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Browsing Tag

practise

Yoga – You Can Achieve More Than You Think

Some of you may know that I’m not the typical yogi. I’m not shredded and the only six-pack I’ve ever had was a six-pack of Guinness or another reputable alcoholic beverage. You won’t see me with a man bun or wearing flowy pants……though I used to have long hair and do wear a poncho on occasion so maybe……

Anyway, I have been practising yoga for about nine years now and teaching yoga for two years.

I love a tough vinyasa class, a class where I will sweat like Christy Moore giving it loads on the Bodhran, if you know what I mean, but I stayed away from crazy intense poses like handstand, headstand, inversions in general. To be honest, I was scared of them. I was scared that I couldn’t do them and that I would fail or hurt myself. Scared of lots of things.

My preference as a teacher is to teach Vinyasa Yoga. That was my goal since I took YTT with Semperviva two years ago. Last year I took a 40-hour Vinyasa add on and landed a regular teaching slot at Just Yoga shortly after that.

I feel I can give a tough class without necessarily having a very challenging peak pose or any peak pose at all for that matter. In my opinion, I have no business teaching a pose unless I can take that shape myself.

Six or eight months ago I had a niggling feeling that I would love to be able to do tripod headstand. This was partly my ego when I saw other men in classes with strong practices but also partly my sense of responsibility nudging at me. I thought that if I want to be a Vinyasa teacher maybe I should be able to offer some inversions in my classes.

The same feeling came over me with handstand about six or seven weeks ago.

If you asked me even a year ago after having taught yoga for a year and having practised for many years if I would ever be able to get into headstand or handstand the answer would have been a solid no.

A wise man once said that hitting the bullseye is the result of a thousand misses, so for tripod I found a really intense but short sequence to build up to it and I practised every day. I definitely missed the bullseye…a lot.

The same was true for handstand. I was always amazed at people able to take a handstand in a yoga class and after I had signed up for Alo moves (an online yoga studio) I found a 31-day handstand routine and thought I’d give it a go.

I remember there were times in both the tripod practise and the handstand practise that I was utterly convinced that I was going nowhere and making no progress with either posture but we don’t call it practicese for nothing.

Practise:

Perform (an activity) or exercise (a skill) repeatedly or regularly in order to improve or maintain one’s proficiency.

For Tripod, it happened by accident. It was winding down time in the office on a Friday and I thought I’d give it a try. What had been agonizing core work for me for a long time – raising my legs to the air with my head on the ground, happened like magic with absolute ease.

With Handstand, even 2 weeks ago, I thought I would never get there but on day 30, when the instructers had been gliding into handstand many days in a row with complete ease,  I managed to get there and hold it for a moment.

Now only a week later, I can get there with little effort. I’m still working with the wall but one step at a time.

“For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.”
 – Aristotle, The Nicomachean Ethics

The Moral of the story is not that I’m great because I learned to do a handstand, the moral of the story is that I wanted to do a handstand. I doubted myself but tried anyway.

The person who says it is impossible should not interrupt the one doing it

Honestly, the belief did not come until I actually got to where I wanted to go but I did not give up. If you can’t break through the doubt you can ignore it. Keep going, you will get there, no matter what it is, push through, work, practise, every day.

Every time you miss that bullseye it is taking you a step closer to your goal. Every time you miss it is one less time you will miss. It’s one more practise round crossed off your list and one step closer to your destination.

Why do we fall?

So that we can learn to pick ourselves back up

– Batman Begins

Whatever it is you are working on it, keep going.

Peace,

George

My Mindset When I Am Guiding A Yoga Class

I’ve been teaching yoga for a couple of years now. It is only in the last few weeks that I notice my head goes to a different place when I teach.

Maybe it’s like when someone gets in the zone, I don’t know, I’m not sure I’ve ever been in “the zone.”

I find as I walk through the pillars of people as they take the postures I offer, I look, really look at them. The judgement disappears from my mind. It is just me and the practice. There are no assumptions, no background chatter, no fluff spinning around my mind.

It’s a very meditative experience, there is no room for anything else. It is the one chance in the week I get to really focus.

I am fully there, with strength. A different commitment takes over and I am filled with a determination, a drive to give this class my best.

There is neither time nor space for nerves, nor is it necessary if I am properly prepared. I am doing an injustice to those who have shown up if I am not prepared. They have shown up, expecting to have a qualified teacher who can lead them through the class with confidence and purpose.

There is only the now. No past regret, no future indecision, just now. That now is filled with the breath. I stop and ask all of us to listen to the breath. The breath is the most beautiful thing when you teach a yoga class.

There is also great strength in the moment, the strength of the people who have come to class, mental strength which is being carved through a tough rock of turmoil with a blade of calm as I wander through the students standing strong in a balance posture like a great statue in tribute to a long-gone hero.

I don’t really agree with the term “yoga teacher”. We are not actually teaching anything. Yes, we ensure our students are safe and will not harm their bodies but I like to think that we are guides rather than teachers. I don’t have any great wisdom to offer, in fact, I learn through the wisdom and humility of those who I guide through the yoga practice.

If I am the one guiding the class, all that means is that it’s my voice in the room. I have to remind myself that it is not my class, the class is for those who attend. I need to drop the ego and put out what is needed, not what I want to put out.

It is my responsibility as the voice in the room to put out positive energy, even when I struggle. I need to offer a class that serves the people who attend and let go of how I like to practise and serve those who come to be served.

I find it difficult at the end of class to really and truly express the gratitude I feel towards those who attend. It is truly humbling to be given the chance to offer something that helps others and to be enabled to express myself through a practice that has helped me so much through life.

Thank you.

Peace,

George

PS. Theresa and Naoise return from the old country today so we will try to get back to weekly log posts.

Thank you all for reading.