Teach the Person Not the Pose

teach the person not the poseEvery body is different… and every body has different issues to deal with. Standing in front of a yoga class I am always looking at individual bodies that have wildly dissimilar patterns—the open hipped woman in her thirties with extremely loose ligaments and muscles next to an open hipped 25 year old man with very tight hamstrings. Next to him might be a 50 year old woman who seems wide open on one side yet can barely lift a leg on the other; they are in front of two people who are thirty years apart in age but mirror images in regards to their tight everything.

I could go on and on- this is happening in any given yoga room. It is what makes my job fun but also frustrating as you often find students who don’t want to adapt poses to the needs of their body, or teachers that can only teach the pose not the people doing the pose.

One of my favorite refrains is that yoga is not good for you simply because you do it. No exercise is good in and of itself. It begs the question— Is it better to exercise badly than not at all? And I am not sure of the answer though I lean in the direction of no.

If the idea of doing yoga is to expand one’s consciousness then I would hope that focus on correct alignment and mechanics would fall under that banner but it doesn’t always seem to be the case.


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