In recent times there is a lot of work being put into Yoga. While traditionally, many have not taken it in their stride to keep up an ongoing system of the evolution of Yoga, the non-traditional, all-rounded, focused practitioner is willing to carry it into the future with the right amount of modification and variation to make Yoga an evolutionary practice that is in constant development.
What do you know about Yoga? Is it from the one-off fitness studio class you have attended? Or from the photos of poses you come across every now and then on Instagram? Is it the Yoga retreat you see depicted in popular culture? Or the occasional news nugget you read that raves about Yoga turning into the new super-food of exercise, the trend that’s here to stay?
A new-age Yoga practitioner not only knows the history and philosophy behind Yoga but also understands the need of the hour to develop it into a working practice relevant in the world of today, a practice that commemorates the union of mind and body. A practice that takes the many beneficial aspects of Yoga and ties it around a culture of merging it with other sports, other forms of strength and mobility building as well as an accessory to training.
While many people would get demotivated and not start or continue doing Yoga due to many outward or inward reasons, we thought to put some of the concerns to rest by discussing different aspects of Yoga. Let’s get right to it.
The right kind of instructor can make or break your practice. We see many people get involved in Yoga in an almost cult-like way. The kind where your instructor is not just instructing, rather laying down the law for your religion, lifestyle, thoughts and actions. That’s the not so favorite part of it (read: Yoga without the mysticism).
Giving this kind of control to your instructor only ends up taking away your voice of reason. Before you know it, you are committing to poses that are making your whole body ache. The pain in your lower back keeps getting worse, your wrists can feel the burden of that headstand you willed yourself into (because everyone was doing it) and here you are battered and bruised at the end of the session. Where is that peace and focus you were promised? Where is that boost of energy you should be feeling right now?
The number of changes you have to make to ‘fit in’ with the culture can burrow you down. It’s understandable. Most times, with Yoga practice, many people adopt a Yogi lifestyle. Spirituality becomes a very big part of it. Many times your physical appearance is expected to reflect it too. Rosaries, Yoga pants as everyday attire. Nothing wrong with that, but that’s not a pre-requisite with us. Your clothing or outward expression hardly defines your practice.
If you’re not feeling this, it’s normal and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Additionally don’t take this as a sign that Yoga is not for you. You can have the most profound and deeply insightful experience within yourself that does not need to be followed by an outward display that makes you a part of the flock. Be true to yourself only.
The all-in approach
According to Glenn Black, who has been studying yoga, movement and therapeutic bodywork for fifty years, most schools go with a theory of pushing people. Sometimes with words and sometimes actually, physically pushing people. Everybody has different anatomy, unique skeletal muscles and it is important to understand safe and stable physical alignment in a yoga pose to not push someone beyond their limitations.
Half of the reason why you brave the pains and carry on in a class is also that you don’t want ‘call-out’ culture to catch up to you. No one wants the instructor, almost a god-like figure to many, to ‘call-out’ attention towards them but rest assured, it happens, and once it does, it puts you in an uncomfortable position. If that won’t make you stop going to a Yoga class, we are proud. But if it does, we don’t blame you.
The natural limitations
If you are gritting your teeth and bearing discomfort to match the poses that your female Yoga instructor can so effortlessly do then the faulty system has caught up to you. The kind of Yoga you are doing is NOT FOR YOU. It’s as simple as that.
One must not go into Yoga with the “No pain, no gain” mindset, It could be your first time trying to move your body in this way and others could be well used to it. Each pose should be taken one step at a time, slowly rendering your body able to accomplish what it could not before but understand this – the kind of poses you are expected to do in a class, which might be your first and someone else’s 20th are meant to be taken slow
For men, the problems become multi-faceted. By genetics, women are more flexible than men, but does anyone ever tell you this when you attend a run of the mill Yoga class? But if you are experiencing pain in a Yoga class and decide to ‘clam up’ and deal with it, you’re not the first to have done so. Its mostly because the class you are supposed to breeze through is not made for your body. If the testosterone kicks in and you see yourself subconsciously competing with others next to you who are doing complex poses seemingly in a state of bliss, you’re going to have a bad time. Doing the poses wrong has longer-lasting effects that can seriously mess up different body parts, especially if they have been problem areas from beforehand.
To add here, as things become famous, they become riddled with new and sometimes not so innovative upgrades. Take Beer Yoga for instance. Beers and Yoga – sounds fun, doesn’t it? Add dogs instead of beers and you have something new that is totally instagrammable. Believe me, Yoga raves are a thing too. The problem with such reforms ofttimes is a lack of respect to an age-old practice. A practice that is very beneficial and has an unprecedented effect on the mind and body.
Let’s not make it a joke, rather make it functional. The only way Yoga will be understood and given due importance is this. As a multi-functional, strength-focused way of exercise that is suitable for newbies and Athletes alike.
Why we still preach Yoga to everyone
If done right, Yoga can not only become a blessing but also one stable thing in a chaotic life. There is a way to take the impatience, frustrations, and goal-orientation that a common man of the 21st century feels and turn it into a mastery of the world around him. Done right, Yoga will not just be you demanding your body to stretch for a specific amount of time in a class you are just randomly attending in a program that has no start and finish depending on your goals and your past experiences.
According to Glenn Black, who has been studying yoga, movement and therapeutic bodywork for fifty years, most schools of Yoga go with a theory of pushing people. Sometimes with words and sometimes actually, physically pushing people. Yes, we will self-praise now. Skill Yoga has a start for you and a finish for you. It is based on you and you only. Skill Yoga doesn’t push you beyond your capabilities. It takes into account your past experiences with Yoga, your sports background and your individual goals.
Gone are the days when you have to look around you, feel ashamed at your own progress, or try to compete with the members of your class. Gone are the days when you can also talk yourself out of making the effort of going to a Yoga class by convincing yourself that Yoga is not worth it. Yoga is worth it. The over-working yourself, the competing, the embarrassment is not. Sometimes the money is not worth it when 3 out of 5 times you will not feel like going to a Yoga class due to personal, physical or emotional reasons – definitely not worth it.
Ready to start your Skill Yoga journey?
What you could potentially get from Skill Yoga is a well-rounded experience, a personalized training, a community that actually cares and knowledge that is multi-purpose. Do Yoga but do it right, do it so it becomes the binding power in your life that brings your thoughts and actions together, that brings your mind and body to work in unison, that makes all your individual goals centered into one primary goal: be it skills, mobility, strength or mindfulness.
Need we say more?