Is There a "Wrong" Way to do Yoga?
This is a powerful topic for me because I have been through a yoga journey that began as a calming “exercise,” moved into a psychosomatic reconstruction of the body, and further transformed into an emotional and spiritual awakening. With this process, I have grown and what I teach has completely transformed. In my classes, I offer an experience for you to see yourself, which takes an act of grace and honest inquiry into ones’ true self. This process is much deeper than gymnastics, although you will learn to reconstruct your body, your thoughts, and transform your energy, which is what a yogi does. Yoga is about grounding and relaxing into who we are, but this process does not come without its own shadows. As we learn to transcend our shadows, we create space for higher intelligence to enter our beings and remain present in awareness. This, is unity, this- is yoga.
I know on instagram, many people see a flexible yoga pose, and perhaps you think you know how to get into it because you are strong/flexible. Perhaps they attempt the pose for a pretty picture, or they move through a vinyasa sequence without any awareness of alignment, and then rush out of the pose without any knowledge or awareness of what they are doing to do their vessel. This is not yoga, this is gymnastics. Yoga is a practice of moment to moment awareness, it truly does not even matter how flexible you are.
What Is Actually Going Wrong?
What is going wrong is the fact that people are rushing into poses that they aren’t ready for. Aside from at home mistakes, I see a lot of this in hot yoga. Hot yoga is terrible for the body because it warms up the ligaments and tendons, which, after stretched past 4% of their ability, they loose elasticity and do not return to their original state, which creates a breeding ground for joint injuries. However, the tendency of the monkey mind is to rush through discomfort, or create another type of coping mechanism that takes us out of present awareness.
How we respond to discomfort, whether it is during asana practice, or during a powerful kriya, is exactly how we respond to discomfort in our lives. Do you make excuses? Do you allow tiredness to overtake you? Do you give in to your mind? Or do you listen to her, thank her, and let her know that you are far more powerful than the discomfort? Do you allow your body to melt into the sensations previously labeled as discomfort? Do you give yourself permission to experience all the feelings that arise with discomfort? This, is yoga, and if you are not allowing yourself to be in present awareness while practicing yoga, then you are not practicing yoga. This statement is not to discourage you, in fact, this statement may act as a passing of grace. For many people yoga is an exaggerated form of stretching, however, if the presence of grace crosses your path, and you are offered a glimmer of truth in your being, please, by god, take it! Follow it, feel the fear, melt into the discomfort, and watch it change into your biggest catalyst yet. This, is yoga.
So, how can you switch from “wrong yoga” to practicing true yoga?
Stop following the things you see on social media and meditate. I know how difficult it can be, so if you need guidance please don’t hesitate to reach out to me.. There are so many things you can and will learn, but most importantly it is to relax into your true nature. While practicing asana, it is important to safely go in and out of poses and watch your alignment. When you attempt asanas based off of photos — you are opening doors to long-term damage. I used to be a sensation junkie myself, which, after several years of meditation, yoga practice, and self inquiry, i finally discovered that the present moment is so sensational I do not need to create experiences in order to feel alive. I learned that it is not about feeling any specific physical sensation, it’s about feeling completely relaxed. If there is anything I can teach you about yoga, this is it.So, in truth, there is no “wrong” way to do yoga, as long as you are truly practicing yoga. If you choose to practice some form of gymnastics disguised under the trendy label, I would offer the best advice is to study asana and learn the correct alignment- in this process, you will certainly increase your self awareness and your consciousness will shift whether you intend for it or not. On the other hand, if you are simply new to the practice and are open to educating yourself about the truth of the practice, then trust this act of grace, and keep an open heart and an open mind, transcend the little voice between your ears that tells you otherwise, and relax deep into your core, this is where you will experience true yoga.