Non-Violent Yoga

I’ve attended yoga classes for many years. As I discuss in my book The Resilience Advantage, yoga meets 2 of the 5 key fitness exercise goals which are developing flexibility and experiencing relaxation. (The other 3 are endurance, strength, and cardio fitness.)

In the past several weeks I’ve been going to a new class, a class one of my friends described as the “most permissive yoga class in town.” By “permissive” she means that the instructors want you to be aware of your body and to not go beyond your physical comfort.

The instructor, Jackie, reinforced that idea right from the start of class. She told us, “Do not do violence to yourself.” She went on to explain that it is not just in terms of physical effort where we should not hurt ourselves, but also in how we talk to ourselves and how we set expectations for ourselves in class and outside of class. It was a helpful reminder about self-compassion and self-care.

Another of her ideas that resonated with me was to consider the multiple paths to solutions. “Most of the time students attempt a more difficult yoga posture believing that harder is better. Perhaps easier is better,” she said. It was a good tip and my body appreciated moving into child’s pose as a way to relax at that moment.

I’m always amazed at how learning one new thing helps me deal with my world in a better way. In yoga, as in much of life, I am a beginner and relish visiting the basics all over again.

What new lesson have you picked up today that can help you live more fully and easily in the world?

© Richard Citrin, All rights reserved, 2019

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