It’s a roll up- is what I was thinking. Serve up your own yoga time – it’s yummy for your body, mind and spirit:) Find freedom.
& my mind is always busy so … thought about that “roll up rag doll” movement in yoga when you go fom a forward bend into a standing Tadasana (mountain) pose. In this instruction, we are rolling up our spine “vertebrae at a time”. It’s a common instruction in yoga classes. Should you do this ?
Here’s the thing – One of the advantages of having a yoga teacher who has a thorough knowledge of anatomy, is that she/he is always thinking of how to best serve up yoga, safely so that anyone can do it in some form or shape to get the benefit of that pose. They understand not only how to get into a pose and also equally important – how to exit a pose and most important – WHY we are doing it in the first place. Usually a yoga instructor is following a blue print sequence they learned in their 200 hours or some workshop but may not have a clear idea of what she/he is doing other than follow a format given by their teacher – We all laughed when a guy teacher in a workshop quipped – yeah, when I blank out, I instruct, down dog – iSAD.
It’s been known that sometimes the best athlete in a certain sport may not make the best coach. The same can be true for yoga – for someone truly gifted with that perfectly toned and flexible body, it’s sometimes challenging to empathize with someone quite not as gifted, so perplexed or even irritated by bodies that do not bend and bind, the way so easy and intuitive for that gifted athlete/instructor/coach. That’s why the former ballet dancers and gymnasts may not quite get the condition of a normal regular human being – it’s not as malleable as we’d like it to be. Once I was very frustrated that I was not able to do a certain pose and this stereotypical yoga teacher (been to India, practice Ayurveda, doing cleanse/fast) said – ah, don’t worry – shrug – maybe only 3% of the world population is able to do it so it’s fine. Yeah, let it go.
You can tell a yoga teacher is trained in the art of healing and transformation, if she/he knows to do these things:
* they will tailor the class to suit the needs of individual students, providing modifications depending on your level.
Able to give advice on how to protect your joints such as wrists and knees in poses
* promote looking at the body from inside out – promote self-study and inquiry to allow the experience in being in the body. To fully occupy it.
* provide a organized, not fragmented sequence that makes logical sense – there’s a flow to it in that degree of intensity or effort can be modulated. There’s always an out while keeping it challenging and engaging.
* Yet, allows the students to get out of their own way.
* holds a space of safety, non-judgement and … is trauma informed.*
Without proper instruction, roll up of spine from forward fold can create unwanted pressure (good and bad) on your spine, especially in the lumbar discs, which for some there may be a vulnerability. So … hope the instruction you get is the kind that heeds every body type and promotes safety so that you can do yoga for a long long time. There was a 92 year old in this yoga class in Tokyo I attended. The teacher was definitely therapeutically and trauma informed. RESPECT.
( BTW, about *The last point – what is not trauma informed? I had a very popular teacher who towered over me from the back, then maybe keeled – can’t see – and embraced me from the back in a forward hold. From the back – Putting her weight onto my back so I bow down further – Her sweaty chest was on my back and …Never felt so awful in my life – very disconcerting. Maybe guys would have loved it? but I reserve that kind of intimacy with family and friends that I know for years. I respect that different people have different comfort zones with touch and physical proximity and it does not mean that the person is not loving for not hugging, etc. This may be cultural and the barriers can be broken down over time but not for the first few classes …until you establish that sense of trust. Still…)