Yoga – The Great Leveller by BertieYoga

Roberta Jesson or “Bertie” as she is known at TOPS is one of our great yoga instructors, she has been busy writing a blog which you can find in full here. Below is her latest entry. Enjoy!

I must attribute this insight to one of my students but I couldn’t say it better myself. I always say ‘Everyone has a Pose you just need to find yours’ -to students who groan when once again I am making them do a difficult and yes sometimes despised pose. You see even the most outwardly bendy yogi will have an asana that they find tougher than the most apparently inflexible body! Probably a balance in Mr/Ms Flexibility’s case. You see hyper mobility makes balancing a tad tricky because those slightly slack ligaments that allow them to sink into a wide legged forward bend (prasarita padattonasana) just won’t hold their joints in place for a balance say one legged pose (padagustanasana). So these students have to work twice as hard to balance and really learn to use their muscles to hold the joints in place when standing on one leg. Just as you may have to work incredibly hard just to get a cm closer to the floor in prasarita padottanasana.

My student’s insight came when attempting a very tricky hip pose. He has a , lets just say, troublesome knee and in theory should have needed props galore to achieve this pose. Indeed I had them piled in anticipation. However because of said troublesome knee, and after much droning from me about the importance of maintaining hip mobility to protect knees, he works constantly on his hip mobility and hey presto there he sat relatively comfortably in Agnistambhasana! Check it out its a tough pose. His neighbour grimaced through the pose but he’s pretty new to yoga and we just haven’t found his pose yet!

The story above highlights, I hope, how you’re mental approach to and rewards from can change your yoga practice. I also, of course, have a particularly challenging pose indeed I have a few. My particularly challenging pose used to be camel pose (ustrasana). Now, this one was a little different as I could always do this pose I have a pretty bendy back but I really and I mean really detested it. However, because I hated it so much I kept making myself do the pose. A little masochistic I grant you. You know what I have practiced yoga for 14 years and taught it for 8 years and each time I taught this pose I admitted my dislike of the pose to my class. About a year or so ago I suddenly realised I no longed hated this pose-did I love it?-Maybe not but I enjoyed it certainly. So what changed? Well after so much practice I learnt to hold my neck differently, release my shoulders and as with all yoga the most important thing breathe into the pose. It became liberating rather than an ordeal to be endured. This is why Yoga is for life not just for Christmas because it changes as you change be that physically or mentally. So go out there and find your pose or convert a pose learn to like something you once disliked. I’d love to hear your stories regarding your poses?

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