Why yoga....Isn't it just fluffy stuff?
This was a question asked by one of my ex-colleagues in the RAF. I know lots of people are put off by what you could call the 'fluffy' side of yoga. I get this because I was too! My first class, at 14 in Cardiff was a soft, floaty, chanty nightmare with 1/2 an hour- yes 1/2 an hour- dedicated to Shavasana (corpse pose). For an adolescent, it was my idea of hell! Now, I'm not saying that there's anything wrong with that sort of style. But the cool thing about yoga is that there are tonnes of ways to do it.
I only found that out 4 years ago. I took a week's leave from my Management Consultant job. The aim of the week was to get fit. That's it. I kicked it off with a yoga retreat with Paula Ahlberg (she's awesome). But I dreaded going after it was booked. I thought everyone would exclude me for eating meat. I imagined a culty, incense-brain-wash sort of weekend. Thankfully, I soon found Paula's practice inspiring. It is down to earth and NAILS! I had found something that would keep me fit and was easy to do in the hotel rooms that I had to stay in during the week.
Of course, I went through an arm-balance-inversion-junkie phase. I was inspired by the Instagram legends Kino Macgregor, Beachyogagirl and Laura Skyora. Eventually, my happiness started to correlate with whether I'd been on my mat that day or not.
I'd be happy to stay in those blissful physically focussed phases. Nothing wrong with that. As it happens the philosophy inspires the geek in me too. But that's not in my teaching style.
My style is Vinyasa. And although I get a huge personal benefit from (trying to) practice all the 8 limbs of yoga, I don't teach it like that. Because, if you're not ready for that you won't get ANY of the benefits of yoga - you'll be avoiding it like the plague. You may never be up for that, which is fine. So I stick to teaching the Asana (poses), Pranayama (breath control), Pratyahara (inward turn or chilling out in my terms). 3/8 of the limbs.
Yoga Quota is doing the fun, relaxing, physical bits of yoga, and introducing those very same bits to people who probably haven't tried yoga yet. Simples, not fluffy!