Super fast movement, punishing sequences, extreme poses, brutal intensity, loud music...a complete absence of introspection or cultivation of self awareness.
It seems that this is becoming an increasingly popular approach to yoga - the ‘do more, push harder’ culture is in full effect.
And whilst I really enjoy challenging calisthenics and exercise, unless they encourage an exploration of the self and cultivation of presence then they’re not yoga.
I'm conscious that what I offer in my own classes sits at odds with this trend.
I don’t play music, preferring to give you the space and silence to really connect to your breath and a sense of inner stillness - rather than giving the mind another ‘hook’ for distraction.
We explore the practice in a way that encourages a rebalancing of the nervous system - breath work and meditation in particular - rather than using our yoga practice to further agitate our fight, freeze or flight response.
We move slowly, paying attention to the sensations that can be felt in the body, and the effects of the postures, transitions and practices at the various layers of our experience (physical, mental, energetic).
We work with simple movements and sequences so that we can focus on how we move and the quality of movement rather than worrying about complex sequencing.
We take ranges of motion that can be controlled functionally rather than pulling and pushing our bodies into extreme places - making sure that we pay attention to cultivating strength and active mobility rather than simply focusing on passive flexibility.
There aren’t many (if any) hands on adjustments - you’ll be encouraged to connect to the intuition and innate wisdom of your body rather than relying on me for external guidance. Any assists I do provide will help cultivate a greater sense of grounding and stability rather than forcing your body into places it’s not ready to go to.
And we approach everything that we do in our practice with a sense of curiosity and compassion - cultivating kindness towards ourselves and our bodies, and engaging in the practice in a way that’s both enjoyable and nourishing, rather than as another way of diminishing and criticising ourselves.
That’s not to say it won’t be challenging or even dynamic at times. Yoga is a means of probing our existing patterns of thought and behaviour and expanding our potential to its fullest state (including our movement potential). But we’ll explore these edges in our practice mindfully and with a sense of care.
This approach might not be fashionable, but I’m increasingly convinced it’s the approach that most of us need.
We’re subjected to so much ‘noise’ these days that we’re chronically over stimulated - the time we spend practising yoga is an opportunity to retreat from this constant assault on our senses. To embrace quiet, to still the mind and soothe the nervous system.
And if this approach to yoga strikes a chord with you then I very much look forward to exploring the practice together - in whatever shape that may take.