This term I am focussing on the journey in yoga. It’s very easy, when you see beautiful bendy bodies in yoga books and magazines, to imagine that yoga is all about being athletic and that you will never achieve the perfect postures you see in front of you.
Much as I would love to perfect the Side Crane Pose, sadly I much too heavy, and I would need a crane to get me there! (For all inventors out there – the Yogic Crane – hoist yourself into complex postures – no actually please don’t).
Happily, that is not what yoga is about. It’s about the inner journey. The postures are there to help prepare you for that. The breathing exercises we practice in Pranayama are there to prepare you for that. So please don’t ever be put off because you can’t do a magnificent example of the final variation of any posture. In yoga there are always modifications and adjustments that you can do, without affecting the integrity of the pose. And that’s the key to yoga:. keeping the integrity of the pose, And that’s why Yoga really is for everyone.
So, this term my Friday class is working ‘Towards the Shoulderstand’ – this week we are starting with the Bridge (Setu Bandha) and it’s more flowing version, the Two-Foot Support (Dvi Padapitham). Working on the spine, using the breath, and beginning to strengthen the triceps. The triceps play an invaluable role in the shoulder stand, keeping unwelcome pressure off the neck.
I’m excited about starting my Wednesday evening de-stressing class tomorrow. The theme for this term is ‘Exploring the Breath’. Most of us don’t even realise we are breathing. So it seems a good place to start, for busy, stressed people, just to get in touch with the breath and find out where it goes and what it does.
The class is for anybody who’d like an hour after work to learn about breathing, relaxation, living mindfully and beginning meditation. No change of clothes required – just take off your shoes.