I Can't Do Yoga, I'm Too Stiff
Well, I can't do yoga either if the definition is what might be seen on Instagram - young bendy women or super strong athletic men doing "impossible" feats of physical prowess that test the limits of strength and flexibility. Such things may only be possible for those who begin at a very young age, have the "right" genetics and the discipline to practice intensively over a long period of time.
But if we redefine what yoga is, away from a purely physical expression of youthful exuberance and towards a more intuitive and interoceptive expression of what an older time worn body needs, we can take exercises and movement sequences from any "tradition" - add breath awareness, link breath to movement and body positioning - and from this place make everyday activities into "yoga": a union of body, breath, awareness, and intention that can lead us towards healing.
the Gentle Somatic Movement class I am currently teaching is a way to learn how to link awareness of your breath with awareness of how your body moves; the gradual addition of simple to more complex movements and patterns while imagining that the breath is the mover and not the muscles helps all of us practice moving in a more efficient manner. That stiffness we may feel when we first get up in the morning, especially if we are dealing with injuries, recovering from illnesses that restricted our movements, or the arthritis many of us associate with advancing age causes us to work too hard. How long have we been resisting our own efforts, can we learn how to get out of our own way?
While gentle movement is great for recovery as well as stress management, we also need to keep our muscles strong, our joints stable, and our entire body supple. Learning to apply the principles of linking breath to movement while reducing excessive effort is continued in more vigorous formats: weight bearing activities are introduced, your sense of balance might be challenged but still we want to cultivate a sense of ease in our movements, find ways to get from Point A to Point B and beyond with less effort so we can do more and not feel overtired once we get there. This new moderate class may include a few more familiar echoes of the traditional asanas commonly used in westernized yoga classes.
Both class formats introduce concepts, movements, and sequences with guidance and cuing but allow and encourage exploration and a sense of play - letting go of the rigidity of the more usual led class format we can develop a sense of self empowerment, a direct experience of our inner wisdom which the conscious mind obscures when it wanders. Your body has a voice that tells you when to "back off" or stop and observe if we can soften our ears to hear it...
Be sure to fill out the survey on the hOMe page about the proposed new moderate class at Revolve!