If I say the way yoga is understood and practiced today is different in a number of ways from how it was understood and practiced traditionally it is helpful to understand what I mean by traditional. After all yoga has been around for thousands of years, and it was not one thing for most of that time, and then suddenly another thing twenty years ago. The tides of historical change have run throughout human history: it is just easier to see subtle changes to the waves that are closest to us. I am not going to give a scholarly text with dates and citations.
The other day a few students and colleagues were engaged in an online chat about a spin class the gist of which was that the class was difficult and awesome. The end result of the exchange was to make me want to go take the class.
It is widely understood that one of the huge differences in lifestyle between modern people and their ancestors is that we sit a lot more and walk a lot less. This sitting, particularly sitting for long periods in chairs, and particularly in front of desks with our head and shoulders hunched forward, has contributed to a lot of discomfort and injury. And it has only been made worse by being combined with the even more hours of the day peering down at screens of varying sizes and types.
Math, like language was created by man. There have always been things that could be counted and sorted, but we have not always counted and sorted them. There are cultures like the Piraha that have concepts like one and many, but no system of counting a group of things. Systems of counting and math began as a way to keep track of stuff, particularly stuff that belonged to the ruler of a culture large enough to have a lot of stuff to organize. In a larger and more complex society it was practical and useful.
If you go to a doctor you know a few things about their background: they have a college degree, an advanced degree, have passed exams both oral and written to be licensed, have a number of years of training beyond their medical school, (first an internship and then residency... which differ... a surgeon may be a resident seven years, a dermatologist two or three), and that after their training they will be required to re license and take continuing education as long as they practice.
Leg Series is a set of postures I developed as a very gentle way to stretch the legs and hips. I particularly like to use it myself after I have been travelling and sitting a lot, or at the end of a long day. It is gentle enough that it works for most students.
This word "balanced"......it haunts, eludes, inspires, motivates, and propels
me. Finding balance, being off balance, the question of balance......
I assume it looks different for everyone, and it seems to hide somewhere in the middle of crazy and calm.
Confident or insecure...wise and dumb, street smart or gullible. Manic and
Depressed, strong and weak, hungry and starving, hard and soft, active and
passive, motivated and lazy, drama and wall-flower, confident or paralyzed, loud and quiet, alive or dead. Spiraling down, or spinning out of control. Frozen or thawed.
With any posture in yoga there are two questions: How to do it safely and effectively, but also Why to do it at all. When I was very young and trying out yoga poses I saw on Lilias, or in books and so on, I would see a cool looking pose and try to mimic it. It was all about the pose. But when you do that you start to realize that some poses feel good, and that they might feel good at particular times of the day, or after other activities. That is why I tell my students “Think of the posture as a tool, rather than as a goal”.
There is a lot of specialization in exercise classes. Sometimes the specialization is in what effect one wants: cardio for strengthening the heart, weight training for strengthening the musculoskeletal system, core for, well, the core, and so on. Sometimes it is in style: zumba and spin both are cardiovascular (though of course with strengthening and sculpting effects), but quite different in style. Sometimes it is in target population: zumba gold targets an older exerciser, as does fit for life, though the music and movements will be different.