In case you didn’t hear, everyone’s in love with yoga. Walk around any suburb in any major centre practically anywhere in the world and you’re sure to find a yoga studio. Check out the news agents and shops full of ample yoga mags, books, gear and accoutrements. And then online: tremendous online yoga sites like yogaglo, my yoga online and yoga today all offer fantastic classes led by inspirational and renowned teachers.
If you’ve been on the yoga train for awhile, or are thinking of hopping aboard, I’d suggest you consider adding something else to the yoga smorgasbord: private sessions. These are a perfect addition to your practice, whether you have been yoga-ing for years or days, are injured or fit as a fiddle, would like to mix up your practice or explore aspects that I may touch upon in class only briefly.
Here’s why I recommend private sessions:
- I can really get to know you, your body and how it works
During a typical class I am gazing throughout the class at a variety of people and am ensuring there are no major alignment or obvious physical issues. One on ones allow us to check in with how certain postures, alignments and practices affect you, and inform how I monitor you in class in future.
- Adjusting adjustments
As a student, I love adjustments from the teacher. As a teacher there’s a vast spectrum of people’s preferences adjustment and pressure-wise. It takes time for me to provide regular hands-on adjustments, as I need to attune and read each body. During a private session we can talk about this constructively. When you’re back in the weekly sessions, I can confidently adjust knowing we’ve had this dialogue, and you can relax and enjoy.
- To go deeper and address your life
Find yourself wanting to pipe up and ask a question about a certain posture, practice or concern in class but feel a bit intimidated? Though I do encourage open discussion during and after class, sometimes discussing and exploring during a one-on-one session just makes more sense. In one-on-ones we can explore postures, breath, meditation and relaxation that may assist you with current circumstances like stress, insomnia, injury, conception and pregnancy.
- Specific Cross-Training for sporty peeps
Training for a marathon or other big sporting event? I’m your woman. A sporadic practitioner before then, I became yoga-fied when I completed my first, and let’s face it probably last, marathon back in 2004. I’m convinced it’s the reason I ran an injury-free respectable time and also why I recovered so quickly. Yoga’s an excellent way to lift your game and support your body during other pursuits.
- To add a new flavour
Have you had the same home practice for months or years? Looking for some variations or new meditation or relaxation practices? As a vinyasa teacher I believe variety revitalises a dwindling practice. If you’re just getting started, we can determine your faves and work from there, establishing a sequence or two that can be the base of a flourishing home practice.
For those unable to attend weekly classes, buying a block of one-on-ones is the answer. With me coming to you, we can make sure you get your yoga Rx regularly. It’s a worthwhile investment in your physical and psychological health that cannot be replicated by logging on to a yoga class site.
So you can experience these benefits, I’m offering a special to students attending Sevenergy during the winter months. Stay tuned to this space, I will be making an announcement early next week!!
Oh, and p.s. I’m playing with the look of this site – would love your feedback! Happy Yoga-ing luvlies! xo
The other day I drove to a meeting and ended up stuck in traffic where I: one, was supremely grateful for the great tunes they were playing on triplej, and two, thanked my lucky stars that a daily commute is not part of my life.
While I and fellow travellers crept along the freeway at breakneck speed averaging 25 kilometres an hour I noticed a few drivers who decided where they were going was more important than the hundreds of other drivers stuck in a mid-morning jam along with them.
Mostly to my amusement I saw the odd driver duck out of the freeway lane and try to get ahead a few hundred metres by cheekily jutting over to a merging lane if it wasn’t all ready occupied. So a few people in a really big hurry got ahead by about a minutes’ worth of travel time. Which I guess more power to them, but really, wouldn’t it just be nice to give your neck and blood pressure a break and wait while respecting everyone else? Even if there was somewhere that you “needed” to be, would the world keep turning if you showed up 20 minutes late?
Alas, there will always be people determined to get to where they want to be and willing to endanger themselves, and sometimes others, to create the illusion they are “getting ahead.” It reminded me of what I like to call sticky-beak-itis that we can all be prone to in yoga class. Admit it, you’ve raised your eyebrow a time or two maybe admiring someone’s asana practice, or felt a twinge of jealousy seeing someone’s strength, or even smugness in noticing another student hasn’t quite gotten to where you’re at in this or that posture.
