me want to protect both current practitioners and anyone new to the movement world. They are beautiful to look at but they are not Yoga. They may be doable for you and fun to work on but we must not confuse this with why we practice.
I see those poses like consumerism…..once you have achieved it….you then want something else. Life & Movement should be about something other than targets, it should just be a part of who you are.
You should be able to try something new with failure or success and be ok with either.
In Indian Philosophy and Yoga, this is called – Aparigraha
“Let your concern be with the action alone, and never with the fruits of action. Do not let the results of your action be your motive, and do not be attached to inaction” - Krishna
So, yes postures are wonderful but I believe it is more important to practice how you get into them. I believe you should flow into them with ease and fluidity, without having to pay too much attention to your balance. This happens when your body is working as one unit and is used to opening your hips to transition, or pivoting around your functional foot/ankle etc.
Making your way into that posture is as important as the posture itself. In fact, I regularly move in and out of the same posture, in different ways to stimulate all the fibres surrounding the joints in motion. We cannot function without motion. Every step you take, every shower, every time you clean, every time you get dressed is motion. The human body is never completely still. Stand up right now and try to be completely still and pay deep attention to your centre of mass. You will feel that you are making continuous micro movements to keep returning yourself to centre. Obviously Shavasana is different!
Take a look at the below pictures and find different ways to move in and out of them. You can add any new moves to get there, any wiggles, reaches etc. Maybe eventually stringing them together in various different ways. Make it fun!
This is how I format my classes and personal practice. Not only is it way more fun and less stress inducing than repeatedly trying to ‘perfect’ something but it transfers into life off the mat.
Non Attachment – Aparigraha (you don’t have to remember this by the way!!)
Become a free member today, see what this way of moving can offer you and maybe an elusive posture will one day present itself in your practice without you even working towards it. We have enough load on us these days, take a load off, take expectation away and just explore.
Until next time. Keep living more