No need to focus on Breath?

Christina Souza Ma

No-Breath.JPGSo I attended an interesting Yoga class the other day.

It was my first experience with Yin Yoga. I love the concept of holding asana anywhere for about three to five minutes. Aaaaahhhh…to allow my muscles to melt into the pose.

The experience was…well, like I said…interesting. I liked the philosophy that it is based upon, but I think I was more disconcerted by the instructor and the delivery of the asanas.

When the class began, there was no attention paid to the beginners in the class or those who were trying this form of yoga for the first time. The instructor did ask us, “Is this the first Yin Class for you?” But what good is the question when there is no follow-up?

The instructor also didn’t ask that all-important question about whether there were injuries or issues that he should be aware of. This is usually a big tell-tale sign for me of what the instructor’s approach is going to be like.

As the class proceeded, he briefly showed us the asana, and several alternatives, but he did it so quickly that I found it hard to follow – so you can imagine that the beginners must definitely have had their issues.

How is a beginner to know whether their “Downward Facing Dog” is correctly positioned? Instead of walking around the class to correct an individual’s pose, he would just tell everyone to “do whatever feels comfortable to your body.” What? When I glanced around the room, I could see so much misalignment in people’s forms. Then the instructor continued by saying, “Yin Yoga is not about building strength as in other forms, and it is also NOT ABOUT BREATH?Wow – a form of Yoga where we don’t integrate breath? Am I losing it? I have not heard that ever before. Not even in Tai Chi or Chi Gong, etc.

I know, I know – I should have been focusing only on my own practice but, believe me, it was very difficult for me to keep judgment out of my being at that moment. However, I tried hard to focus on myself, knowing that I had to be very careful, especially with my neck and shoulder issues.

Then another issue came up. When one holds asana for so long, we are usually shown a counter pose – a counter asana (as I call it) – to allow the body to recover. This was not shown, as a result of which I ended up straining my knee and have had to deal with it for the past two days.

What would happen to someone who’s new to yoga?

How do we prevent these types of situations, especially when a new student attends a class and is already too scared or shy to ask questions?

If you are an instructor, please share your expert advice with us.

[tags]asana, Yin yoga, yoga class, yoga instructor, breath, counter asana[/tags]

Author: Christina Souza Ma

Christina has lived many lives – from professional Cosmetologist, L’Oreal’s Technical Commercial Director of South East Asia, Hair and Make-up designer behind the camera, to Actor and Body worker. Many years ago, Christina had a vision to create an entity that would

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