Sunday, July 10, 2011

Free Yoga! By Lucus Rockwood

Traditional yoga relies on specific sets yoga postures
done over and over until mastery.
Here's how it works:
(1) You go to class.
(2) The teacher gives you some poses to do in a
specific order (poses that she has practiced for YEARS
and that work for her and her students).
(3) You do those poses 6 days a week until the teacher
tells you to do something else.
Ashtanga, Sivananda, Integral, Bikram - all these styles
rely heavily on the structure and discipline of a fixed
And here's why I get pissed off...
There's a movement among senior yoga teachers to
"do whatever you feel in the moment" or to "do
spontaneous yoga!"
Now if you've never done this before, it is a lot of fun,
and it is a great way to practice... sometimes. Like on
the weekends. Put on some music with some friends
on a Friday night, roll out your mats and just play.
I love that.
But here's the BIG catch. You're probably not really
ready to flow yet (hardly anyone is), and if you "free
flow" every day, you won't experience half the juice
that structured yoga practice has to offer...
... most of which are real life benefits, not even anything
to do with the yoga poses themselves.
And here's the rub: every one of those teachers that
advocate free flow, spontaneous yoga practices comes
from a highly structured, disciplined background.
To understand this better, think of a gifted child piano
player. She plays Mozart, she plays Bach. She's awesome
Wins the talent show.
She plays her whole life, every day for an hour; but by
the time she's 40, she never plays the classics anymore.
She plays jazz at a local cafe on Sundays. She sits down
with a drummer and bass player - sometimes people she's
never met before - and they just play.
And it's awesome. It's magic.
And it's actually BETTER than the highly structure
disciplined practice she knows so well but is now ready
to leave behind.
But the ONLY reason she can improvise and jam on
the fly is because she spent decades hammering
away at the fundamentals. Learning the classics. And
getting the notes ingrained into her body and mind
Flowing is great fun, but for now, use it as a fun break
from your discipline. Success leaves clues, and in yoga,
structure is always the mother of success.
Stay bendy,
p.s. What do you think about this "do what your body
wants" practice idea?
Share your thoughts here:

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