Intelligent yoga, or Humanistic yoga
These days there is a dizzying array of styles that come under the general heading of yoga. For the initiate this can be somewhat bewildering, so I feel it is beholden on teachers to outline some of the core principles that form the foundation of their teaching.
This is what I’d like to do here;
To start with I’d like to make clear that I don’t regard yoga as an exercise system. By that I mean my intention when I teach is not to strengthen, stretch or make aerobically fit those who come to my classes and workshops. Some of this may happen as a byproduct of practice but it is not the reason for practice.
It is true that I am interested in working through the body because the body is the way in which we meet the world, we respond to and engage with the world somatically. We stiffen or soften, move towards or away from, the things we encounter in the world. If we react appropriately we are less likely to meet discomfort, therefore it makes sense for us to pay attention to the bodily response to the things we meet in yoga and in life.
The practice becomes about how we notice ourselves and how we deal with what we notice. Do we know when we carry tension? Do our bodies move as we intend? And can we discriminate discomfort and act intelligently to move away from it if possible?
As we become better at these sort of discriminations life slowly takes an easier turn, we learn to act usefully sooner rather than later, we age more gracefully, and adapt to change with less rancor.