Copying poses and comparing yourself to others? Yoga has its routes in quite a different practice than we see today. Glasgow based yoga therapist Simone Moir describes the differences between mainstream yoga and yoga therapy and how we can benefit from bringing our focus within our body to experience a fuller appreciation of yoga.
Hello, my name is Simone Moir and I’m here to tell you about the difference between mainstream yoga and yoga therapy with me.
Mainstream yoga is mainly designed to have you follow the teacher. So the teacher says, let’s do a tree pose and you strike a tree pose. If you know what a tree pose is, you might be really comfortable in a tree pose and you just do your breath and find your balance and it’s a wonderful experience. And then onto the next pose.
Yoga therapy is a little bit different
Yoga therapy is a little bit different. Yoga therapy is actually the yoga, that used to be yoga two hundred plus years ago and then it became mainstream and became copying poses.
Yoga therapy is rather than taking a yoga pose and asking you to do it, and you’re kind of striving to master the pose the best you can without looking too silly.
Yoga therapy is you and me in this wonderful room, very simple. And we establish a connection first of all with the breath. Because if you don’t breathe, yoga doesn’t actually really happen. If you boil it down, yoga is attention to the body, your mind, your feeling in your body. Your mind is present, so here with us and your breath is flowing.
Yoga is attention to the body, your mind, your feeling in your body
To get these three things happening at the same time, which is the definition of yoga, isn’t always that easy. When there’s quite a lot of poses being thrown at you, it’s really difficult to not compare yourself to others or to hold your breath.
When you’re listening, you’re not breathing. So in a one to one environment, I make sure you’re breathing. I make sure your attention is in your body and I make sure that we work with your body. So I teach yoga out of your body rather than ONTO your body.
I find out what your range of movement is. And then we apply the knowledge of breathing and moving to find just the right resistance, not too much, not too little, to be most effective. And with that, you really grow because you’re not trying to be better than me or anyone else.
Working with your habits
It’s your own practice and we aim for establishing a home practice and that can be as little as 5, 10 minutes a day and it really makes a difference because we work with the habits that you have created, either with your physical habits, posture or kind of wear and tear or with your mental habits. They’re not slowing down, the being in a rat race, in judgment all the time.
So slow that down and your breathing happens, which might not be that great. Or it might be wonderful and come and impress me. It’s always nice to actually get people that didn’t even know they were really good at yoga because they’ve never done it.
A nourishing thing to do for yourself
And then they see that it’s actually quite natural. It’s not contortionist and it just feels good. It’s very, very much a nourishing thing to do for yourself. It’s a very selfish thing to do. An hour with me.
On a day to day basis, we live and react mainly from animal instinct and from programs. So we just trigger it and we get stressed and life happens to us and we roll with the punches and that’s how most lives look. So yoga adds something new to it. It’s called human spirit.
Human spirit is non-reactive, slightly slower, slightly elevated, slightly lighter. When you elevate yourself, you have a better view of the whole situation, and that’s kind of like where we practice human spirit. So bird’s eye view, slightly slower so we can respond instead of reacting. And the more we practice that in our yoga practice or just like throughout the day when you remember, the more it influences our human instinct.
There isn’t much lightness about, it’s quite low to the ground. It doesn’t like being judged. It’s never really good enough. Whereas human spirit really doesn’t give a toss what anyone else thinks. As long as you’re doing your best, what else can be expected from you? And being yourself is more important than performing and being like the others or being the biggest dog or the smartest fox or the most agile bird.
So there’s no competition. You leave the competition behind. When you come to a class with me, to a one to one yoga class, you like to establish a practice to get into that lighter bit. You release momentum. Just like elevate yourself, be kinder to yourself to be less judgmental and more approving of yourself.
A gift to your body, your mind and your spirit
And that’s just a great thing to do and you don’t need to be a hippie for it. Everyone can benefit from it because it really benefits your nervous system. It benefits your mind, benefits your sleep, your joints, your hormones. It’s wonderful. Yoga therapy is such a beautiful gift to your body, your mind and your spirit.