Tag Archives: Basic Yoga

There’s no such thing as a perfect yoga pose

There’s no such thing as a perfect yoga pose

Each month I write for OM Yoga Magazine - here is my column from November 2012

Since 2012 I’ve written a monthly column and the odd feature for OM Yoga Magazine. This column was originally published in the November 2012 issue:

A mild thoracic curve means my chaturanga can look slightly lopsided. However, I only noticed this after observation in a mirror and working one-to-one with a teacher. X-rays and scans confirmed mild scoliosis
as well as spondylolisthesis, so the wonky chaturanga then made sense. Not long ago I had the experience of being in a workshop where an advanced teacher tried to (literally) wrench my shoulder up and back in chaturanga to straighten me out, despite my explanation of my physical imbalances. Instead of listening, he stared at me blankly and said, “You’re not doing it right”.

These experiences greatly inform how I approach teaching. They also remind me what an honour and privilege and responsibility it is. If I were less confident, that experience with the advanced teacher would have upset me. (Let’s save the ‘what is advanced?’ discussion for another time!) I like to remember the words of Judith Lasater who I studied with earlier this year. During training, one of the many things she said that stuck with me in regard to yoga asana is that there is no right or wrong – there is only safe. It’s important that we do our best to be safe in our postures.

I enjoy one-to-one yoga sessions a lot. Each person I guide through practice teaches me something. Every body is different. There is no perfect yoga pose. One of the things I love about working one-to-one is being able to guide someone to finding the expression of a posture that works best for them. Together we can take more time to get back to basics, break down poses and tailor their practice. My hope is that within this the yogi comes to experience that the practice they are developing is about more than touching their toes. When a client told me she had practised a couple of poses on her own at home because she liked how they made her feel afterwards I was delighted. Delighted that she felt confident enough to do some asana practice on her own and that she was finding her own unique experience of yoga that went beyond where to place her feet in trikonasana. Even better that this was for her self-care and not to please the teacher.

Paula Hines is a London-based yoga teacher (www.ucanyoga.co.uk) – if you are in London and interested in 1-2-1 or Small Group Private Yoga, please click here for details.

If you’d like to read a selection of my past OM Yoga Magazine columns and a FREE 24 page preview of the latest issue at my U Can Yoga website, please click here.

Beginners Yoga Courses with Stretching the City

Beginners Yoga Courses with Stretching the City

NEW for 2014 - Beginners Yoga Courses in Pimlico with Stretching the City

NEW for 2014 - Beginners Yoga Courses in Pimlico with Stretching the City

“You can learn new things at any time in your life if you’re willing to be a beginner. If you actually learn to like being a beginner, the whole world opens up to you.” – Barbara Sher

Is one of your goals for 2014 to start a yoga practice or do you know someone who would like to take up yoga? Or maybe you’d like to go back to basics in your own practice. On Tuesday evenings from January 14th onwards I’m thrilled to be teaching Stretching the City‘s popular 6-week beginners yoga course in Pimlico, SW1 at The Men’s Club, St Gabriel’s Halls – their first South London venue.

From the Stretching the City website:
“Committing to a course of yoga classes will bring focus and frequency to your practice. So, whether you’re a brand new beginner just stepping on the mat, or a head-standing old hat looking to get back to basics, Stretching the City’s 6 week beginners course aims to teach you the basic postures, practices and philosophies of yoga. By the end of the course you should feel confident enough to come to drop-in classes, on yoga retreats, or even to practice at home.”

You can click here for further course info and to book please email sally@stretchingthecity.com.

And if you’re just after a quick refresher instead of a complete course, then you can click here and scroll down for details of the ‘Back to Basics’ Beginners Workshop coming up next month.

See you on the mat! :)