The rising dominance of 'Yoga' on social media (you've all seen it, I'm sure, the parenthesis are deliberate) is quite a strange phenomenon if you think about it. And I get it, it's appealing for the Insta-Facebook-Nation, seeing pictures of beautiful people getting half naked and bending themselves into beautiful and seemingly impossible shapes on the edge of a cliff, or in the surf, or by the pool. These 'advanced postures' are totally unattainable goals for most ordinary humans who would benefit from yoga if they didn't get put off at the first hurdle.
Completely off-putting for the complete newbie who might imagine that is what a Yoga class should and would be like. I admit that some of them are just like that...some classes taught are far too advanced for the advertised level (meaning students could get injured at worst and be put off for life and never come back at best), and I've attended classes where the teacher hasn't ONCE mentioned breathing. If breath and movement are not combined it is not Yoga. Furthermore competitiveness should NEVER enter a yoga class in my opinion, whether you're in the local church hall or the swankiest trendiest new studio on 5th Avenue or the Champs-Élysées. Leave your ego and and ideas of keeping up with the Jones's at the door. Especially you, the teacher that watches himself in the floor-to-ceiling mirrors as he teaches the class. Yes, we noticed, and no, we weren't impressed. Shame on you.
Now, maybe it's my age, but I am not interested in posting gorgeous unreachable photos of myself in extreme Yoga asanas hanging off the Leaning Tower of Pisa, even if I could achieve it. I am interested in people. Real Yoga, real people, real solutions to everyday but important issues.
So here it is: my focus, my vision, my reasons for teaching yoga and my reasons for opening my bijou (it's very cozy) little studio in East Keswick - everybody, by which I mean EVERY BODY would and should benefit in some way from Yoga. It may be like a 'Eureka' moment for you from your first class, or a slow-grower. You might come to yoga because you think you need to 'have a good stretch' or because you heard that some footballers and Rugby players have started doing it and swear by it now. The reasons you come back, again and again will be varied and many.
Meditation, the asanas, pranayama: these are just the tip of the iceberg. I have heard wonderful feedback from my students: One said his back began to feel better after the first couple of classes, another told me that her running performance had improved, many report that they sleep better after yoga, another comes because she finds that her arthritis is manageable if she practices yoga. These are few examples of how Yoga can improve your life.
My yoga is for: that young woman who suffers with back pain because she has small children and spends a good part of her day carrying toddlers on her hip (that one was me, by the way); its for the men and woman with arthritis, and that retired gentleman who gets shoulder pain if he doesn't stretch it out; it's for the teenager struggling with the stress of exams, or the runner who finds that when she increases the mileage in preparation for a race, her hamstrings get really tight and her left hip starts to ache. It's for your children and grandchildren who will benefit in unknowable ways from starting a regular, fun yoga practice as soon as you can get them to start. It's for the older generation who understand that we have to KEEP MOVING if we want to be able to keep moving. It's for the stressed out business executive who finds it difficult to switch off at the end of the day; it's for every single person, and it IS an effort, and you DO have to be dedicated and commit to a regular practice. What does 'regular' mean? It might be just one class a week, and regular breathing exercises at home, you might choose to attend a couple of classes a week and add an online sequence at home in between. Some people attend 3-5 classes a week...but make a commitment and stick to it.
But like anything worthwhile in life, to reap the rewards you have to make a conscious decision to DO it, and do it regularly.