If you’re teaching yoga, avoid telling people what to feel. Just teach people to go where they want to go, then get out of their way. And if you’re practicing yoga, it’s really the same.
- Avoid telling yourself what to feel.
- Learn to move in harmony, without all the noise and limitation created by stress and struggle.
- Hear what you’re feeling, and believe that it’s true.
- Move in response to what you hear.
This one is important, and it keeps coming up alongside so many good questions. A long-time yoga teacher recently asked, “If you’re in stillness, how can you be moving?” She was trying to understand our practice of being movable so your breath moves you, even in stillness. This isn’t a new concept in East Asian arts, both martial and healing. But for most yoga people, this is very new.
Stillness by Force or Peace
I remember this so much from my early yoga studies in New York, Los Angeles, Rishikesh, Pondicherry, it was all the same. Stillness is something achieved by force, you fight against movement through muscular effort. And then your mind screams at you, because something is clearly wrong. Your mind is very reasonable this way. Now you also have a fight against movement in your mind. There’s a lot of fighting here. So stillness practiced this way is very tiring, very depleting.
Which is why you find a very different approach in Eastern martial and healing arts. Here depleting and defeating yourself isn’t so much an option, you discover too quickly that it doesn’t work. I think we can discover this in yoga too, but it sometimes takes a bit longer to figure out, if you’re just trying to do poses.
And it takes especially long if a teacher tells you that you should feel depleted, that you should suffer, because this means you’re burning through your karma. In Eastern arts, it means something different. It means you’re out of harmony with yourself. This makes most things either much harder for you, or simply not possible.
Which brings me back to, it’s really good not to tell anyone what they should feel, including yourself. Let go the stress and tension you don’t need. Be movable so you can be moved, even by your breath. Move as one whole body in harmony.
It’s your peaceful path to stillness both inside and out. What you feel here, what you see here, is something much bigger than the noise of disconnection and struggle, a stressed and depleted version of yourself. What you see and feel here is really fully completely you.
About Strala Yoga Training
Strala combines the movement and healing wisdom of tai chi with the form vocabularies of yoga, tai chi, qigong, and Traditional Chinese and Japanese Medicine, to help people release stress, move easily through challenge, and live radiantly inspiring lives.
It begins with a mindset, that says our best way to get where we’re going is to feel good along the way. It also works miracles for whole health, helping us to find ease in our bodies and minds, and create the right conditions both for healing and optimal performance.
In our Strala Yoga Training Courses, you learn to shape your destiny on every level that counts, from your psychology, chemistry and neurology, to your chromosomes and even gene expression. The unique set of skills you develop – for connecting with yourself and others, unblocking your energy, healing what needs healing and accomplishing challenge with ease – uncovers your ability to create the life you want, and be an inspiring leader to the people around you.