Today's training has been a little weird.
But first, it has been a totally liberating experience to learn that there are no fixed ways, or the "proper right way", of practising yoga asanas. For instance, when doing a spinal twist lying down, it is okay to keep either the crossed bent knees or the shoulder on the ground -- there is no need to keep both knees AND the shoulder on the ground -- better still, to straighten the top leg onto the floor and then rest the shoulder on the floor. As long as I am achieving the pupose of the pose, it is FINE. It doesn't have to LOOK right.
Also, it is totally okay to not be able to get into certain poses (Bird of Paradise, or in my case, Prawn of Paradise, for instance) because of anatomical limitations. It is something I may have to come to terms with (especially when I see my instuctors or fellow students give their body a beautiful full and open twist!!) but not having the physical built for certain yoga poses is simply a fact of life. And no matter how long or hard I practise, unless I have an operation, it's not going to happen. All this does bring me to the fundamental question: Why am I practising yoga? My answer is the same as it was months ago: to pay more attention to the body, to take care of it and, in more recent months, to start using asanas to keep the body healthy - the fact it feels darn good is a bonus! (I have not reached the spiritual stage yet ...)
So, in that respect, I'm still enjoying this teacher training by Paul and Suzee. However, this afternoon, especially towards the end of the class, it became more and more apparent that someone really had an axe to grind -- and it weren't the students.
I take Paul's point that there shouldn't be "fixed rules" in yoga practice because everyone's body is different but he went a little further in, in a tongue-in-cheek way, slamming other yoga schools (though, in all fairness, he says all systems are good BUT, on the other hand, he also points out that each and every asana is bad for somebody) ... Thus it kinda becomes a little confusing as to what exactly are the objectives (or agenda) of his training course: to advocate better understanding of Yoga Anatomy and its applications in yoga teaching and learning? I think the couple is doing a fantasic and admirable job in that; OR to diss other yoga schools, which I honestly thought Paul was doing this afternoon. The way he dismissed questions (from genuinely dedicated yogo teachers) that challenged HIS views and beliefs with a wave of a hand was also alarming.
I did walk away doubting (briefly) my own teachers (have they been WRONG?) I mean, yes, I think there had been instances when they asked me to get into challenging poses without taking into consideration of my anatomical makeup but I think, at the end of the day, they just wanted me to experience the sensations of the pose ~ their intentions are always good and for my benefit. I don't think for a moment they are out to hurt their students.
Well, tomorrow is the last day of the training and I will get a neat little certificate. But what is more important is that I hope I'll come out of this as a better student ... and not a confused one who doubts about his own practice and teachers ...