Posts In: Sun Salutations

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The worst thing you can do is expect the next person to be like the last.  I find it all the time especially in the business of being a small yog studio.  Teachers expect the new studio they begin teaching at to be like their previous or current one.  I find myself reminding them often Fuller Yoga™ Studio is not xyz studio and we do things differently here.

The same is true for your practice.  Each time you come into Crow, Triangle Pose or Half Moon Pose and expect it to be like the time before you will most likely be disappointed that it wasn’t as good as before or shocked that you did it better.  Your expectations can set you up.  You may miss some really great things because you expect it to be bad or you may walk away feeling like crap because you expected it to be so great.

So how can Fuller Yoga™ help you manage your expectations? How can The Fuller Mat™ help you not get stuck assuming your current practice/studio/relationship should or will be the same as the last? It’s easy.  From the very beginning Fuller Yoga™ is designed to put you completely in the moment by focusing on the flow of your breath and your ability to move fluidly.  Unlike practices that tend to repeat the same sequence of postures, Fuller Yoga requires you pay attention to how you move from one pose to the next discover the nuances and shifts that  keep you open for discovery, inquiry and new experiences.

No Fuller Yoga™ practice can ever be the same.  Because it is so connected to breath and approaching the postures from movement rather than adjusting your body to the pose it will always be organic, flowing, and free from expectations.

Join me in discovering the next level to your practice with a week long Fuller Yoga retreat       Feb. 8-14th, 2015 at The Sanctuary at Two Rivers in Costa Rica.

As I teach Vinyasa Yoga classes I continually see students trying to keep up in the sun salutations.  Now mind you some classes are so fast it makes you wonder if it’s even yoga, but when I teach it’s an easy moderate pace that most people can keep up with.  What becomes frustrating is watching students struggle through the plank to chaturanga dandasana to up dog transition because they are trying to keep up.  Either they lack the strength or the patience to do the proper movements that will build their strength and begin to flow.

My suggestion to those of you who want to keep up?  Go sign up for a workshop, take a beginner class, or take a martial art.  Anything that will remind you how to be a beginner again and say to yourself this is yoga and it’s for me!  The other thing I suggest is to learn how to execute the 8 point pose and practice it in the middle of your sun salutations until you are so bored with it you might die.  Eight point pose will build your strength and your body’s understanding of how to execute this challenging transition.  You will also be able to sustain your practice for years to come without injury or under/over developed musculature. 

Like I always say, if you don’t take the time, time will take you.  Go ahead don’t take the time to learn these key transitions, try to keep up with the yogi’s  and see how much time it takes you to recover from the rotator cuff pain. But don’t say we didn’t worn you.

Recently I took a Power Yoga class from a newly certified yoga teacher.  We sat for about 2-3 minutes where she proceeded to bring us to notice our breath and then read quickly from a book about connecting to your breath is connecting you to your soul.  Then we got up and started our yoga workout complete with Sun A’s and Sun B’s, and the Black Eyed Peas.

It was jarring to say the least.  When my life is being bombarded by everyone else’s demands, technology butting it’s head into every waking moment, making sure gas is in the car (at a good price) and desperately trying to find something quick and healthy to eat, the last thing I’m looking for is a checklist for my spiritual contemplation. 

At break neck speeds we were ordered into a series of forward folds and back extensions that hit me like a train wreck in the middle of farmland in a sleepy mid-western town on a hot summer day.  Now I’m not out of shape by any means but the idea of what felt like throwing myself around in contorted postures without attention to breath and alignment made me question the direction of yoga as our Type A’s take a hold of the ancient practice.

And maybe my body needs this.  Have I gotten so comfortable with the same pace, flow and holding times in my practice that it’s time for a change?  Or am I so deep in my practice that I’ve settled down from the frenetic pace of a power yoga class that has to double as workout and quiet time?  Regardless, this entry point into yoga just might work as so many baby boomers are racing against the clock.  Fast paced Power Yoga classes offer a valuable entry point for those who may be hesitant or terrified to begin a long and intimate relationship with their body.  So go ahead do CrossFit, and Cardio-Yoga it’s a start.

For me, I suppose this is where years of practice and the art of detachment (taking yoga off the mat) come into play.  Now is the time to listen, feel, be judgement free, keep trying new things and after 14 years of practice and teaching young teacher, I just might meet you here.

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