I am, among many other things, a creature of habit. I order the same food from the same restaurant, I buy the same groceries, I go to the same classes. Like many others, I find comfort in routine. My teaching is no exception. While I pride myself on working different areas of the body with each sequence and providing a creative flow within each class... there are just some poses that I hardly ever omit while planning a sequence. Lately I have been noticing that I have a gravitational pull to Warrior 2 and Extended Side Angle. I LOVE them. These two poses externally rotate your thigh from the hip feel really great on the body and they are huge multi-taskers in terms of sequencing: they open the outer hip and the inner thighs, they strengthen the legs and open the shoulders. Depending on what I am looking for in my sequence I can almost always use these poses to help my students get whatever I am hoping them to (ie. outer hip opening, oblique strengthening, inner thigh lengthening). It makes perfect sense that I would teach poses that I love to practice, theoretically that means I can bring a certain amount of understanding and finesse to the instruction of said pose.
But of course, never being one to rest on my so-called "laurels", this week I decided I was going to plan my Sunday class this week with absolutely no externally rotated standing postures. As I stepped on my mat with my notebook open and ready for my sequence to start pouring out... I drew an absolute blank. Every pose I wrote down seemed to have to be yanked from the very depths of my mind and with my 5pm class just hours away I started to wonder what I had gotten myself into. I closed my eyes and in that moment all I wanted to do was go back to the drawing board. Go back to a sequence style that I knew and loved. Who likes change anyway? As the next breath came through me and my eyes opened, I pressed back to down dog to start to find a flow and much to my surprise, Warrior 2 didn't come out.... neither did side angle. I started to explore lunges and creating dynamic actions within those lunges and before I knew it... a new sequence laid before me. I am feeling some pretty significant feedback from parts of my body that I don't usually get into (which is always a good thing). ((**special thanks to my Sunday yogis at Sweat and Soul Yoga for being my test subjects - you guys rock**))
Now I can't promise that I won't order the same flavor tea from the same cafe or eat the same thai food from that same restaurant across the street from my apartment... but I can say that I will start to question my sequences more. To try more and more to expose myself and my students to new ways of doing things. Yoga is not a one size fits all, if a pose, class or teacher doesn't work for you today... try something else and maybe tomorrow you will be surprised to find that pose, class, teacher, that you once avoided is now offering something that today you needed. Take a breath and open yourself up for the journey - you might be surprised at what you discover. (And maybe... just maybe I will try a new restaurant... in the spirit of discovery).
Yoga Teacher based in Boston, MA. Teacher of Yoga Teachers. Committed to teaching anatomical, alignment & action based yoga asana that is rooted in mindfulness, skillfulness, & specificity.