Question of the Month: Your classes are too hard.

tittbhasana 1

I understand this is not a question, but I have been told this a number of times and feel it is important feedback and should be addressed.

My classes are ‘all levels’ classes ranging from beginner to advanced practitioners, including students with a wide range of physical challenges.  I work hard to make my classes accessible, providing a safe environment and modifications to accommodate all of my students.

I tell students to honor their bodies and come out of a pose if they need to, but this is hard for students to do.  The Ego creeps in and keeps some students from coming out of the pose when they should.  The Ego may also discourage some students from using the props they need.  But even with props, my classes are challenging.  I want each student to explore the depths of each pose; to break it down, to feel how each movement works different parts of the body, to realize that each movement leading to the asana is an asana within itself.

Practicing an asana is a path, a journey.  Why rush through it to get to the end?  Imagine moving into an asana is a path filled with flowers and all of the best, most beautiful, flowers are at the beginning of the path.  Many students never see these flowers because they are in such a hurry to get to the end of the path. The beauty, the essence of each asana, is in the journey.

Come to my class with an open heart and the soul of a five year old.  Smile broadly and breathe deeply while practicing your most challenging asana, toss out the ego, let go of expectations, embrace the unknown, and honor your body.  That’s all I ask from my students – and I know that’s a lot.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from B.K.S Iyengar that have helped me in my practice.  I hope they inspire yours.

“Action is movement with intelligence. The world is filled with movement. What the world needs is more conscious movement, more action.”

“The challenge of yoga is to go beyond our limits – within reason. We continually expand the frame of the mind by using the canvas of the body. It is as if you were to stretch a canvas more and create a larger surface for a painting. But we must respect the present form of our body. If you pull too much at once, we will rip the canvas. If the practice of today damages the practice of tomorrow, it is not correct practice.”

“Be inspired but not proud.”

And one of my favorites from Prashant Iyengar.

“We are always looking outward, listening to our teachers who come with their own problems and limitations and we ignore the most supreme teacher within ourselves. The only way to evolve, to progress, to truly practice, is to listen to our inner teacher.”

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About EssentialYoga Studio

Roberta has been practicing yoga since 1988 and has been teaching yoga since 1994. She has trained under master yoga teachers Swami Padmananda, Patricia Walden, Manouso Manos, Father Joe Pereira, Zoë Stewart, Karin Stephan, Liz Owen and others. She continues to study with her Iyengar teachers, Patricia Walden and Peentz Dubble. Roberta has studied yoga at the Ramamani Iyengar Yoga Memorial Institute in Pune, India during June 2011, February 2014 and attended Abhijata's intensive in Pune, India December 2016. Roberta is currently enrolled in Peentz Dubble's two year Iyengar Yoga Teacher Training Program. Additionally, Roberta completed training and certification with Elise Browning Miller as 'Yoga for Scoliosis' instructor. She completed a 500 hour Hatha Yoga Certification program with AURA Wellness Center and is registered with Yoga Alliance as an E-RYT 500. She has been a Certified Meditation Teacher since June 2007 and has been an Usui Reiki Practitioner since 1989. Roberta's Personal Practice Philosophy: Health issues have changed and deepened my practice. You will see many photos of me using a variety of props. On days I don't feel well, instead of saying, "I can't practice today", Iyengar Yoga has taught me to say, "How can I practice today".
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3 Responses to Question of the Month: Your classes are too hard.

  1. Reblogged this on art is art. everything else is everything else. and commented:
    Roberta has studied Yoga with Zoe Stewart and Karin Stephan, two of my mentors. I thought to share this with my blog readers interested in yoga.

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