Yoga for... Functional Movement Patterns and Yoga for Freedom

 As a yoga teacher I have both students and acquaintances say things like, "My XYZ hurts. What yoga poses should I do?"  Unfortunately, I don't often have a good answer.  First, I'm not a doctor.  I can't diagnose or treat injuries or conditions.  Secondly, for me to be able to answer this, I have to ask a bunch of questions.  Have you been diagnosed with anything regarding XYZ pain?  How about any other injuries or conditions?  How do you sit at work? What other activities do you do?  Even with answers, I need to look at your posture and how you move to get a bigger picture of what's going on. You might be able to see why private yoga sessions would be beneficial, because there is never enough time to go through all this in a group class.  Unfortunately, one pose is not going to solve your problems.  I can't prescribe a pose that will make you feel better.

What I can do is teach you how to figure it out for yourself!  This is hugely empowering.  With practice and attention, by learning poses and sequences of poses, you can see where your imbalances are and find the poses and patterns that will compensate for the wear and tear on your body.  On the most basic level, we learn how to be strong and supple around the spine and work out from there, finding how to move hips, shoulders, and all our joints so that we can move in a healthy way for whatever we want to do in life.  How awesome is it to take that with you?  

So part one is building a tool box to heal yourself, to become more aware of your posture, habits, how you move, and the fundamental shapes and patterns found in yoga practice.  Part two is to become so comfortable with these patterns and shapes that you can and move more freely and in a more inspired way.  By using your mat as a laboratory to experiment and discover how it feels to move and be you, you can start to customize each pose and pattern to make it more beneficial for your own body and your own state of being.  This will change moment to moment and soon you will start to break the rules you’ve learned and start to practice more creatively and intuitively.  You can also take this way of practicing out into the real world, paying better attention to what feels “right” and following your intuition more closely.  This leads to a wonderful experience of feeling in the flow and navigating life with more ease, and that is the real magic and joy of practicing yoga. 

So I'm happy to share yoga for knees or yoga for whatever, but as I do that, know that these are just ways of looking at the practice to help you look at your practice better.  I feel like a lot of yoga classes teach yoga the same way without looking at why.  If I can help you look at the why to practice then you can figure out for yourself what to practice.  Make sense?  Anyway, I hope what I have to offer helps!