Do Everything Your Yoga Teacher Says

Do everything your yoga teacher says... No just No. 

Or rather know just know.

I consider myself more of a student of yoga, but yes I completed a 200 hour ytt and actively teach the yog part time.

Does that make me or anyone else that's got more experience teaching or practicing yoga than I an expert on your body?

The answer is always no, no matter what that person is telling you.  

As teachers we can learn all of the anatomy, biomechanics,  functional range / mobility shtuff in the world and we still can't guarantee the safety of your spine, ligaments, joints, tendons, muscles etc.. in the practice.

Why?

Because as a student one of our jobs is to cultivate a level of awareness with our bodies. When I first started practicing yoga, I was disconnected from my body.  I had no idea what the teachers were asking me to do with my thigh bone, how to soften this while deepening that or whateves. I wouldn't engage my core and my chaturanga was a poop show.  And I'd be sore the next day. Coming from a weight lifting background, I thought that was normal.  It isn't normal unless you're brand new to yoga, practicing something you haven't done before (wherein you were engaging different muscles) or you were on the mat for a longer period of time than you normally practice.

As students it's important to be able to tune into how our body feels during and after a practice. To explore what if any difference it makes when we take our hands or feet closer together or further apart or slightly fan our hands in or out or say "heck no" to a pose that we 100% know doesn't work for us no matter how many props or modifications we've tried.

Ideally once we've cultivated this level of awareness, our bodies become our greatest teachers. Our breath informs us when we're too deep into a pose, that subtle pain we get in the back of our leg behind our knee tells us we're probs hyperextending that leg, etc... And we learn what works for us and what doesn't.  

There are lots of poses I no longer do, because they don't work in my body.  Since I do also happen to teach, out of respect I used to let whomever was guiding a class I was about to take know that there are certain things I no longer do, so please don't take offense if I'm not following your sequence.  I no longer feel the need to explain myself. If I'm in someone's class and not doing what they're offering, it's not about them.  [ [ [ Fun behind the curtain yoga teacher fact:  Lots of teachers have internal freak outs when students aren't following their flow. I'm fine with it, do what you gotta do. But, if you're doing something that might hurt you, I will call you out to keep you safe. ] ] ]   I do not have to do everything a teacher says just because they're leading the class.  It's about me taking care of me.  That is how I practice my yoga.  

And once you've developed the body awareness, that is what I invite you to do as well - with the side note that if you do this and you get injured because you were more connected with your ego than with your body or your body wasn't opened up enough to do what you thought you could do, that's on you. Body awareness my friends, it'll keep you honest ..well, on the mat at least.

jules Upton Do everything your yoga teacher says.JPG