Erich: Now, remember, I have been recommending also that you go to other people's classes because everyone is teaching something different, and it's good to get a lot of different information. In here, it has been mostly talking — not mostly, but a large portion. There is more talking in my classes these days than most classes, and there is less asana instruction — which feels fine to me. I have taught asana instruction for 40 years. It's sort of like, “Go to someone else's class for that,” though it is super important. Learn it. Really. Learn it. Asana alignment is interesting.
When I was going to alignment classes, I loved all the alignment details. They got my mind involved in a way that it hadn't been prior to that. The teacher would say, “Do this. And do this. And do that.” The specificity of it got my mind involved. To me, it felt like math. I'm good at math. I like math — at least I used to like math. And it got my mind involved in a really cool way. It was obvious whether you were doing the instruction or not.
But, we all need to understand that alignment classes, specific technique about alignment, as awesome as that is, is primarily about pulling you into the experience. It gets you very precise about what you are doing.
As you do that — as you get very precise in your movements and you get more and more into the experience of it — eventually the feeling of the energy starts telling you what to do.
At that point, your alignment will flower and become intuitive.
You will feel yourself being guided from within to do different movements than what the teacher is talking about — which is a weird predicament to be in, at first, because you have been listening so closely and getting into it and now, wow, all the teachers instructions have gotten you to this place where now, wow, the inner feeling is telling you to do something different.
Was that clear? I think it was clear.
All the alignment cues should help you get into your experience, so that the energy starts telling you what to do.
Your job, your joy, at that point, is to dare to do as the energy is guiding you to do. It will feel like you are channeling the movements. It will feel like you are doing your yoga finally. Then you realize that you hadn't really learned how to do yoga until you were actually channeling it. Up until that point, you were sort of imitating. You were learning. Which is fine. It's an essential step. But, all the essential steps are about helping you get to the place where you start owning it and becoming intuitive with your alignment.
But, we have not been talking much about alignment in here. And I suggest that when you do go to other people's classes, yes, do what the teacher says. Surrender to what they are saying. The reason you go to the class is to hear what the teacher is saying, partly. So, surrender. Do what they are saying while you are there, and get into it, and get into it, and get into it. And then go home and practice a lot, and let it come alive through you, so it starts feeling like you are doing your yoga. It's really nice when it shifts into the awareness that you are the ultimate authority on what feels right to you.
With Love and Pranams,
Freeform Playlist from class:
- Ohm (Transfix Mix) ~ Adham Shaikh ~ Fusion
- Love Is My Religion (acoustic) ~ Ziggy Marley ~ Love Is My Religion
- Water Shows the Hidden Heart ~ Enya ~ Enya
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Image Credit: NASA, ESA, Hubble Heritage (STScI / AURA) / Hubble-Europe Collaboration
Acknowledgment: D. Padgett (GSFC), T. Megeath (University of Toledo), B. Reipurth (University of Hawaii)
Painted by Arthur Klein