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These insights might just help you to begin your yoga journey.
A few years back I was attending yoga classes in LA with one of my favourite teachers Bryan Kest. He is a pioneer of Power Yoga in LA. That is power in the yogic sense of the word, an inner power, an inner knowing. Bryan would often mention that Yoga is like a buffet, take what you like and leave the rest behind. Choose nutritious food, or not! Choose the nutritious thoughts, or not! It’s a Yoga Buffet after all!
I often encounter students who wish to start their yoga journey and are not quite sure where how or where to start. I like to ask these students why they want to do yoga. In the hope that they know why, I then encourage them to try at least five teachers and decide from there whose teachings resonate with them most.
Maybe all five teachers’ voices resonate with all the many aspects of you, after all, we are multi-dimensional beings once fed. But it’s good to be conscious about it and explore this personal choice.
At the beginning of my yoga teaching journey, my classes were based on Ashtanga Primary Series. No buffet here, you get the same thing every class. There was an ease created through this repetition. The mind did not have to be present with the cues from the teacher, having the time to move into the body and notice that each time they practiced the same poses they felt different. Our bodies feel different every day.
The result of this type of practice was more feeling and less thinking to which there are great benefits. There are also great benefits to tricking the mind and body and switching things up every now and then.
For example. When you attend a yoga class with a teacher’s voice you’re not crazy about (that’s big for me), or you find yourself doing a different type of yoga, or choosing a different spot in the studio you attend, or closing your eyes in practice, just to name a few…
Which practice above resonates with you most? The repetitive and slow no buffet class where you know what you’re gonna get? Or the fluid flow listening practice?
I’m a fan of both. Sometimes repetition and long holds, sometimes challenging the listening skills of students with fluid flow sequences.
‘So What Makes An Advanced Yoga Student?’
The advanced student in Yoga is one who listens well, and who can perhaps close their eyes throughout class and flow. Less seeing, more listening.
I have been utterly impressed with my online student’s ability to listen. Being in the role of the guide I rarely demonstrate while teaching online unless need be. My inner guide wants to observe my students. My inner guide wants to see who is practicing those listening skills.
I choose presence to be a witness to the magic of the practice and when a release is experienced. And then…We turn that advanced listening to the inside.
We get CURIOUS.
What do you hear in there?
Is it a nice place to live?
Does it feel spacious and free?
Or does it feel congested and heavy?
What are you choosing in your inner buffet? Ahh yes! Much food for thought.
May you seek the practices that work for you with the teachers who work with you.
Words: Michelle Bartolo
Michelle Bartolo Offerings 2023: Online LIVE Private Sessions & Teacher Trainings on ZOOM KriyaAsana Week Yoga Retreat | GOZO October 7 - 14th KriyaAsana 200 hr Yoga Teacher Training HYBRID Gozo & Live Online October 18th - December 12th The Still Point - Uncovering Grief Womens Circles LIVE ONLINE 6 week course/meeting once per week October 27 - December 1st