I Am A Yoga Teacher And I Can’t Do A Handstand. So What?!
That’s right. I can’t do a handstand.
This doesn’t make me a bad teacher, and it doesn’t mean I don’t know how to teach someone to do a handstand.
It means I am still learning, still practicing, still growing.
Inversions are hard, they take commitment.
As do all yoga poses.
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We Are All Different
I understand how yoga can be very daunting.
There are endless pictures of pretty, super yogis wandering around beaches on their hands.
I am equally guilty of an Instagram full of yoga pictures, but I think what we need to remember is that everyone is an individual.
Some people are naturally quite flexible, or strong.
Our bodies are all different and we can’t compare ourselves to anyone else.
With endless social media and websites filled with yoga and fitness information, this can be difficult to do.
For me it’s been a hard lesson to learn. I am naturally very self-competitive. I have pushed and pushed my body.
Practiced when I ached all over. Eventually ended up with an injury.
The doctor prescribed me anti-inflammatory, pain killers and physio.
As a result, I slowed my practice down.
Took up more Yin yoga (and fell in love with props).
A Reason to Practice
These days I try to check in with myself, remind myself what yoga really is to me and why I practice.
Yogas citta vritti nirodhah. The second yoga sutra.
The one that means the most to me. Yoga is the quietening of the mind.
That’s why I really practice. For those moments of peace I can find in a pose.
That doesn’t mean I don’t want to deepen my physical practice (or do a handstand!), it just means I am learning to be more understanding of my body.
Enjoy the time exploring my body and the calming of the mind that comes with that.
With dedication and time, the physical practice will develop.
Everyone takes up yoga for their own reason, what they are trying to achieve through their practice may result in a different goal from your own.
If you are new to yoga, or have tried a class that wasn’t for you, shop around for a class that does suit your needs.
Some classes will help you build the strength for inversions or arm balances while other classes will help you achieve stillness.
Ask the teachers whose classes you do attend for recommendations. Ask me!
The time we spend on our mats is for us and no one else. Find the class that’s right for you.
Finding a Style
There are so many different styles of yoga that in itself can be a little overwhelming.
Here is a brief description of some styles.
- Hatha Yoga – A more generic term that covers any physical practice. Hatha classes will cover breath, postures and meditation. You usually won’t get too sweaty and should leave feeling very relaxed.
- Vinyasa Yoga – Literally means to flow. This style of yoga syncs movement with the breath. It could be likened to a dance. The practice will build strength and flexibility, but no classes will be the same.
- Ashtanga – Similar to Vinyasa however the poses are performed in the exact same order every time. These teachings were based on ancient yoga practices and brought to the Western World by Pattabhi Jois.
- Iyengar – This style of yoga works on proper alignment of poses, using a number of different props to help achieve this. It’s less physical but equally challenging.
- Bikram Yoga – 26 postures, always in the same order but in a very hot room. You will work hard and get very sweaty in these classes.
- Yin Yoga – These will be mainly seated postures, working on releasing facisa. Poses are usually between 3-5 minutes and class should leave you feeling very relaxed.
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