In some popular styles of Yoga, students are encouraged to aspire to an ‘optimal alignment.’ While safe alignment is very important, I’ve seen much forcing in postures, the ‘ideal’ of a posture pushed like a cookie-cutter onto an unready body.
These kind of classes foster competitiveness, and echo much of our modern culture, which values appearence over substance.
Look where that focus has brought our society.
I think these lineages of Yoga mean well, but sometimes the language used can project that there’s something wrong with where we are currently at. You are where you are, and it’s a perfect place to start a Yoga practice.
Let your practice validate you on the way to transforming you.
Raise your right hand, make the peace sign, and take the Yogacratic oath…
Say: “I’ll do no harm.”
In our classes together, we adapt the postures to the current state of our bodies. Not an impose, but a Yoga pose, now helpful in the context of our lives. We foster a safe place where there’s nothing to prove, and we support each others unfolding.
In practice, we are not looking for paper mache’ shells of experience, but true postures, fully embodied, with substance and purpose.
Postures from the bones-out. Yes, Yoga is an inside job.
The true ‘optimal alignment’ is where the posture is safe, and of benefit to your whole being. Steady, with even breath, a meditative quality in your mind, and a clear sense of purpose. This place can be elusive. We get there by feel, and this takes practice.
Practiced this way, your favorite Yoga posture can be the one you are currently in. There’s just no place you’d rather be. From these peaceful places we can contemplate higher thoughts, like offering peace and compassion to all beings.
Our grandfather of Yoga, Sri Patanjalii suggested our postures be steady, and sweet, and on that note, I’ll close with some sweet postures:
Have you found yourself in a competitive class? Did you win? how did you feel after?
Om Shanti, I’ll see you in class. -j