Touch! Such a treat in a yoga practice, to receive the confident, guiding touch of a teacher. I call this The Art of Compassionate Touch. The confident guided touch of a yoga educator has more then just a temporary effect in the practitioners body. It is often associated with what I like to call an “Aha moment”. I am then able to really process and understand the action of the asana as well as what is taking place in my body while in the asana with a deeper awareness.
I am a practitioner/teacher of Integrative Therapeutic Stretching, love to use it while I teach. It is a fantastic way to help Today’s Athlete find the extended extension, the deeper twist. This allows for a greater release in the asanas and for greater ease. I am not a fan of forced adjustments. The intention of my touch is not to move your body into what I think looks right but to help student become aware and hopefully understand the dynamics of the asana in Action with regards to the dynamics of their body. To free themselves up to begin to explore the asana further in a safe and effective manner for their body.
Each time I do an asana, I must fall back on the lessons of the previous practices, being mindful not to repeat any action that does not work for my body. If I felt the echos of a previous practice it is important for me to really be mindful and learn from the pain or discomfort I created. Iyengar calls “Analysis in Action” your guide. Your practice is essentially a trial and error process where you see what works for you today based on what did not work for you yesterday or because of what worked for you yesterday. This then becomes “wise action” and you will find the effort decreases as you begin to move the body in the correct direction.
Todays Athlete can then take this idea off the mat and improve their performance. I know for me it has been invaluable as a late blooming athlete.
I used to be hung up on correct form and would teach absolutes. I was so convinced because it worked in my body and I had been taught that, so yes it must be the correct way.
This is no longer my truth and I now give my students the options to choose based upon the action of the asana and the wisdom and story of their body. This is wise teaching and wise action for the practitioner. Today’s Athlete has been my best teacher. Every body is telling a different story and I Listen to them. I GIve them the freedom in class to explore both physically and verbally the asana. Remember, it is a practice and you must work with what and whom shows up.
It is so important for Today’s Athlete to get in touch with their bodies beyond the repetitive linear movement of their chosen sport.
Why then do some instructors feel the need to control? Why would anyone feel the need to be in such a class? A Lack of knowledge, awareness, and understanding of what yoga is.
“When wise action comes, you no longer feel the effort as effort – you feel the effort as joy.” BKS Iyengar
See you, on the mat!