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• Peggy's Essays
- Yoga as Restoration
- What Is Yoga?
A NOTE ON THE IYENGAR METHOD OF YOGA INSTRUCTION
AT RIVERWEST YOGASHALA
When you attend a class at Riverwest Yogashala, you will never be ignored. Sorry, but you will not be permitted to stand in the back and blend into the wallpaper! Iyengar yoga is characterized by attention to each and every student, and teachers receive ongoing advanced training in alignment, observation, adjustment, and correction.
Do not feel embarrassed or singled out if a teacher corrects you. In fact, in an Iyengar yoga class, expect to have your poses continually refined, corrected, and adjusted. Our work as teachers is to help you move deeper into poses, whatever your capacity, and to do so with care and mindfulness so as to safely receive maximum benefit.
Sometimes, a teacher may give you a prop (a piece of yoga equipment such as a block, chair, or wall) that not everyone else in the class is using, or may modify the pose slightly just for you. Especially if you are recovering from injury or illness, menstruating, or have specific areas of tightness (or hyper-flexibility), the teacher may provide extra support and attention to you. Make use of this attention and don’t worry about “keeping up with the Joneses.” Iyengar yoga is a personalized practice, not a competitive one.
Your teacher is trained to handle many kinds of students within each class. Our priority is to see each student working within their capacity optimally and safely. Do not feel you are overoccupying the teacher by having special requirements. In extremely rare instances, a student’s needs may not be met in a general class, and the teacher will recommend other options. However, all the common challenges people may experience (tight hamstrings, shoulders, hips; overweight; back pain, etc) will be addressed in general classes.
Some momentary discomfort in certain poses is normal and necessary as muscles become longer and stronger. However, outright pain should not be tolerated, or pain that lingers after you come out of a pose. Tell your teacher right away if you experience either and your teacher will provide a correction or modification.
Pay attention to your own body, breath, and alignment; listen, watch, and learn; communicate with your teacher; welcome adjustment and correction; embrace difference and respect your individual needs; and most important of all, leave your ego at the door. Then you will indeed find your experience of Iyengar yoga at Riverwest Yogashala profound and transformative.