Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Flexibility of Mind (link)

People are, generally, pretty inflexible.  And I'm not referring to physical flexibility but mental flexibility.  I think we're witnessing this in our political system right now, I see it in peoples food choices (a refusal to eat anywhere but *insert chain restaurant here*), how they cope with their significant other or kids, and one's interaction with co-workers in the workplace.   We become very rigid in our thinking and manners.

But yet, a portion of us want to teach yoga.  Great!   But are you approaching the poses like you approach the afore mentioned items?  You were taught "this is THE way to do it and the ONLY way to do it?"  How is that flexible? 

I have witnessed this first hand in the Ashtanga tradition.  Guruji (aka Pattabhi Jois) said "X" and therefore, it shall be "X" because tradition says so. 

WTF?  Seriously?  B as in B and S as in S. 

Now don't get me wrong.  I LOVE the Ashtanga lineage.  I love the sequencing (okay, some days I don't), I love the meditative aspect I can get from the Primary Series that I just can't seem to achieve in a vinyasa class.  But the traditional Ashtanga lineage as taught  by the Mysore Institute is very structured and formalized.  It is very rigid in what a student can and cannot do.   Which is why I personally, cannot follow a traditional Mysore style Ashtanga practice.  I need to be able to work outside the box.  As an instructor, I need to be able to explore other poses and different ways to link those poses together. 

And so it was with great interest that I read this on Do Restorative Yoga's blog:



I can't agree enough with most aspects of the full excerpt.  It IS important to be able to meet individual students needs - for example, I have a student, male, in his 60's, 6'7", 190lbs if he's standing in the rain.  I have a student, female, in her 30's, 5'3", maybe 100lbs with her winter boots on?   It may be Utthita Hasta Padangustasa, but I cannot teach it the same way to both.   Their anatomy is completely different.  Same pose, different bodies. 


Picture from Bing.com; Mount Nemrut in Turkey. 
These folks are a bit set in their ways....