Are You Really Ready For Advanced Postures?

Don’t Get Hurt Taking The Wrong Class

What’s in it for the teacher who teaches advanced postures in a multi-level class? Mostly money. But when your students book private lessons with me because they got hurt in your class it’s a clear signal to me that something’s wrong.

Those types of classes – power yoga, hot yoga, hot vinyasa yoga, aerial yoga, yoga with drapes, etc. – are all the rage right now because it’s an easy way to fill your classroom.

Yoga teachers generally are paid by the studio for each student in class; more students equals more money. Or maybe the teacher is young or just hasn’t been teaching yoga long enough to know the difference. Many Yoga Teacher Training programs don’t have time to go into all the postures that could injure students.

Yoga Is Students Caring And Sharing

My classes aren’t filled by a revolving door of students looking for the next impressive posture. Instead, they’re a Sangha group of students caring, supporting, and celebrating together their accomplishments as well as their setbacks.

Those types of classes – power yoga, hot yoga, hot vinyasa yoga, aerial yoga, yoga with drapes, etc. – are all the rage right now because it’s an easy way to fill your classroom.

I fill my classroom by building strong foundational postures so that when you come to my advanced class you’re prepared for those harder postures. This is yoga, not a competition that’s constantly comparing yourself to others, with tight faces, tight minds, and tense bodies.

Every student that walks into the classroom has a patina of life on their body, sometimes obvious, sometimes not. For instance, rounded shoulders aren’t a good candidate for either head or shoulder stand, and make even basic postures like Standing Mountain (Tadasana), bridge, cobra, eagle, cow face posture, or even arms overhead challenging.

Train Correctly And Enjoy The Benefits

I’ve heard teachers say, “They aren’t in the postures very long, so it won’t cause any real damage,” but is that really the teacher’s choice to make for the students? Those little imbalances in the physical body that you didn’t notice finally succumb to nature, causing injury and forcing the body to stop, rest, and heal.

It’s hard for me to answer questions like, “Why would they teach that in class if it could cause injury,” and “Why don’t they tell us the importance of the preparatory postures?” The answer is that many yoga postures could cause injury if done without alignment and awareness or by forcing.

Many teachers put responsibility on the student, saying that, “They should know what they shouldn’t do.” However, those teachers rarely teach the basic postures thoroughly. All too often those basics are glossed over, meanwhile skirting the importance of doing basic postures with steady ease so that advanced postures then become easy.

Learn The Basics First, And The Rest Comes Easy

My teacher Karin Stephan says, “Teach the harder actions in the easier postures so the harder postures become easy.” Has your teacher told you that Downward Facing Dog posture is a prep posture for handstand? If you can’t do an easy, aligned Downward Facing Dog posture why are you pushing/forcing into handstand? Ego?

You won’t find those exciting postures in my mixed level classes. What you will find is alignment, strength, balance, and awareness so that you’ll be practicing yoga into your 70’s and beyond.

You’ll also find joy, laughter, community, and perhaps new friends. As Mr Iyengar said, “If you can’t stand on your feet how can I teach you to stand on your hands?” See you on the mat!