The Little Things

I was in Meghan R’s yoga class at Prana on Saturday when she used a cue that just about blew my mind.  We were in bridge and she cued us to press down through our big toes.  So simple.  So easy.  And yet it opened up a whole new world in that pose.  I’ve probably done thousands of bridges by now and this tiny little cue refreshed and remade the pose into something I’ve never experienced before.

The funny thing is is that I’ve probably heard that cue before.  But was I ready to integrate it?  Was I ready to really “hear” it?  Obviously not.  Not until that sunny Saturday morning when I connected down to my may through my big toes and felt my entire body drop into alignment in bridge.

This is what keeps me coming back to yoga and back to my mat: the little moments of learning, of pressing through your big toes, of alignment joy and inspiration.

It’s also what keeps me attending classes and not relying on a home practice.  I doubt I ever would have discovered the Toe Trick if I was a home practitioner.  Perhaps it’s more of a personality trait, but when I practice at home I don’t challenge myself.  I choose the poses I like and rush through the ones I don’t.  I’m sure there are those who would say it’s because I lack self-discipline (perhaps, especially when there’s chocolate involved) but I think it’s because I’m a people-person.  I derive my inspiration from those around me.  Attending classes, going to workshops, talking to my students about what works best for them in class … that’s where I get the good stuff.  The stuff that makes me a better student and a better teacher.

What about you?  Where do you find your inspiration as a yoga student or a teacher?  Are you a home practitioner or are class devotee?


4 responses to “The Little Things

  1. I’ve never done solo / home practice, but I suspect that it would feel strange for me after a couple of years of yoga classes. I find the “switch brain off / switch body on / follow instructions” aspect of the class to be refreshing. It’s also very motivating to be surrounded by others going through the same experience.

    I think you could get the instructional aspects from a web video / DVD but no corrections or adjustments, and there is also no community around you for that inspirational boost. 🙂

  2. I also don’t challenge myself when I do home practice, which is part of why I so rarely do it. I find that I don’t get enough verbal and visual cues when I’m trying to follow along with a DVD — in a real class, an instructor will notice if you’re not quite getting it and can keep explaining the pose, or you can glance around left and right and get a visual.

    There’s also something about having a teacher at the front of the room that makes me push myself, whereas at home I’m accountable only to myself.

  3. I like to have some of both. My home practice allows me more space to sink into a pose and hold it longer if I want. It allows me more time to centre. But I agree that I love class for those little cues that pop up and suddenly a pose just makes sense. We practiced seated forward fold once by having a partner behind us pushing very gently on the top of the back and us resisting against it. That action of resisting against it gives you extra lift and allows you to rotate the pelvis a little more and move forward a bit more. That one little cue made the whole difference for me and now I can feel the resistance without the person. I just love that!

    Love your blog!

    • Thanks Jodi! Partner yoga is such a great experience! It’s one of the reasons I love having an assistant both when I’m teaching and when I’m taking. I find I tend to “yin out” a lot in my home practice. Slow flow, slow burn, really holding poses and I can stay in frog for however damn long I want 😉

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