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EYP: Tools for truly taking yoga of the mat

embodied yoga principles taking yoga of the mat

The teachings of Embodied Yoga Principles (EYP) asked me to question the words I used when I taught yoga. It led me to look at the specifics of what I wanted to say and how this might land with each student. I discovered habitual phrases suddenly redundant and certain statements needing a redesign to ensure what I wanted to say was actually what was being communicated.

I now communicate with the following in mind:

  1. Each class belongs to each student. Even though I am teaching the class and giving instructions, there is always the choice to not do something, to modify a pose, to do an alternative, to listen to their body over my voice.

  2. I want to facilitate students in embodying each pose by encouraging an attention and presence in the pose that allows for the body to be heard, for the mind to be observed and for the powerful tool of the breath to be consciously used. In this way habits can be discovered and changes on the mat can equal changes in our life.

  3. When I speak, are the words I use understandable to others beside me? Or do I alienate people with words that are esoteric (like the word esoteric). Do my words promote what I believe in or are they a small part of a bigger problem?

I have noticed that I pose more questions in class, and select instructions that aid the student in heightening their awareness of how they are being in (i.e how they are embodying ) a pose (rather than focusing on what it should look like or habitually going through the motions of a familiar pose). EYP has opened my eyes to the modern world of yoga

EYP has opened my eyes to the modern world of yoga that I am part of and yoga’s immense potential to part of a positive change. Yet at the same time how easily yoga can become another commodity, another tool to judge ourselves with, dislike ourselves with and push ourselves with; this is especially relevant to women.

It made me realise that yoga is a powerful tool that can be used for the greater good or the greater bad. I’m now more aware therefore of how I share yoga both in person and online; am I encouraging a yoga that is body image obsessed or am I celebrating a yoga that is embodied, intelligent and inclusive?

It has connected my daily life with my yoga practise in simple, memorable and teachable ways. I now find myself questioning on a regular basis ‘what do I stand for?’ as I stand in mountain pose. I’m more aware of how I react to competition, criticism and compliments (the stuff of life that can exist in a yoga class). And the question ‘what can I let go of?’ in a forward fold at the end of a day, is such a simple but healing way to connect the physical practise of yoga to who I am being when I’m off the mat.

EYP has weaved it’s unique principles into my daily practise, influencing whichever style of yoga I am doing on any given day. It is another layer of education in yoga movement and it presented itself to me at just the right time. It reminded me to slow down and not get lost in the world of yoga without first examining the many facets of this practise and market. It asked of me to get curious, conscious and creative, looking both myself and my practise of being in the eye.

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