The other day I was driving to the studio (actually I was the passenger) and it was a dreary day. Like really dreary, the way it’s been lately. My mood and energy was in line with the weather, blah. I looked out the front window of the car, the rain was falling, the sky was grey and low and I thought I need to take a picture of that, like somehow I needed to confirm just how shitty it was. Then I realized I’m likely not the only one who is ‘feeling’ this weather and that I have the capability to change the way I felt about it all. Clearly, there is nothing that I can do about the weather. So you might have seen the post on our Kamloops Hot Yoga page, I posted the picture and wrote something along those lines. ‘We can’t make the sunshine but we can bring the heat and love. Professional attitude adjusters in Kamloops since 2010.’
Often when we think about adjustments in a yoga class we think about a yoga teacher ‘adjusting’ our bodies within the pose for some purpose. (I’ll write more about this later.) However I think the most important ‘adjustment’ that a yoga teacher can provide is the creation of space for attitude noticing and possible self-adjustments. The term adjustment is a bit problematic though, as our understanding of an adjustment is generally that there is a ‘problem’ that must be attended to, whether in the body or mind. In the yogic sense of an adjustment, within the body or mind, there is the philosophy that you are already a gem and the adjustment is to maintain and restore your shine. Yoga is for your body and mind, kind of like Turtle Wax for your car (do they still make that)? In our humanity, we can and do struggle with our bodies, minds and lives. It is inevitable. But like observing the weather, by our own life observations we can come to realize in certain situations we don’t need to or can’t at the moment do anything or with sensitive observation that we do need to do something.
So in terms of adjustments, in your physical yoga practice, maybe you’ve come to your mat with a sore knee, you strained it running. It is wise and kind to adjust your practice for the state of your knee. Maybe you’ve come to your mat and your mind is swirling with activity, drama or trauma and you can barely catch your breath, it is wise and kind to adjust your practice for the state of your mind, maybe you need to work to address the excess energy, maybe you need to adjust to re-group, slow down and catch your breath. This is your skillful yoga practice in action. It is our ‘job’ at KHY to offer you the conditions to notice your whole self, to self-adjust as you see necessary, on and off your mat.
(Finally I want to come back to the idea of a teacher offering physical adjustments within the yoga class. This is a complex topic with many opinions. I want to share the philosophy we have at KHY about physical adjustments, that is, a teacher touching your body within the class. Firstly, as we teach our children, this is their body. So on your mat in our studio, this is your body. It is your right to determine if, who and when you want to be touched. Teachers who are offering adjustments should obtain your permission first, ‘may I touch you?’, you can say no. Many people do not want to be touched in class, my own preference is to be left to explore at my own pace in my own way, however I know that others do like physical adjustments, we are all different. You have the right to say yes or no at KHY. We don’t know your body as well as you do. A safe and effective class can be led by the teacher verbally cueing to the group and then observing the individual within the class for any indications of safety concerns, perhaps leading to further refinements in verbal cueing.)
Happy May (or have a crappy one – its your choice : ) ), Trina