Friday, April 4, 2008

Too Much Too Soon... (or, on going back to class)

So this week I have returned to yoga class for the first time since before Yule.

On Wednesday morning I went to the Iyengar teacher who lives just around the corner from me - she has converted the ground floor of her three floor Victorian semi into a yoga studio, a very peaceful beautiful yoga studio.

I fall in and out of love with the Iyengar method of yoga. It's very precise, concentrates on alignment and correct positioning of feet, hands and spine - all of which really help with my own alignment and scoliosis. However, on the flip side I feel it concentrates too much on the alignment and "correct" way of doing a posture, rather than working with the capabilities and limitations of the individual and at the expense of stillness, pranayama and meditation. In conclusion then, whilst I enjoyed the session, my sacrum and sacro-iliac joints were burning by the end of the 90 minute class and by the end of the day I was in screaming agony. I am not a great believer in pushing your body too far - I appreciate that sometimes a person needs to push, but not to this extent. Again it is an example of my need to practice having "enough", not reaching out and grasping for more, wanting for more than my body can achieve.

So yesterday I went to a Satyananda class in Clapham. A much more gentle and subtle practice - less asana based, far more pranayama and meditation. I have found over the last couple of years that my own personal practice has become much gentler, much more based on the movement of the breath and the length in the spine rather than pushing to achieve complicated asana. And that is why I love Satyananda - especially in this venue; a little attic with skylights on a sunny April morning. There is of course a flipside to this as well - Satyananda doesn't speak fully to me. There is almost a sense of ignoring the body for the energy of the breath and mind, and while I am not against that per se, there is an aspect of yoga that is about healing the body as well. I also teach yoga from a Western perspective - we are living in a Western culture after all and for a lot of people there is a lot about yoga in it's completely classical form that does not ring true. This doesn't mean of course I won't be returning to the Thursday morning Satyananda class - I will, it was just what I needed and filled with people I know and trained with!

I have two problems with classes at the moment. The first it purely a timetabling one. I cannot make evening classes as I am teaching myself - same goes for Saturday and Monday mornings. And I cannot find a single Tuesday morning class anywhere in Surrey or South West London! Come May I will be working three days a week and thus far it seems those days will be Wed-Fri. I really need to go to as many classes as I can while I can!

The second is that I trained and teach in the Viniyoga style of TKV Desikachar. I believe that yoga is healing, both physically and emotionally, but that everybody's bodies need different things, in approaches to both asana and pranayama. This is why my classes are so small and why I teach different classes on different days. Not everything is for everyone. However, it would appear I am the only Viniyoga teacher in the area as well. And I cannot go to my own lessons.

I trained in north London and it's a long and expensive trek for a yoga class....

But enough, it is a beautiful April morning, and time for my own practice in the sunshine.

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