Whose asana is it anyway?

Did you know that yoga is one of the most frequently recommended practices to manage stress? It is! And it is recommended by doctors, practitioners and non-practitioners alike – even if they have no clue about the ‘why’ of it – and even if they haven’t ever seen the on side of a yoga mat. So yeah, yoga is recommended as a practice that boosts not just your flexibility and tone, but also works on your moods and stress levels.

Teaching and practicing yoga has shown me that this very practice has the potential to also exacerbate your stress levels so much that you may begin to totally get turned off by the sight of a yoga mat – let alone someone sitting cross-legged in stretchy tights.

There are many reasons for this – and one of them may be that perhaps the practice is indeed not for your after all! Maybe you’re just not ready for yoga yet.

One of my pet lines in my classes is allowing the asana to come to you – whenever – and know that yoga meets you where you are.

But regardless of how we put this thought across, the fact that we are practitioners of the 21st century, pumped on by the rush of competition holds many fresh yogis in its grip and, in my very humble opinion, the role of the yoga teacher here is to gently shine light on this tendency and allow for the practice to unfold – in its own way, in its own time.

And this is also where the teacher needs to remember that demonstration of her absolute asana form need not come forward. This is not the time to show the student how far he has to go, but coach and allow them the space to recognise how far she has come along in the practice! There is no comparative text-book description for an ideal asana – although some perfectionist, orthodox yogis may choose to have you believe otherwise. Yes, there is the way an asana is supposed to look like (thanks to text-book imagery, super-flexible lead teacher demos and those Pittas in the class), but more importantly, there is a deeper way in which an asana is supposed to make you feel and experience its energy and influence – in its own way, in its own time.

And a reasonably good yoga teacher, with his/her intention set on bringing you the experience of yoga, will be a wonderful hand-holder through this perfectly personal journey.

Your body is your own – unique and perfect just the way it is…. there are no ‘should’s in yoga – just ‘be‘s.


1 simple rule to follow

Make your practice your own.


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