In an age where personal identity is of great importance, we surely find great comfort in recognising those aspects of our anatomy that make us ‘unique’. The very idea to strive or aim for a ‘norm’ would be time spent searching for the impossible.
As a therapist, as well as a Yoga teacher, it is my goal (in my opinion it is our collective duty, as teachers & therapists), to give the guidance but also space, for clients to really uncover and explore their own unique body.
It is a central crux to my practices, but it comes with great difficulty. When training as a Yoga teacher, when practicing in classes and when receiving bodywork, I have often found that we still work with an unconscious connection to a ‘universal ideal’ of posture and alignment.
Why is it that we presume to have the same muscular structures, boney structures, fascial system, chemical make up and an ‘ideal’ state of mind/consciousness/psychology, however we term it? When I was completing my training with LSSM (London School of Sports & Remedial Massage), I was thrilled by this consistent mindset that we were given, to always be ready to learn something new from your clients body. This mindset keeps me constantly thinking, questioning; what does this technique achieve in this persons body, how does a Yoga-pose manifest in this persons unique body, and more importantly, ‘what am I trying to achieve by offering this posture to the body?’
Gil Hedley, an anatomist & bodyworker, whose writings and lectures I truly admire says,
“Hold your good practices dearly and your theories very lightly”Gil Hedley (creator of ‘Integral Anatomy‘)
It is this questioning, this contemplation about my practices, keeping the focus on ‘the treatment of the client’, that keeps me hungry to learn more. I believe that the best therapists, the best Yoga teachers, are those that keep asking questions. If we remain in a perpetual state of experiencing and learning, we can only ever expand our potential to understand and to empathise with our clients.
How can I keep this mindset, this approach, when I teach group classes?
This was a question that I still continue to wrestle with. But I feel that the solution doesn’t lie within an answer, but instead redirecting that question to those very people on my couch or on their Yoga mat. “Ask yourself why are you doing this pose? What do you want from this treatment? For what reason are you searching for change? Or are you joining us all on this simple-yet-complex quest; to get a better grasp and knowledge of your own unique body.
If you’d like to dive further into your own Yoga practice, or to have some guidance on how to alter your practice to suit your own body. Perhaps book a session, with ‘the Body Engineer’ with ‘the Yoga Clinic‘; a private consultation service, to help you with this practice.