THOUGHT OF THE DAY
How hard should a Yoga class be? Is feeling exhausted the objective of a Yoga class? Is a 90 minute class better than a 60 minute class?
The reaction to this question and the points of interest, I’m sure will be varied; after all we are all so unique, how can a Yoga practise be accepted the same and have the same outcomes and experiences for each individual yogi. We all favour different flow, poses, teachers, styles of Yoga, as we do in life! So what makes a class complete and satisfying, so that as many people as possible get all the benefits they need whether it is an ‘easy’ or ‘difficult’ class? So what should we be feeling at the end of a class, whether it is 90 or 60 minutes, dynamic or restorative, hot or cool?
Through my own practise, I have aimed for all the classes I teach to be designed to be complete. Yoga is after all about union. I think a class should be designed to warm up the body, slow down the mind and work through a specific series of postures and exercises allowing the heart rate to rise, the breath to work with the movement, the body to sweat, the muscles to work and lengthen, the mind to calm and quieten. As we come to the end of class we then knit everything together so by the time class is over our mind and body are calm and our breath steady; we are energised ready to leave and enjoy the rest of our day/evening. To me this seems a totally logical journey for a Yoga class, to really allow each individual yogi to explore a plethora of internal beauty within during the course of the class. By beginning to let yoga in to your life, you begin to connect with your body and know how hard you want to push certain areas of your practise. It’s also this connection that allows us to know when we need to back off of certain areas of our practise too.
Each class should be complete. Not just designed to exhaust you or to be very gentle, but designed so that you may get out of them what your body and mind needs. It does not mean you have to feel exhausted or tired to get the most out of class. We can sometimes go to our practise with such pre-conceived ideas of how we are feeling and what we need to work on, open or release. We may not always feel present, grounded and focused and it’s through the process of our class that we allow Yoga to work on us rather than to just have an ambition or expectation of how we should feel by the end of class. Yoga is a process of discovery and connection with yourself, think of it more as a ‘work in’ than a ‘work out’. The first lesson Yoga teaches us is to be present and mindful and thus receive what we need.
So perhaps the answer to this question is to not think about how hard your Yoga class should be, just try to always bear in mind that Yoga is a lifetime practice, not a quick fix, so have patience with yourself in and out of the Yoga studio, enjoy the journey and always think beautiful!