What I Wish Every Yoga Student Would Do
I try to teach my classes for every student, beginner or advanced. I love—LOVE seeing students listening to their own bodies and making the class their own. That may mean dropping a knee in a pose, or resting in child’s pose for a bit longer. That may mean recognizing that you could transition into headstand from this certain pose, and going for it. What feels good to you?
It’s also important to stay in alignment and not strain your body for the sake of a pose (that certainly wouldn’t feel good). Let’s consider pigeon pose. One leg is forward and bent, one is stretched back. The hips are even. We begin by pushing the chest out and up, stretching the torso, then, if it feels right, bringing the chest toward the ground. I usually start with my forearms on a block. When that begins to feel comfortable, I remove the block and bring my forearms to the ground. When this feels comfortable, I sometimes stretch my arms out in front of me, bringing my chest to the ground. I walk my students through this, emphasizing that they should go deeper only if it feels comfortable to do so. The most cringe-worthy feeling for me as a teacher is when I see a student with their hips not in alignment, trying to stretch their arms forward while their hips are falling to the side. If you’re about to topple over, if your breath is labored, if you feel uncomfortable at all, this is probably not good for your body. In fact, this can be straight up unsafe. I’d much rather see a student using a block for support, listening to their body, making their own little adjustments as they feel the desire to. The progression will come in time.
No matter what modification you choose to take—advanced, more relaxed, or none—make sure it’s what your body needs in the moment. Do your own thing 🙂