I’ve been doing yoga for about three years now and in that time I’ve had all kinds of instructors. Some focus on stretching or breathing techniques, but my favorites are the ones that combine strength with yoga. I’ve found one such instructor at my local Y that teaches the perfect blend of working hard and stretching at the same time.
However, she’s been out of town a lot this summer and I’ve been reduced to sub instructor roulette. You just never know what you’re walking into with a yoga sub. I like my yoga to be a real workout. I want to sweat and challenge my body. But that’s not how everyone else wants it. There are many yogis out there that like an earthier approach. I once had a yoga sub make me spin around in circles, releasing a loud “aum” into space…not really my thing.
I walked into one such unknown class, hesitantly laid down my mat and waited to begin. Thankfully, I quickly found out this lady was all about show and tell. She gave detailed explanations of each pose and even corrected our stances- I LOVE getting correction in yoga. Multiple times during the class she would have us gather around her while she hit a position so we could see exactly where her leg twisted, how she opened her hip or how she lengthened her back.
My regular instructor isn’t hands-on like this, so it was a great refresher course on the basics of the fundamental positions. It’s amazing how the slightest turn out of your leg or how you lean into a triangle can completely change your fluidity and posture. Because I was really focusing on form instead of strength, I left feeling taller and leaner than when I came in. I took the time to evaluate where I was in each pose and then adjusted to make it stronger.
So while it wasn’t a sweat-it-out-make-me-exhausted kind of class, it was almost like I went to a yoga basics workshop. It reminded me how it’s always good to go back to the fundamentals. Whether you deal with music, cooking, art, math…get back to the basics. There’s always room to better your practice with practice. It’s like the argument of quality before quantity. It doesn’t matter how many warrior 2s or crow poses you can hit if you can’t do them right. True benefits are only found with a solid foundation.