Is The Yoga Pose I Love Actually What I Need?
Recently this understanding; Embodied Yoga Principle (EYP) helps you design the best yoga practise for you. It is a tool that cultivates an intelligent practise that truly supports your daily life rather than a practise that simply supports and often exacerbate existing unhelpful habits. (note; our yoga practise can feel fantastic and simultaneously be exactly what we don’t need!)
EYP is often challenging work for this very reason. As I immersed myself in EYP last weekend with it’s founder Mark Walsh, I encountered poses that I seriously struggled with. They weren’t technically difficult, yet ‘trying on’ some of these yoga poses, each one with it’s own specific quality, was very difficult for me.
It reminded me of when I was a contemporary dancer learning someone’s choreography; I would practise until the movement held meaning for me and became my own. Some choreography was harder than others because it’s quality was at odds with who I was in everyday life. This was also the very choreography that if conquered helped me grow as a dancer but also as a person.
Likewise when we are in an EYP pose, each one exploring a certain archetype, and we stay in it long enough to observe, question and become aware of what that specific shape feels like in our body, we cannot help but discover something about ourselves. Meaning making is just waiting to be delved into within so many yoga poses and indeed non yoga poses that at their core are rooted in universal archetypes.
In a yoga class we can choose to practise awareness of what a pose feels like for us, in our body, on that day, or we can move through pose after pose, especially as they become familiar, and not enquire into how the quality of a pose could relate to our life.
Warrior two is vastly different to child’s pose; they have very different qualities, effects on us and benefits. And yet, we so often miss out on the opportunity to explore beyond a physical level why we might gravitate towards Warrior Two for example and find Child’s Pose less attractive.
Example. For some time now I have been doing child’s pose first thing in the morning. I move into it without thinking; it feels good, I’m listening to my body right? But everyday? From a yin state (sleep) I move into a yin yoga pose; is this really setting me up the best way for my day ahead? If I want to be productive, efficient, grounded and creative for instance is this yoga pose the best one on a daily basis? Perhaps not.
Last week I chose a favourite online yoga class to do in the morning; it was grounded, steady Katonah style hatha yoga, in which I did ‘pushing the ground’ planks, rooted mountain poses and a brief guided meditation. I felt that I was simultaneously tuning into my body but also challenging myself to go against a habit I felt wasn’t helping me shape my day ahead. The result? Last week was a productive week. My body felt energised and grounded. I moved my child’s pose to the evening and felt it’s surrendering quality align with the intention of letting go of my day as I moved into night time.
I’m not saying change every child’s pose to plank if it’s morning, but instead to question habits formed in our yoga practise or otherwise, allowing room for them to evolve, change, be let go of, always asking how is this supporting or not supporting who I want to be.