“The path or mastering something in not only doing the best you can do at it, but also doing its the best it can be done.”
Each weekend I invest in continuing education training, I’m reminded of how important it is to find highly skilled and qualified teachers to lead the way on our yogic path. This, I posit, is of utmost importance because our bodies will always take the path of least resistance in yoga. If left to the body, and it’s oft-times indolent druthers, for instance, a tight upper back and shoulders will result in incorrect referral, transfering the work to the lower back, where the joint is more flexible.
As a teacher of Alignment Based Yoga, I witness this in my body and my student’s bodies every day. Our brain is sending signals to our muscles to work. Some muscles overwork and some underwork. The programming can be very much askew and for the most part, it’s reflexive, until you begin the journey into investigating HOW YOU MOVE.
I tell my students all the time, I’m more interested in how, rather than what, they move. In my Iyengar Yoga Teacher training we are taught to look for, and understand how, to create right action in the body, in the muscles, and even in the skin. We do this by precise anotomical qeuing and clear demonstrations, permitting time to allow the students to explore the actions asked in each posture. This is the study of yoga.
B.K.S Iyengar said: “Action is movement with intelligence. The world is filled with movement. What the world needs instead, is conscious movement and more action.”
The first yoga Sutra and our inquiry of yoga prompts us to query:
What am I doing? Why am I doing that? Is this the right action? Wrong action? Can I change it? We can only change something if we see it. This is the job of an Iyengar teacher. To show the students how they can overcome the body’s habits and obstacles through intelligent practice. It’s not always popular because most people don’t want to be told they are doing something incorrectly. It’s important for the student to be most willing to learn.and put aside the obstacle of our dogmatic ego. Stubbornly repeating actions done poorly will not make them better. It will only make the bad habit stronger.
Iyengar yoga asks us to slow down, pay attention, and learn about our unique architecture. It asks us to be precise, for not all movement is healthy and alignment based yoga reveals this. In fact, the body reveals itself in many ways; when we overwork one shoulder, we may well face injury. It takes a teacher with singular skill to see the student’s habits and begin working to correct them. It is very possible to modify your body and get out of back, neck, or shoulder pain. Pain, afterall, is merely a teacher and its job is to help you make change.
All bodies are different, and yet, the way to unclock them is generally the same.
Sadly, not all yoga teachers possess this knowledge. Yoga in the West has become more about breaking a sweat and moving, rather than creating a means by which to safely unlock and transform.
And all this, naturally, becomes especially important as we age and educated movement is the greatest foe of advancing years. For this and many reasons, classes at ZOE accommodate all walks of life, so we look forward to exploring the study of yoga with you! Our group classes can be found on the “yoga study” tabs page. Private sessions are also available.
Written by Dina Georgoulis
Owner of ZOE Yoga Lifestyle.