Are We Practicing "Good" Yoga?
I just got back from a 3-day yoga training with one of the significant authorities on contemporary yoga, Jason Crandell, and I breathed a sigh of relief.
Why? Because, while there is always new information and facts to integrate into my current teaching style, one thing I can say for absolute certain is that, we, at Pearl, are practicing and teaching "good" yoga - and THAT was one of my goals in opening a yoga studio in Keyport.
What does "good" yoga mean? Well, currently (at yet subject to change), and as conveyed during training, "good" yoga is comprehensive, and well-balanced. "Good" yoga is slow-paced and purposeful. And lastly, "good" yoga is ALWAYS evolving.
Let's start with the first characteristics - comprehensive and well-balanced. "Good" yoga classes are delivered in a fashion that challenge the human body in a proportional manner. For example, a class that is delivered over and over again, that includes 30, or more, chaturrangas (lowering from plank to the floor), with little strengthening of the anterior (backside) of the shoulders, is not challenging the body in a proportional manner, but is rather developing one region of the body exclusively. This was an exaggerated example, but you get the point (hopefully). "Good" classes strengthen and stretch the front, back and sides of the body equally over time. Without a doubt, the classes delivered at Pearl are done so with this principle in mind; although with this validation, our awareness is heightened and we will continue to develop classes conscientious of moving proportionally.
Additionally, a "good" yoga class is delivered slowly and purposefully. This can actually be broken up into two different categories, but for times sake, I will group it together. Slow-paced movement is generally more beneficial and productive for building strength and flexibility than face-paced movement, and since yoga movements are designed to physically strengthen and elongate the body, slower paced classes deliver better results.
Don't believe me? Try the following: hold each pose of a sun salutation for 1 minute each, as opposed to doing one whole sun salutation within one minute. Surely the amount of strength and mindfulness (concentration) required to hold each posture involved in a sun salutation is elevated as opposed to moving quickly through them. We, at Pearl, do not move quickly through flows and postures, and that is by design. With slower paced movements and transitions, the body is able to adapt to the challenges presented in yoga, rather than escape or avoid them with quick movements.
And last, yoga is always evolving. What is "good" today is relative to what will be "good" twenty years from now. We learn, integrate, release unnecessary beliefs, and repeat the cycle endlessly. It is what keeps our yoga practice alive, mysterious, magical, and elusive. For as much as we think we know, there is an ever greater amount of "unknowns" that we will endeavor into at the right time.
We, at Pearl, will never be finished growing, and updated our techniques and methods based on the most current research and findings. I commit that to our community and am grateful for all the instructors and students we have on board for the continued journey! Thank you for the platform to spread the gift of yoga.