But how does comparing yourself to others actually serve you? Some might say a little bit of healthy competition is a motivator, but why compete with someone who has a different history, body and set of life circumstances than you? It reminds me of something that a fitness educator said to me years ago: There will always be someone “worse” than you and someone “better” than you. Instead of getting caught in the comparison game, the drishti, or focus as we say in yoga, should reside within and on yourself. This focus, though sustained, should be soft, pliable and realistic.
Pushing your practice too far beyond comfortable limits on a given day, and especially on a regular basis, can cause injury or permanent damage. If you are not attuned to how your body is feeling in a given moment because you’re sticky-beaking it before speeding into the wrong yoga lane, you can’t respond to its’ needs appropriately.
So use your yoga practice as a time to develop compassion and reverence for what your body does and how it feels, instead of keeping up with the yoga Joneses. The majority of us don’t practice yoga for the modelling gigs over at Yoga Journal. We come to feel better, have functionality in our bodies and stability in our minds. Devote your energy to that, and watch your yoga practice flourish.
The next time you’re in class, see if you can keep your focus on yourself; yep, stay in your own lane. Observe what really feels right for you, and respect that by modifying your practice to work with any limitations or goals. Of course it is natural to check out what is going on in our surroundings, but true depth comes with self-observation.
Broadly speaking, poke yourself in the backside the next time you feel those familiar twinges off the mat. So your friend just moved into a bigger house, your colleague just got an incredible promotion, a Facebook acquaintance just posted a pic with Ryan Gosling. Sop comparing, and instead assess and be grateful for all you’ve been blessed with.
I believe we all have a unique path that is ours alone. It is easier to find it if you’re not wasting energy measuring your achievements against anyone else. Instead, respect where you feel the natural zing, joy and ease in whatever you are doing in each moment and keep your focus there.
Out of curiosity, when was the last time you were figuratively doing a sneaky lane change, and what did you do to soothe the symptoms?
Maybe you think that as a yoga teacher I am a hard-core meditator who sits down in her sacred corner every day and floats off to the magical land of “peacin’ out”. The truth is, I’m not. Even though I know of and can espouse the benefits of a meditation practice, as a working mom establishing a yoga teaching business, there are more days than I’d like to admit that I don’t have a proper sit down session.
Though I love the few times per week when I get anywhere between two to thirty minutes meditation, adding another “to do” on a very long list all ready doesn’t feel right. Instead, I’m happy to squeeze little meditative moments in whatever way I can.
So try this the next time things are starting to feel like a bit too much. You know, the moment when life presses up to you more than you’d like. Typically it’s an unpleasant, harried, unstable and uncomfortable moment but it can also be a really exciting one. A little tiff with a spouse, your toddler’s cup of milk spilt on a freshly prepared breakfast that has to be made again but you need to get out the door soon so you can get onto that conference call, or you’re stuck in gridlock.
You can also feel the squeeze during the highs. Maybe you’ve got an abundance of ideas, priorities or projects and you’re not sure where to focus or how to start, or perhaps you’re finally accepting that big award, making that big presentation as an industry leader, or marrying your best friend in just a few minutes. Get the picture?
Take a deep, long inhalation. Feel the breath filling up the entirety of your lungs, rib cage, belly and upper shoulders expanding, being mindful to create space between your chest and chin. You may wish to close your eyes(please don’t do this is you’re stuck in gridlock!). Perhaps with the deep long inhalation you notice a lightening, as in a floating, sensation coming to your body.
Allow your spine to lengthen as the breath fills the entirety of your chest cavity right down to your expanding belly with the inhalation; perhaps you can feel space increasing between the vertebrae. This spaciousness grows though your entire body, you may even feel the breath reach through your limbs and to tips of fingers and toes, possibly radiating out of the crown of your head.
Pause, gently holding the breath for as long as comfortably uncomfortable, you don’t want to go blue in the face, instead allow a natural urge to let go build. Maybe it’s a fraction of a second, or quite a bit longer.
Exhale, and, if you feel inclined, let out an audible sigh. Focus on the body’s sensation, the deflating back towards the centre, possibly noticing the downward pull of gravity, the grounding.
Open your eyes, and shift your focus. See anything different?
Welcome to your one-breath meditation, you undercover buddhist monk you! Repeat throughout the day at opportune moments. With time, you may give in to an urge to have a few of these breaths together.
I’d love to hear how this went, and if you noticed any changes. When was it most helpful? Did it bring anything up or settle anything down? Perhaps you do this on a regular basis; anything to share with our little community?
And of course it would be cool bananas if you could kindly share this post with anyone you think could use a big deep breath right about now.