What Kind of Yoga do you teach?
The various kinds of yoga on offer can be pretty bewildering. There are many different schools and styles. Timetables are full of hot, vinyasa, Ashtanga, Iyengar, Restorative, Yin and many more up to the infamous goat yoga!
All of these forms of yoga are part of the physical practice of yoga which is called Hatha Yoga. In Sanskrit, Hatha means ‘force’. Hatha Yoga is the umbrella term for all physical yoga practices (there are other yoga practices which do not involve making shapes with your body).
I teach Hatha Yoga with an eye to helping students feel grounded and centred, connected to their breath and bodies. What kinds of postures I teach will depend on the students in front of me. I do not teach within a particular school of yoga nor do I teach a particular style. I am interested in teaching yoga in an accessible and inclusive way that leads to students feeling more at ease.
Don’t you need to be flexible to practice yoga?
So many of the images we see of yoga depict people bending their bodies into extraordinary shapes! These of course make for interesting pictures and there certainly are practitioners for whom pushing the boundaries of their own strength and flexibility is a meaningful path.
However this athletic approach is not the only path and as I say elsewhere on this site – you don’t need to be bendy, skinny and exist on green juice to do yoga. If you have a body and you breathe then you can experience yoga and there will be a teacher and a class for you. Try this. Sit right now on your chair with your feet flat on the ground. Roll your shoulders and sit up tall. Place your hands in your lap. Close your eyes and take a deep breath in through your nose. Let the breath out with a sigh. There. You have begun your yoga practice!
I’m not calm enough to practice yoga and meditation – I’ve got a busy mind.
One popular misconception is that if you do yoga and meditation you must be very calm. I smile and nod when people make this remark but I often think – you should really speak to my family! I am a human being who experiences big emotions and upsets just like anyone else. Like many people I sometimes find myself overwhelmed by my own thoughts.
In meditation the goal is not to stop thoughts. In fact a common way to begin is to simply sit and observe the chatter of the mind. In my sitting meditation practice I almost always start with noticing that my thoughts are incessantly calling my attention. I sit with the discomfort as my mind rattles through a manic list of fears, regrets, to dos, practical concerns, planning and ideas. If you sit with this for long enough, patiently observing and acknowledging without getting caught and involved in each thought you slowly begin to touch something else. That part of you which is not caught up with the thoughts and the busyness. That part of you which is separate from your thoughts, your judgments, your ideas. So if you’ve got a busy mind and you feel this is an obstacle to meditation, it’s not. It’s just more material to work with!