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I recently attended a competitor’s Teacher Training Open House. These guys are successful, they turn out a lot of yoga teachers and feedback on their course is good. As the content of the session unraveled, I found myself a little perturbed - the experience deeply challenged one of LLiV's core values.
The session started with a tutorial of Down Dog. Everyone was shy so I volunteered to be ‘demo girl’. I thought I had a pretty good pose going on – not too much weight in my arms and shoulders and my back nicely extended. It ‘FELT’ good in my body in the delicious way that a Down Dog does. It felt like home.
Within a few minutes, I had been re-arranged to reflect ‘PROPER’ alignment. My legs were moved closer together, which made my hips and knees uncomfortable. My legs were bent which triggered ankle pain. And my pelvis was tilted more which crunched in to my lower back.
The tutor proclaimed that my Down Dog ‘LOOKED’ much better.... Yes, "PERFECT".
But, in my body it ‘FELT’ all wrong.
Yoga SHOULDN’T FEEL WRONG.
OK, so some poses are definitely not pleasurable (half pigeon for example), and sometimes an adjustment towards ‘correct’ alignment can help you really ‘get’ a pose. But most times, what really matters is whether it WORKS FOR YOUR BODY.
When we are all unique in our size, shape, proportions, the areas we hold tension, and the areas we are weak, it’s impossible for everyone’s pose to be perfect. And striving for perfection can be the thing that leads to injury.
PERFECT DOESN'T EXIST, AND SOMETIMES PERFECT IS JUST WRONG IN SOMEONE'S BODY.
At LLiV, we believe correct alignment is great as a guide, but not as an absolute. And ultimately, getting someone to connect to their body and to feel in to what works for them is a greater measure of success in any pose.
So I left feeling very grateful that in every single one of the countless posture workshops I’ve attended with Dylan Ayloo, that the question he asks everyone is “How does that feel?”.
When you connect to your body and it’s natural intelligence, it will tell you more than any Guru ever can. So my advice - listen to the Gurus but listen to your body more.
Jill is the creator of the LLiV brand and Business Manager of LLiV Yoga and LLiV Yoga Teacher Training Academy. Following an intense corporate career and burnout she used yoga, breath, nutrition and complementary medicines to heal herself.
As LLiV's resident science geek she is passionate about making the latest scientific research accessible and combining it with good old fashioned common sense. Her mission is to bring about vitality, and she is committed to motivating and supporting others to go beyond what limits them to live powerful, vital and empowered lifestyles.
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