Banana Bread Yoga

A while back, Yoga Dork polled her readers asking about sequencing.  How much does it really matter?

The results aren’t surprising with 43% of respondents saying that creative, complex and unpredictable classes worked best for them, another 43% said that structured classes that lead to a specific peak or pose was their cup of tea, while 13% liked classes that were consistent with little or no change. (I’d imagine this last 13% are Bikram devotees.)

Of course, this got me thinking about my own teaching.  Where, as a teacher, do I fall on the spectrum?   What about as a student? What are my preferences and how much do they dictate where and how often I practice?

As a student I fall squarely in the camp of liking a structured class leading to a peak pose.  I like the journey and knowing that, at the end, I’ll learn/experience something new.  Even if it’s poses I’ve done before (backbends or half pigeon), the WAY the teacher takes me there is the best part of class and gives me the space to shape my practice within a loving framework.

As a teacher, I strive to do the same in my classes: give students the space to explore their journey to a particular pose or series of poses.  I worry, though, that sometimes it gets too stale or repetitive.  And then I try to get creative and it all goes to hell.  There’s a lot to be said for the basics.

Teaching yoga is like making banana bread.  There are a thousand recipes out there, all of which  make slightly different bread.

For me, though, there’s one stand by recipe:  Marjorie Standish’s in her classic cookbook Cooking Downeast.  I may experiment around, try other recipes and other forms, but for me, this recipe is the standard.

Yoga feels the same way.  At my home studio, there’s a standard, and there’s nothing more comforting than walking to that space, knowing a little bit about what will happen, looking forward to trying something new, and mostly knowing that the end result is a body and mind that feels as comforting, homey, warm and soothing as fresh baked banana bread.

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