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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Paul & Suzee Grilley (Part 1)

Have now completed Day Two of my five-day teacher training in Yoga Anatomy, conducted by Paul and Suzee Grilley , and am very impressed. I'm impressed not only by the fact this couple from the US have a combined 40-50+ years of experience in practising/teaching Yin Yoga (this genre is explained in details in earier posts) but their commitment to the teaching of this art form. While part of the course is on learning the technicalties of human anatomy (what and where is the Femur bone, the Hamstrings, the Adductors, the Quadriceps ... basically things that I've been obsessed with for awhile!), a good part of the teaching (and the essential message they try to get across) is that we practise asanas in order to benefit from them. A quick example, some yin poses work the sacrum so to help us maintain the mobility of the lower back esp. as we age.

Practising yoga is not about looking impressive with our flexibility (think that is called circus act). As Everyone is built differently - even our own left and right hip sockets are seldom identical - so there is no point 1) for the students to struggle in achieving "the right/perfect look" and 2) for the teachers to try to get the students into "the right/perfect look", and it's actually dangersou for teachers to impose a certain pose on a student without fully understanding his/her anatomical make-up. Anatomical tension can be eased, compression is a fact of life.

This is a complete revelation. I still have instructors who tell students to do this and that pose without explaining why. I can understand how individual adjustment may not be possible especially in a big class but to explain to students what they are doing and why they are doing it is so vital in both the process of teaching and learning. I am not here to dig teachers ... but Paul and Suzee certainly have made me approach my own practice differently. What am I trying to do? While I am in the pose, am I getting the benefitsof the poses? If not, why not? Can I move this way? Can I move that way? If I look good while doing the poses, ha, that's a bonus but definitely not means to an end.

So, no more hangs up about not being able to do the double pigeon or lotus positions because my anatomical makeup simply doesn't allow me to do that ... but that is fine, cos there are always other poses that offer the same benefits and I won't have to break my knees for them.

Day Three commence this afternoon and I can't wait to learn more about the spinal twist! 

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