Written by Nat Young – Yoga Teacher and Clinical Hypno-Psychotherapist.
As a yoga teacher in Swindon, I’m always focussing on lesson plans for my Swindon yoga classes. I ask for feedback at the end of my classes and during class I tune in on the body language of my students to see which poses they enjoy and which ones they’re less keen on. This gives me ideas for upcoming lesson plans and also helps me to adapt my teaching style to my students. While I’m lesson planning I also practice my plans to make sure they feel right. I know if a practice feels right because my mind and body will feel balanced and satisfied afterwards.
Lesson planning aside, I’m struggling with my back at the moment. My thoracic spine is less bendy than it should be and I’ve always had a larger lordotic curve in my lower back than most people. This means the muscles from my lower back downwards get really tight. (Yes, even yoga teachers have inflexible bits!) I’m currently seeing a physiotherapist to sort out my spine and I’ve also got some exercises to help at home.
While going through the motions of questioning why my spine has ‘failed me’, I’ve realised that I’ve tended to forego my own personal yoga practice as teaching has become more important to me. This has probably contributed to my current issue because I’ve neglected my own needs. This has to change if I’m to keep my body in tip-top condition for teaching. To help with this I’ve put my physio exercises into a personal yoga practice tailored specifically to the needs of my body. This is good for me physically as it means I’ll be working on my own physical imbalance. It’s also good for me mentally as I’m doing something good for myself.
A personal yoga practice outside of class can be beneficial
Whether you’re a teacher yourself or an experienced student, a home practice can be incredibly beneficial. Bodies become tight, inflexible or weak in different places and no body is exactly the same as another. By ‘tuning in’ on your body during classes you begin to learn which poses your body loves and which stretches feel gorgeous. Some poses might also feel difficult but they feel good afterwards. You know the poses I mean, I’m sure!
A home yoga practice should be tailored to your body’s needs
That gorgeous post-yoga feeling you get when your body has lapped up a yoga practice occurs because the poses you’ve practiced are what your mind and body needs. A personal yoga practice enables you to experience specific poses and explore areas of physical and emotional tension in your own time and at your own pace, something that’s difficult to do in a class environment. Practicing at home can also help your progress in class too.
So while I work through the current issues I have with my back, I’ll be complementing my class teaching with my own daily practice which I’ll change as the needs of my body change. If you haven’t already tried practicing yoga at home, why not give it a try?
Note:If you’re not sure where to begin with a home yoga practice, please consult an experienced yoga teacher.